Break down the DIY process for a total newbie? Clueless where to start

Hey friends,

I’m a former snowboarder who now lives in Dallas, TX. Short story: there’s no mountains here and even less snow. I’ve recently felt the itch to carve and came across e-foiling. Looks brilliant, but the cost—yikes. So I need to DIY. This community is amazing, but I’ll admit that I’m OVERWHELMED by all the info.

Biggest problem? I have zero experience with building. Batteries, epoxy, fiberglass, ESCs, 3D printing, I’m clueless with all of it.

Here’s my humble ask: can you list the top 10 steps of a build? I don’t need amazing detail, just a list for me to write down and then tackle one by one. (For example, part of me wants to start by buying a used foil, another part of me thinks I should get a board and figure out how to alter it.)

Once I know where to start, I figure I’ll research and/or start new threads to get details. Naturally, I’ll document my process to give back. Also, keep in mind I’m in the States, I feel like a lot of products, etc. are sold in Europe.

Thanks, I look forward to learning from the community!

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Step 1: read read read. Focus on the build section. My build is quite newbish since I started also with zero experience. It may help you

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Thanks for the reply! If step 1 is read, read, read, I’d say I’m a good 10 hours into that one. And am realizing that step is probably never done! Haha, but it’s the best advice for sure.

I’ve seen your thread and have it saved, very good stuff! If I was to break it down, I’d say your process went like this:

  1. Buy motor, board, foil, ESC
  2. Make battery
  3. Modify board, including mast mount
  4. Finish mast, including mounting motor and prop
  5. Modify board again, including cut out for battery and ESC
  6. Build electronics casing for battery and ESC
  7. Paint
  8. Troubleshoot, test
  9. Ride, ride, ride
  10. Problem solve

Does that sound close? Was there anything I missed or something you would do in a different order? I also saw and pulled up the parts list you put up, very helpful!

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Howdy

I personally think it’s way easier to start once you have a couple of parts. I bought a 3d pinter for fun before this project and it turned out to be very useful for efoil. But I had no experience with cad design, but the forum had. In the end a printer is not necessarily needed. >2years there has been no props around so people needed to print them self. Today, the plug and play approach is much higher, I also profited from that very much. The mast clamp however is a part which is mostly print, but you can find some printing support for small money in the neighborhood for sure.

You should buy the motor and the foil system (at least mast, fuselage and mounting plate). It worth to wait a little and check /wait for special offers. A 120kv 65161 motor (threaded shaft) is always a good choice. For the foil I am a gong guy (per coincidence) but other brands do same job. RL is also very prominent (Germany)

I was also very unsure about all the CFK epoxy work so I decided to cut a windsurfer. I still would recommend this but there might be voices saying it’s same effort to build a board on your own which I still doubt. It’s hard to find a suitable board though,.it need to be thick.

Just start a thread in building, give it a fancy name and start and ask. People will help, the community is excellent.

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There will be several decisions to take. That could be which hardware (vesc, batt, foil, transmitter etc) and which design (active/passive cooling, waterproofing technique compartment, mast below box or behind)
By reading through the build section you will get the idea what is possible. Start to think what could be suitable for you and take the easy way. Usually people build more than one board and you also want to have some topics to improve, right? :slight_smile:

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All stellar details, thanks @Ackermann!

-I have access to a 3D printer, but would need to learn CAD. I’ll explore support options to save time. Can you usually give them a file from someone’s build and they can make the product?
-I see the Flipsky 65161 motor online and there’s a kit that includes remote and 75200 ESC. Will pick that up to cut the decisions down. $850, doesn’t seem too bad for all three. I saw another thread where people mentioned having issues with this motor/ESC set up, but sounds like the manufacturer has worked out the issues.
-Gong foils, good tip. Looks like I can get the Allvator V2 L for $450 shipped to the U.S. I’m also looking at Cabrinha or the kits sold through Clearwater foils as alternates.

That should get me started and then I’ll post a building thread with pics, etc. Thanks for starting me in the right direction, cheers!

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It sounds like you and I are going to be building the same thing. I’m in Canada, and just a few steps ahead of you. I’ve got the Flipsky kit on order (I placed the order Mar 27, and they say they’ll ship around Apr 10). I ordered the Gong Allvator V2, and it arrived in ~4 days. For batteries, I’ve ordered two of these: Turnigy High Capacity Batteries 20000mAh 6S 12C Drone Lipo Pack w/XT90 | HobbyKing

I’ve got the XPS foam and aluminum square tubing, and anticipate starting to build later on this week. I’ll try and keep you posted on what goes wrong so you can learn from my mistakes.

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@dirigible thanks for reaching out! a little company (and more guidance) can’t hurt. Sounds like the ordering has gone well so far, good to hear.

Any particular reason why you chose that battery set-up? I’m intimidated at the thought of making my own board out of foam, tbh. Sounds like precise work. In your experience, is it better than buying and cutting an existing board? @noahark reached out to offer some parts of a build, so that’s an option. But part of me really wants to try to figure this out.

Noticed that you started a batteries thread and got some answers. Let me know if you start a build thread I can follow. Here’s to the journey, bro.

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@Emenel I chose that battery because of its simplicity. Like you, for my first build I didn’t want to get bogged down in assembling a battery pack.
As for constructing the board itself–I have limited experience with fibreglass (just minor autobody repairs), but it seems pretty manageable to me. The nice thing about a hydrofoil (compared to a surfboard, for example) is that because the board rides completely out of the water, its shape has minimal impact on its performance (see Superlefax’s flying sniper rifle case build).

I’ll create a build thread once I get into the shop and start marking up the foam.

Hi, good luck; I did the same thing and it certainly grows on you.
Some items to consider to avoid frustration:

  1. Your board needs to be thick enough to have space for battery, watertight cover and still remain enough rigidity in this area. Either cut down an old windsurfer (I did for my first two boards) or get a pre-shaped blank and laminate yourself - It is a bit more work and the learning curve needs to be steeper but both is doable and not MUCH more work than modifying…
  2. High-Strength mast mount & watertight enclosure are the biggest challenges here - Think about those (read, read, read) before starting.
  3. Don’t make the board too long - this only helps during the first two hours of learning and limits your fun after that. 1,40 - 1,60m length is a good compromise.
  4. Don’t underestimate the prop: The Flipsky prop is utter crap and might not bring you up on foil…; there are Props available here and on Thinkercad that are much better & easy to print in PLA.
  5. Make sure you use the right firmware on the VESC (2.06 is a good choice) - simply flashing might destroy VESC or/and motor.
  6. Waterproof the remote before using. Most available remotes are not waterproof even if they claim to be.
  7. Don’t worry about the propulsion too much: Assembly of the Flipsky 65161 to the mast is pretty straight forward and can be done in a couple of hours. The board & battery will take up most of your time.
  8. Small things like Thottle Expo can matter a lot because you will modulate the throttle to keep the board on foil. A bit of negative Expo works for most.

Anything else, ask.

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@dirigible makes sense on the battery. Simplicity is a virtue when you really don’t know what you’re doing, good advice!

Thanks for the insight on constructing a board versus modifying. I seriously laughed out loud at the rifle case build—humans are amazing. And to go through all of that work to foil in German winter is outrageous. Love it.

@Foliengriller huge help, thanks for the details! I was reading about blanks and found @deeproot build and learned about Greenlight Surf Supply. He has a board designed with AkuShaper. It’s 165 cm, so just over the 1.6m you suggested. But the dimensions sound about right for me. Going to grab the file and get a blank, then we’ll see how the cutting and glassing goes. I’ll read about batteries some more, but let me know if you have experience with a plug and play set up that works.

Quick note: Flipsky kit ordered yesterday, delivery TBD. Will update soon.

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Hey man, looks like your post was deleted, but I was able to read it last night. Thanks for the encouragement! Good to hear that Greenlight Surf Supply has been good to you, it looks like I’ll be spending some $$$ with them. I’m actually a little caught up on one part—the shaping and glassing tools. For the shaping, which of these tools do I really need for a pre-cut blank? Same question for the glassing tools and supplies. What can I skip on those? Just hoping to learn more since it’s all adding up fast.

Talk soon!

Uggg… I intentionally deleted it, because after reading Foliengrillers very nice post, I didn’t feel like mine really added a lot of helpful information to the forum that hasn’t already been said. I love this forum and so I was trying to keep it rich with useful info instead of adding a not useful post :slight_smile: I guess I didn’t realize that it would leave behind a note that I had posted and then deleted it. LOL. Anyway below is the original post, and I personally loved the Stanley 21-115 Surform Shaver. That is the only moderately aggressive tool that I used for shaping, beyond that I only used sand paper LOL.

Hey Bro, I’m up in Michigan and I have had nothing but really great experience with Greenlight Surf Supply. They were quick to respond if there is any delays, and very fast shipping in the US. I am just a few steps ahead of you, but similar story that I won’t bore everyone with. My build is 96% done, and from reading through all of the post here over the past 6 months. I would have just these recommendations (most of which just concur with previous posters):

Either the Maytech or the Flipsky 120k motor with plans for a 12s battery

Definitely either a VESC or a quality clone, I went with the MakerX, b/c I couldn’t get past the paying part on the Trampa site with PayPal or my US credit card - But the MakerX site worked quick and easy, and so far so good. Hoping to test it in the water this weekend (Hooded wetsuit here in Brooklyn, MI) :slight_smile:

Check out crazyfoil in Canada for your mast and fuselage and wings. I live less than 45 minutes from Canada, and I couldn’t ignore the prices. They were also great to work with a few months ago.

It seems like all else is based on user preference - I personally put some 2040 aluminum beams in a foam surfboard and nice thick aluminum plate to mount my CrazyFoil to, but otherwise, I am confident I am on the right track. I hope you are as well.
I told my wife earlier tonight. I don’t know what hobbyist like us used to do before the internet forums came along… (Sorry I’m also almost 50 years old and a nurse LOL… but I eat up all of this great info).

Good Luck in Texas! The ice just cleared from the lakes here a couple of weeks ago, so I hope to get in this weekend,
Todd
Dexter, MI

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@tritodd There’s a thread here somewhere describing issues with CrazyFoil (material strength, manufacturing inconsistency). Being in Canada, I was tempted by the price as well–but decided to play it safe by getting a Gong for only a little bit more.

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Seemed useful enough to me to reply, that’s saying something! Thanks for the tip on the shaver, just got one from Amazon. Gonna also get some sanding blocks too. From there, I guess I’ll wait for my blank from Greenlight and hope the motor gets in soon. Probably time for me to go back to the glassing threads and figure all of that out.

Thanks again!

Did write this in 2020: eFoil build Document - #4 by SoEFoil

@Emenel Curious, where did you plan on riding in DFW area? I’m also local to the area.

@SoEFoil that’s the best step by step breakdown I’ve seen yet! I agree that you’d need a wiki or something to really do it right. And, from my perspective, a glossary too. More acronyms than the military around here.

Thanks for sharing that, the thread took me to a couple other places that helped.

@torqueboards I’m in north Dallas, about the same distance between Lake Lewisville and Ray Hubbard. White Rock is also close. Figured any of the three would be a good place to start.

What part of town you in?

@Emenel I’m in McKinney. Excited about your build. Can’t wait to see it.