Sunday, September 24, 2006

Skateboard Power Assist

Skateboard Turbo Trucks Powered by Magnets

James Morris is introducing his axle power assist magnet technology via the skateboard industry. Makes skateboard go further, faster and longer, unless going backwards, in which case it creates a braking effect.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

Skateboard truck assembly concept drawing.

click to enlarge

Skateboard truck production prototype components. Sept. 2006.

INDIANA, USA -- Skateboarders may soon be able to ride around 30% farther, faster, and longer for each push of their board, thanks to a magnet power design James Morris is taking to market.

After two years of development work, Morris completed a production prototype of just such a skateboard, last Saturday.

Morris thinks the novelty of the power assist effect will drive sales. "And you only need one per skateboard, though having two would give that much more of the effect," he said. "You get on this thing, and it goes like twice as far for the same push."

Morris expects that by November 1, the first units will be available commercially, in the form of trucks -- the two-wheel assembly that fits on a skateboard. Morris projects that each truck will cost around $60.00, which is nearly twice the industry standard price for high-end trucks. Morris thinks the novelty of the power assist effect will drive sales. "And you only need one per skateboard, though having two would give that much more of the effect," he said. The truck axle will be made of stainless steel and aircraft aluminum, and has 14 holes drilled in it for magnet placement.

The underlying technology does not serve as a prime mover, neither is it merely a matter of providing near frictionless carriage. It doesn't provide the input energy, which is what Steorn of Ireland is claiming with their recent announcement of a free-energy-producing magnet motor. Rather, the Morris axle augments a given input. The engineers refer to it as "power assist" or "augmenting friction".

The provisional patent titled "Permanent Magnetic Motor Axle" has been filed in the United States. International patent protections have also been initiated.

With the proof of principle rumbling about in the streets in defiance of known laws of physics, other applications will follow in quick succession. When the kids are fired up about this new contraption, adding it to their "must have" list, and showing it to everyone they know including their scientifically-indoctrinated parents, it will be harder for naysayers to keep claiming, "That's impossible."


Morris says the technology can be used to assist any kind of axle or drive shaft such as are found in connection with the motors and engines on all vehicles, planes, trains, and ships. Existing energy-generating devices with rotational mechanisms, from coal-fired plants to wind turbines could have their output enhanced. Retrofit kits could be installed on existing drive shafts which function primarily in one direction.

Those applications will require a great deal of prototype testing time. Morris wanted to get the technology to market fast, and decided on the skateboard application to introduce it to the world. The novelty industry is much more forgiving than the higher-priced and more serious fields of transportation and electrical energy. Starting with the skateboard industry will help to break the academic ice as to whether such things are possible. Market acceptance there may help to break the logjam of financing additional research and development to characterize the effect, optimize the design, and scale it to the myriad of other applications that are expected to be possible.

The production prototype has not yet been tested as to its efficiency ratios. The input versus output proportions have not yet been quantified experimentally. That is coming soon, according to Morris.


The magnet assist is a unidirectional effect. Push the skateboard forward, and it goes much further in that direction than otherwise. Push it backward, and the magnets have a braking effect. This might even put a brake on sales, insofar as some sport riders may be using the board's ability to go in either direction when doing leaps and loops, going up and down ramps while grabbing edges and grabbing air in "vert" competitions.

The braking effect in the other direction could be used beneficially as well.

With magnets fitted into metal holes, another issue will be fracturing of brittle magnets from the repeated concussions of skateboard action. The N35 neodymium magnets Morris plans to use are prone to fracturing, and skateboarders, especially those who perform jumps from ramps or railings, are not exactly known for being gentle riders. Future versions will probably need to have more pliable housing to cushion the otherwise hard jolts, or some new form of magnet may be needed.

New Energy Congress member Paul Noel recommends adding Nylon or Teflon impact bushings on the magnet shafts. These are commonly used on magnetic bearings to prevent the impact disintegration. Morris appreciates suggestions such as this and said he would definitely include something like this in the next version.

Those who purchase the first units will no doubt need to be patient with this non-field-tested technology. They themselves will serve as the beta testing crew. In the immediate future, they will need to be prepared to occasionally replace broken magnets in their trucks. The vigorous sport of skateboarding will be a rigorous testing and proving ground for the technology, helping to knock it into shape in preparation for more industrial applications.

Where Next?

After the skateboard, Morris' next design, already in the works, will be for the axle of a large tricycle that could be used for recreational transport. This might move forward – pun intended – the whole field of human-powered vehicles for commuters. Backyard inventors have been hard at work for some years pushing the evolution of cycles with and without electrical assist; paired wheels on a front or rear axle for stability; aerodynamic housings, doors, cargo space, and windshields; directional signal lights front and back; and other features that serious riders may want.

There is a type of skateboard that is always unidirectional, and that's the "scooter". This more sedate recreational device has a front-end handle, and is pushed with one foot while the other remains on the board.

The low-impact scooter might be a better place to start with this technology. It might even use the same size of mechanism so no redesign would be needed, just a shift of aim at a different demographic. Scooter users -- which might include a higher percentage of girls -- would probably appreciate more effective pushing.

Hatching the Idea

Morris works as a web press operator -- not "web" as in Internet, but "web press" in its older meaning of hard-copy printing press. One might think that his watching those rollers spin minute by minute, hour after hour, day after day, for years might have influenced him to invent this permanent magnet motor axle.

However, Morris says that in actuality, the idea was hatched a couple of years ago when a friend wanted to invent a Jewish-oriented toy school bus to sell to the Jewish community. Morris wanted the toy to roll "as if by magic". Once the axle concept was developed, he decided to go with the skateboard application, and to appeal to a wider market.

Skateboards first came out when Morris was a kid. He remembers the first ones. "They were straight, small, had metal wheels borrowed from girls' roller skates," he said. Perhaps in as many years from now, Morris' axle assist via magnet power technology will be as well-developed and widespread as the skateboard is now, if not more so. The number of applications certainly go far beyond just skateboarding. "It was called street surfing", he recalls. Morris uses the 60's surfer reference "Mad Dog" in his business email address.

About Morris Magnetic Enterprises

James Morris has been developing this magnet-assist axle concept as an individual and has brought in the necessary expertise as needed: attorneys to assist with the patents, and engineers to assist with the design and fabrication. Morris hired Reynolds Design in Georgia to help with the engineering to build a production prototype. Reynolds is now building molds for manufacturing the trucks.

Now that he is ready to go to market, he is assembling a team to operate the company that will likely be called "Morris Magnetic Enterprises".


Anonymous said...

"This will be the best thing to happen to a board with wheels in decades"

blogtrotter said...

Nearing the Nov 1st date and it's gone quiet around this story. Will they really hit the shop shelves in 5 days??? Hard to believe. Where's the hype gone?

Scott said...

That sounds awesome. Then they can work on it for skates!

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buy generic viagra said...

I practice skateboarding since I was a child, and I have to say this kind of technological advances make this extreme sport a little bit boring, cuz you doens't feel the same passion anymore.