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Building Your Own Segway

You'll never have to walk again with this DIY Segway.

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One quick order of business before we delve into today's project - a few members of SparkFun will be attending DEFCON at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. We aren't bringing the whole crew out, but there will be a few of us there in a non-official capacity. Look for Brennen, Nick, Ben, and Rob from our IT Department and Chris from Engineering in SparkFun garb.

Have you ever looked at a mall cop zipping along on a Segway and thought, "Hey, I wish I could just build one of those." No? Well, I have to admit - neither have I. Until, that is, I saw this awesome project from SparkFun customer Petter - the DIY Segway.

Petter used a bunch of clever mechanical engineering, some electric scooter parts, an ATMega168, an ADXL203 accelerometer, and a host of other electronics to build an amazing homegrown Segway that will zip around the neighborhood with the best of them. And he did it all for under $450. Check out the video below for some further explanation:

Petter built custom PCBs to host all his electronics and used two H-Bridges to convert the signals for the motors. All in all, he does an amazing job of creating a sleek design that functions very well. Check out his website for more details on building your very own Segway. Great work!

Comments 19 comments

  • Hi, I'm currently making my own ! For those who are interrested: http://yabs.kibuck.com/ It's also my school year project. It's written in fench but you can translate it.

  • Awesome project. Now if you can make a kit that makes my kids' wagon follow me by bluetooth that would be epic!

  • Peter Forsberg?? Go AV's!!

  • Who knew making a segway use lead acid batteries instead of LiPo would reduce the cost?

  • I've wanted one all my life.

  • Back when I lived in New Hampshire, I lived across the street from a Segway engineer. I've wanted to make one ever since then.

  • Hi,
    Firstly, Good work. I cant sent comment of your original post, http://p1r.crf.nu/segway/ . Web site says "you are not logged in"...
    Especially the steering.
    Can you explain the mcu program? About filtering, how can you process accelerometer and gyroscope data together, and how can you find exact slope angle?
    Also, if you can share program for understanding the how this system work i will very appreciated of that.

    • A Kalman Filter is used to merge and filter the data from the gyro and Accelerometer and a PID control is used to control the drive system. Google any of these, or "balancing bot" or "inverted pendulum robot".
      I had to go thru all that when i built my multicopters. It´s pretty complex but easy once you get the loop right, and understand the filter enough to aply the mathematic model to your system. And that´s why i respect the developer of this project as well as anyone who has succeeded in doing these things. By the way kalman filters are so powerfull, they have been used in the Apollo program.

  • re DEF CON: I'll be giving an Ubertooth Update talk in the Wireless Village at noon on Saturday.

  • Hey great work! And I don't want to diminish it in any way but... i've seen this done by other people like a dozen times before already so...what's the big deal?
    It's a "balancing bot" big enough for someone to ride it..
    And about the comparison between the real segway and the amateur projects..the thing is, the real one has multiple redundant systems and more reliable hardware, since its a comercial product and they don't want people getting hurt with it. But that's about it.
    Anyways, great work and i hope i don't sound like a jerk for saying it. :)

    • RichardKalaf Wrote:
      "since its a comercial product and they don't want people getting hurt with it."
      What a load of crap!
      Jimi Heselden the owner of the Segway company killed himself on a Segway.
      Check it out here:

      • In all likely hood the machine was not at any fault. He was 62. A physical/medical issue could have resulted in a mistake that happened to be lethal because he was next to a cliff. That, or it could have just been a mistake. Perfectly healthy people stumble all the time.

      • Oh sorry, my mistake, of course in that particular day he was riding and older model wich still didn´t have built in wings and propeller that pop off whenever the owner drives off a cliff.. :P
        But seriously, as i mentioned before, and as mentioned here http://www.segway.com/downloads/pdfs/brochures/2008_Product.pdf
        And as i read in a more technical document about segway several months ago, it does have multiple redundant systems that prevent you from crashing face down whenever you have a IMU or drive system failure.

      • I'm not sure anyone expects a Segway to be advanced enough to save you if you steer it off a cliff.

  • Oh that's funny, especially since a friend of mine built the gyroscopes for the original Segway, based on BAe Systems missile hardware, and this guy gets the same job done for about $400.

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