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16 year-old Handbuilds Wooden Bike

by Joshua Liberles on January 26, 2008

WoodBikePost 16 year-old Handbuilds Wooden BikeMarco Facciola is a 16-year-old high school student who needed to undertake a non-academic project for a school project. Inspired by his grandfather’s stories about building wheels from wood during World War II in Holland, when rubber was scarce, Facciola decided to build an entire bicycle from wood. His self-imposed restriction was no metal allowed, just wood and glue!

“I wasn’t sure my wooden bicycle would actually work,” said Facciola. “I quickly realized the first pieces of the puzzle I needed to figure out were the chain and the sprockets (gears), since the design of all the other components depended on these.”

 

Material selection was the first hurdle: each chain link would need to withstand the torque of Facciola’s pedal stroke. He needed to carefully and precisely hollow out the spacer connecting each link and slide a pin through them, allowing the chain to flex as it rotated around the bike’s chainrings and rear cog.

Not content with just making a rideable bike, Facciola added a custom freewheel which would allow him to coast on descents – otherwise the direct-drive system, or fixed-gear bike, would require constant pedaling. Through trial and error, Facciola devised a working freewheel – pretty darned impressive!

woodenbike02 16 year-old Handbuilds Wooden Bike

I’m sure the wooden wheels don’t offer the comfy ride of a pneumatic tire, nor are the solid wheels likely to be very stable in anything gustier than a light breeze. But I have to say – it’s so cool that this kid handbuilt an entire bike from the ground up, shaping each component from the raw materials. Try that same method of building a car up from metal bits! The simplicity of the bicycle has always been one of its coolest assets, and yet it’s still the world’s most efficient transportation method.

From Lee Valley Tools via Treehugger.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ken Z November 20, 2007 at 8:57 pm

The problem here is that there ain’t a soldier-carried item that uses that small amount of energy. Main radio? 6W (120 times the power this backpack puts out). Secondary radio? 3-4W (80 times what this backpack puts out). Tactical Flashlight? 10W (200 times what this backpack puts out).

To put it in perspective, one of those small, almost weightless CR-123 cells has about 4.0 Wh. Thus, a soldier would have to walk for 80 hours to produce the same amount of energy as is in a single, almost weightless, $3 battery. And they don’t have to carry a backpack to do it.

Summary: This invention is useless.

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2 Shane Morgay December 20, 2007 at 4:57 am

I think I heard the a same concept… Only that it is a back pack mounted on a BMW and uses its energy to power up a BMW 545 Starter which is pretty neat… But still it uses fuel for total engine function…

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