The Bay Area Maker Faire is set to kick off this weekend in San Mateo, California, with “makers” from around the world arriving to exchange ideas, marvel in the madness of innovation, and learn a thing or two from their peers. This year’s Maker Faire will be sure to have plenty in terms of 3D printing technology on hand, as well as projects which have been successful in large part because of 3D printing.
For one maker, by the name of Jose Ramil Seneris, he will have something to show that will certainly amaze just about everyone in attendance. That something is a cardboard bicycle, which is made up of cardboard he collected over the months–as well as 3D printed parts. He has one goal in mind: “ride it in a ten foot long straight line, three times.”
“I saw Izhar Gafni’s Cardboard Bike at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry this past fall and I thought, ‘I gotta try it – I gotta try making one,'” Seneris tells 3DPrint.com. “Fast forward to early spring, the call for makers for Maker Faire Bay Area 2015 really drove the opportunity to make it. I had a little over two months to design and build it at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, TechShop San Jose and Mid-Peninsula. I absolutely would not have had the opportunity to build it without the support of The Tech Museum.”
Seneris tells us that he followed his instincts when it came to constructing and designing his bike. He referenced Izhar Gafni’s bike as well as more conventional non-cardboard bicycles in the process. Without any experience with CAD, he decided to learn as he went along, using the software to design most of his model.
While the majority of the bike is made from cardboard which was manipulated using tools such as hobby knives, box cutters, hot glue guns, adhesives, and a laser cutter, the non-cardboard parts are made using a 3D printer. They include the front and rear sprockets. The main body, fork, handlebars, axles, pedals, and everything else is completely made out of cardboard.
“My minimum success criteria is that the cardboard bike can travel ten feet in a straight line,” Seneris tells us. “I view this first prototype as an opportunity to physically engage in defining requirements for the next iteration. For me, the ultimate goal at Maker Faire is to have a great time learning from others, sharing stories of success and, more importantly, failure. I definitely believe this project will succeed. I view every opportunity as a championship opportunity.”
The bike’s wheels are 24 inches in diameter and Seneris designed it pretty much with the proportions of a mountain bike in mind. Those on hand at Maker Faire will be able to witness this first ever 3D printed/cardboard built bicycle ride for the very first time.
As for Seneris, he is a graduate from San Jose State University where he earned a degree in aerospace engineering. He recently worked as an informal educator at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose for a couple years before moving on to another job at Space Systems Loral. He has a quote that he often told his students. It reads: “There are no wrong or right ideas, there are only ideas, the experiment, and the truth that comes from it.”
It should be interesting to see how Seneris’ experiment goes this coming weekend, as hundreds will watch as his 3D printed/cardboard bicycle is ridden for the first time. What will the truth be that comes from it? Only time will tell!
What do you think about this unique bicycle? Do you think it will be able to hold a human’s weight while ridden for 30 feet? Discuss in the 3D Printed/Cardboard Bicycle forum thread on 3DPB.com.