Pedal Progress was initiated in 2015 by Mechanical Engineering students at the University College London as part of a 4th Year Design Project. Pedal Progress collaborates with the Bamboo Bicycle Club London. Each year, the team takes on the challenge of designing and building a bike using bamboo as our core material. We build on the work of our predecessors redesigning the bike frame, improving the method of joining and more!
This year, Pedal Progress aims to design, build and test an electric bicycle made with a bamboo frame that can serve as personal transportation.
The Joints Team are exploring several new joining methods. We were inspired by heat shrinking plastic bottles but found that the joints could not withstand the stresses if used on a bicycle. Here we are exploring another heat shrinking method using a PVC wrap typically used in food packing and storage.
Here’s our step by step guide of building a bamboo joint with heat shrink wrap:
Firstly, choose bamboo with required diameters (30mm and 60mm).
Tape around area of bamboo to be cut to avoid splitting. Cut bamboo to desired length.
Make a mitre joint. This was done using a jog to stabilise the drill which was used to cut out a curved end.
Place bamboo into desired angle and position.
Join the bamboo using the heat shrunk wrap. Wrap around a few times and use heat gun at 150°C to shrink material.
Repeat wrapping and heating process around 15 times or until joint is stabilised.
Whilst this process showed better potential over heat shrinking plastic bottles, there were some significant issues. The joint worked well in tension but not compression. Also, a lot of material was needed to stabilise the joint which results in a very bulky joint adding to the weight. It also lacked aesthetically.
We’ve got other methods in the pipeline. For now, back to the drawing board.
This year, Pedal Progress is making an electric bamboo bike. For this we would need two vital components, an electric motor and a battery. For the motor we decided to purchase a readily available rear hub motor due to its simplicity, flexibility and availability in the market. The motor is a 250W 36V hub motor (meeting EU e-bike regulations). As for the battery to power this motor, our goal is to improve the aesthetics of commercial e-bike battery packs which are typically large, heavy and exposed. To do this, we plan to design and make our own battery pack which will be small enough to fit inside of a tube of bamboo (which then is inside our frame!). Below are some photos of the work we have done so far!
Much more work to do till we get it up and running. Stay tuned for more updates!
We are proud to receive the Group Project Award from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE). We are grateful for the opportunity given to us to showcase our design at the International Cargo Bike Festival on the 11th to 13th of June 2017 (Nijmegen, Netherlands).
The International Cargo Bike Festival (ICBF) is an annual conference for the public, authorities and professionals in the cargo bike industry. The festival will take place from the 11th to 13th of June 2017 in Nijmegen, Netherlands.
With continued support and helpful guidance from James (owner of the Bamboo Bike Club workshop) , we decided to build our 2016-17 bike at Bamboo Bike Club.The building phase ran for 5 days. Scroll down and check our lovely photos of Day 1 activities.
The first day of our building phase has finally commenced, and our team has been incredibly excited to get this running.
We decided to build our cargo bicycle at The Bamboo Bicycle Club workshop, near Bow Road. The building phase will run approximately for 4 to 5 days with the help from James and Emanuele (Thank you so much guys!). As our bamboo had already been delivered to James’s workshop, our next step is then to inspect and identify which bamboo will be used and where. This was a vital step, as any mis-calculation could cause further delay in installing our components. We then measured and shaped the chosen bamboos based on our design. The team also constructed the jig for the rear section of the cargo bicycle.