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A Wooden Bicycle January 24, 2008

Posted by Mrs Weird Scientist in Environment, Technology, Weird Gadgets.
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Marco Facciola

We’re lucky here on our earth. Why? Because we have heaps of different materials that allow us to build and create almost anything our minds can conjure up! Ever wondered how we’d fare if our wasteful ways left us with only a handful of materials?

Marco Facciola, a 16 year-old high school student in the International Baccalaureate program, was required to complete a project on a non-academic topic. As he was reflecting on a story his grandfather told – when rubber was scarce during the war and his grandfather needed wheels for a bicycle – Marco thought about building a functional wooden bicycle. The full, original article can be read here.

There were many challenges although it seems that the challenges were what made the project so exciting and interesting for Marco to complete. His biggest one proved to be the design of a wooden chain that wouldn’t break. Another challenge was budgeting for the wooden bicycle. Marco described how he didn’t want to purchase new drill bits because of his tight budget. He explains how he got creative to keep on track with his project:

I could not sharpen the bits I was using because they were Forstner drill bits. So, to prevent them from overheating and dulling, I drilled only a little at a time. I would remove the bit from the partially drilled hole and while it was still turning, I would take a bar of soap and rub it against its side to reduce the friction in the hole. This also cooled the bit slightly.

Having enjoyed woodworking and design for a long time, Marco plans to challenge himself with future projects. For now though, he is going to focus on school, his job and sports.

Credit: Lee Valley.

Taking Care Of What We Have

I think that Marco’s project shows how an open mind and hard work can allow a person to build with only one material instead of the many different materials usually required. At the same time, the project was a challenging and time-consuming one. It demonstrates how important and valuable it is to have a wide range of materials to use for building and creating the items we use in our lives. If you’re not getting my hint there, I’ll say it more clearly! Reduce, reuse and recycle!

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Comments»

1. sarahmeyers - January 27, 2008

cool!

2. movlogger - January 27, 2008

AMAZING!

3. Miss Weird Scientist - January 28, 2008

The part that I still can’t get over is how incredible this is for anyone to do, let alone someone who is only 16!

4. Kathy - January 28, 2008

Congrats to him on getting both a functional chain (rock maple oughta do it!) and a working ratchet/freewheel on his bike!

It occurs to me that the bike is probably very heavy. For weight savings he could hollow out the dowels used as his frame and put metal or plastic reinforcing mesh on the inside, and/or cut slots out of the disc wheels and wrap what’s left in reinforcing mesh.


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