Thursday, September 13, 2012

Man builds working bicycle almost entirely out of cardboard

We've seen time and again here on The Automata Blog that amazing mechanical things can be made out of unexpected materials such as paper and cardboard. Building a small mechanism that doesn't have to support much weight is one thing, but you can't build anything out of cardboard that takes a lot of weight or shock. Can you? This excellent film by Giora Kariv shows that you can. Follow along as Isreali inventor Izhar Gafni pursues his solitary quest to build a working bicycle from cardboard. He was inspired by a story he had heard about a working canoe made of the same material.

Photo of bicycle cardboard

The literature on how to work with cardboard in this way was, shall we say... lacking, forcing Gafni to experiment with different fabrication techniques to see what the material could do. The secret to the strength of the material lies in folding the cardboard. With enough folds, the material becomes quite strong. We also see him dip parts in some type of liquid during his experiments. Whatever the liquid is, I'm sure it helps.

In the end, he sums up the creation well:

It's strong, it's durable, it's cheap. What I like about it the best? It's made out of cardboard!

He accomplished this feat after being told by three engineers that it was impossible. Let this be a lesson to all of us: if you have an idea, a passion for it, and a willingness to experiment and work in the face of doubt, you can accomplish things that have never been done before. Now...go invent something.

[ Thanks Bob! ]

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