Izhar Gafni is an Israeli engineer that has figured out how to make a $9 cardboard bike. The cardboard bike, called the Alfa, can support riders weighing up to 485 pounds.
Gafni is a brilliant and award winning inventor who specializes in designing automated mass-production lines. From designing carbon rigs to industrial machines for peeling pomegranates, 3 years ago Gafni put his sights on a new challenge. As a cycling enthusiast, he wanted to create a bicycle made from cardboard.
I heard about a guy that built a canoe from cardboard. It struck me and I couldn’t get it out of my head, why not make a bicycle out of cardboard?
Engineers Gafni respected told him it was impossible but his wife knew better. Convinced it would drive him crazy, she encouraged him to give it a try.
It turns out there wasn’t a lot of information available on how to make a cardboard bike. It was an arduous trial and error journey but Gafni learnt that by folding the cardboard it tripled the strength. The most challenging part was making the cardboard bike look like a normal bicycle.
Once he got it right Gafni experimented with a treatment for the cardboard that would make it both water and fireproof. This secret concoction is made from organic materials and sealed with lacquer paint for a finished appearance. The end product is strong, light and inexpensive with cost of materials sitting at the $9 mark.
Initial production is set to begin in a few months on 4 models: an electric motor assisted urban bike, a 2/3 sized bike for youth in Africa, a learner bike and even a wheelchair for a non-profit organization in Africa.
With their inexpensive price tag, the bikes could be a game changer for the developing world. In addition to being made from recycled cardboard, the tires are made from reconstituted car tires. This means they will be highly resilient to punctures. Overall very little bike maintenance will be necessary. The finished bicycle contains no metal parts, with a car timing belt is used instead of a traditional bike chain. The best part for Ganfi? The bike is made from cardboard.
It has always excited me to take neglected materials and turn them into something completely different. Something useful.
Source: Fast Co.Design