Kevin Becker recently moved to Kenya and built this great DIY three-wheeler for his son.
“My son wants to be outside all of the time. This three-wheel cart allows him to pedal himself around like Fred Flintstone, or I can push him from behind with the handle. The larger wheels are good for the rough terrain on our farm. He can turn the front wheel to steer himself, or I can tilt the cart back so the front wheel is off the ground when I need to steer.”
The Three-Wheeler in action:
“Except for the wood, I used parts that I had on hand which I brought with me from the U.S., but I’m sure everything could be found here in Kenya. The wheels came from golf club bag carts, but any spare wheels, around 10″ diameter, should work. The rear handle and front wheel support are made from 1″ PVC. The front handle is 3/4″ PVC.The seat is a piece of spongy foam used for padding your knees when doing yard work.”
These are great news from our Ethiopia-based partner iceaddis: a student recently designed a new wheel for skateboards that can be produced in Ethiopia – made and designed in Africa. Reinventing the wheel? Eh!
Bauhaus product design student Daniel Scheidler presented his bachelor project on affordable and locally appropriate vehicles for individual transport in Ethiopia. Through extensive field research in Addis Ababa, Daniel concluded that new roads of good quality have been built across the city and the country, but owning a car is still far too costly for the great majority of the population, while the public transport system (buses & taxis) on the other hand is overcrowded. Derived from personal experience in the skateboard scene, Daniel’s proposed solution is a locally adapted type of skateboard, as a viable option for the daily transport needs of the urban masses.
Of central importance to the concept is the wheel, which was especially designed for easy production with locally available materials. Up until now, any complete wheel on the Ethiopian market, be it for bicycles, wheelchairs or skateboards, has been an expensive import from abroad. Daniel’s prototype relies on a core out of spray foam insulation, cast with a reusable mold and supported by a fiberglass coating and leather or rubber from used tires. The wheel design is meant to be gradually enhanced and adapted through the iterative process of small-scale local manufacturing.
In the following video, which is unfortunately only available in Kiswahili, he takes it out for a test ride on an empty field:
Going by the info provided in the video, the “microlight” approach looks like the right way to go as it also strips the aircraft of unnecessary components. His aircraft may still be a bit too heavy though due to the lack of available and affordable light-weight materials in Kenya. Would bamboo be an alternative?
Avid readers will also notice that once again the landing gear is the weak spot and that this “natural” runway may not be the best testing ground.
The spirit though is all that matters and we salute him for his continuous efforts!
p.s.: Gabriel, if you are reading this, please register for the upcoming Maker Faire Africa which will take place in Lagos, Nigeria, later on this year. Good luck!
In Nyeri, Kenya a young man named Peterson Mwangi has created a way to start and switch off a car engine, via an SMS command from his cell phone. This is a lot like Morris Mbetsa’s anti-theft vehicle system using SMS of a couple years ago.
Anyone remembers David Mayer de Rothschild’s Plastiki, “a 60 feet (18 m) catamaran made out of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and other recycled PET plastic and waste products” that successfully conquered the Pacific Ocean last year?
Well, it seems this young man from Lamu (Kenya) had a similar idea and is in the process of building his own plastic bottle boat. Our reader Arthur Buliva from Kenya just sent us these pictures with the following explanation:
I was in Lamu recently and came across this man who was making a boat out of plastic bottles and old slippers. He was not yet finished with it yet but I took the few photos of the product that I could.
He says that he collects plastic water bottles that the tourists throw on the beach. He also wakes up early in the morning to collect bottles washed ashore from the sea. With these he has constructed the (in his own words, “first in its kind”) boat.
He water-proofs it by sealing the gaps with used slippers collected in the very same way. Then boils tar in order to glue the components all together.
Kenya believe it? 🙂
(all images kindly shared by Arthur Buliva under a CC-SA licence – thx!)
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