$9 Bicycle Made of Cardboard and Recycled Materials
Cardboard bicycles may no longer be an April Fool’s joke anymore (like this one), because Izhar Gafni has successfully built a fully functional bicycle made of cardboard.
The Israeli inventor’s cardboard bicycle is strong, durable, light, cheap, and made of additional recycled materials.
Gafni’s invention has made it to several headlines ever since he completed a functional prototype ready for mass production. His bicycle has no metal parts at all from the wheels to the body frame to the brakes. Instead, Gafni used recycled materials like puncture-proof reconstituted rubber from used car tires for the bike’s tires. The inventor has not yet revealed other materials that are part of his cardboard bicycle because of pending patents.
Specifically, Gafni used corrugated cardboard and then treated it with a formula of organic materials to make it water and fireproof. To test it, he had immersed a cross section of the treated cardboard in water for a few months and was pleased when it came out as hard and durable as before.
The cardboard bicycle can carry riders weighing up to 485 pounds, thanks to Gafni’s implementation of principles from the Oriental art of origami. Knowing that a paper folded in half doubles and even triples in strength, Gafni sought the right ways to fold cardboard for his bicycle. He worked for years to pinpoint the cardboard’s weak structural points and to find ways to cancel them out. A full sized cardboard bike weighs about 5 kilograms less than the average metal bike, according to Huffpost Green.
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Gafni’s cardboard bicycle costs only $9 in materials per unit, and is expected to sell no more than about $20 in markets. The recycled and green materials completely cancel out any production costs and manufacturers will make profit instead from big company names and brands willing to pay to put their logo on the bike frame. Gafni’s business partner Nimrod Elmish thinks that this advantage can be leveraged to give the bicycles for free in poverty-stricken nations. They plan to employ pensioners and disabled individuals to work alongside automated production lines in producing the cardboard bikes.
Gafni and Elmish plan to produce the cardboard bike in different versions. These include electric motor-assisted urban bikes, youth bikes, balance bikes, and even wheelchairs specifically for people in need in Africa. Gafni thinks that cardboard might be considered as material for cars and even aircraft in the future. Looking at his incredible cardboard bike, the idea doesn’t seem very far off. Gafni originally came up with the idea of building a cardboard bike after hearing about the guy who built a functional cardboard canoe. Watch his documentary about building the cardboard bike here at Vimeo or watch the video at the end of this post.
The cardboard bicycle reportedly offers many advantages equal to and even beyond its metal counterparts: it is light, durable, waterproof, fireproof, environmentally friendly, and cheap. Not to mention that it virtually needs neither maintenance nor adjustment. Its wheels require no inflation and would last 10 years. Even if it breaks down after a few months’ or years’ use, it is so affordable compared to popular and expensive units today that it can be replaced with ease. Gafni’s cardboard bicycle might be too cheap to be stolen, but it’s too good not to be true.
-Cardboard Bicycle By Izhar Gafni, Israeli Inventor VIDEO >
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