November 16, 2009

Building a Bike-powered Generator at the Liverpool Social Centre

Yesterday afternoon I spent an enjoyable afternoon doing some hacking and making, but of a slightly more old-school type than my usual hacking.

Through the Transition Towns South Liverpool mailing list I heard about a "DIY and fixing" workshop that was being held at the Liverpool Social Centre on Bold Street. As the announcement email stated:

"The idea being that if you have anything which needs fixing, be it clothes, a bike, a computer whatever, bring it along and try to fix it yourself. All going well there will be other people there who have either experience in something similar, or keen to help out and together we will work it out.

For those of you who have nothing to fix (surely you have something thats been broken for ages and you just haven't had the energy or time to fix it), there will be a project of making something."

Mark and Luke discuss how to proceed

I didn't have a project to take along, and part of my motivation was just to meet some other people doing making/tinkering/hacking sorts of activities in Liverpool, but I was also drawn in by the idea of the collaborative project: Luke wanted to build a bike-powered generator.

Luke is on the right in the photo above, discussing the next step in tbe build process with Mark. The three of us spent a few hours pulling rusty nails out of bits of wood, sawing, drilling holes and screwing things together.

The first step in the bike generator was to build a frame to lift the back wheel off the floor to let it rotate without the rest of the bike moving. Once that's done then there needs to be some mechanism to drive a motor in reverse to generate the power, but yesterday we were just focused on building the frame.

Luke had brought half an old wooden pallet and a length of steel pipe, which you can see scattered around the floor in the photo above. By the end of the session we'd transformed it into something that looks like it might do the trick, as you can see in this photo. It still needs some diagonal bracing added, and the piece for the other side still needs the "feet" pieces screwing on, but we were pretty pleased with the progress we'd made.

One side of the stand, nearly complete

I think Luke is planning on finishing off the stand on his own (as it doesn't need much more work) and then the next session will look at how to connect the bike wheel to the motor, which should be an interesting session.

It gave me plenty of food for thought on how best to run these sorts of activities though. A permanent space, where we could collect a set of useful tools, and where there were some decent workbenches would make things lots easier; and I wonder if weekend sessions would help the Liverpool Hackspace be more productive. The Tuesday evening meets are good, but it's often hard to get much beyond catching up with each other and chatting about stuff - having a whole afternoon means you can really get stuck into something, but maybe makes it harder for people to attend?


Posted by Adrian at November 16, 2009 10:04 PM | TrackBack

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congratulations for the good work done. please can you provide me with the full details of how to connect a generator to a bicycle to power it. counting on your behave. thank you.

Posted by: boahen collins at June 24, 2010 12:57 PM
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