A Bicycle Trailer Fit For Heavy Haulage

One of the problems of being a cyclist is that a bicycle just isn’t designed to carry much more than a human. You can get panniers and hang shopping bags from the handlebars, but sooner or later there’s a load which just doesn’t fit. At that point there’s only one way forward that involves staying on two wheels: find a bike trailer. If you fancy building one yourself, then there’s La Charette (French language, Google Translate link), an open-source three-wheeler design from France.

Construction is a sturdy welded box section tube spaceframe, with the single wheel at the front providing steering, and a towing bar attached to the seat post of the bicycle. Along with the impressive load capacity comes the problem of towing it, and for the cyclist with less-than-superhuman strength there’s the option of an electrically-driven front wheel. Stopping the whole thing is an essential feature with loads this size, and to that end there’s an inertial braking system operated by the force on the towing bar.

All in all it appears to be a useful trailer, albeit on the large side for storage when not being used. It’s certainly one of the larger bike trailers we’ve seen, though not perhaps the most stylish.

Thanks [Jeff] for the tip!

Custom Cycling Camper Continues Car-Free

If you own a camper or RV, you might think twice when taking it out after giving gasoline prices a look. Towing all that extra weight and wind drag along can really eat into your fuel efficiency. [Drew] decided to keep the camper but take gasoline out of the equation by building a teardrop trailer he pulls behind his bike.

It’s a relatively simple idea. A 1″ by 1″ steel tube frame makes up the bottom, which [Drew] welded together. On top of that, plywood walls were built up over a plywood base. The wheels were stolen from an older bicycle and the top was made with many bending techniques using a portable fabric steamer for clothing. [Drew] found used doors and windows right in his backyard, which helped lower the cost. The trailer is insulated with sheet foam because it’s cheap and easy to cut.

In addition to the creativity, there’s a big focus on waterproofing and durability throughout this build. [Drew] applied caulk to the threads of every screw to prevent water from getting in and rotting the plywood. Canvas was used instead of fiberglass to save cost as it provides a fairly high level of protection from rain when finished properly. Cheap LEDs and a USB battery pack created stylish and functional lighting inside.

Overall, we think it turned out quite well, and we would love to bike somewhere and camp out in our own teardrop trailer. It’s a gorgeous example of welding, woodworking, and some plain ingenuity in the face of adversity. We’ve seen solar-powered trailers for e-bikes and campers for custom motorcycles before, and we think [Drew]’s trailer would fit right in. Video after the break.

Continue reading “Custom Cycling Camper Continues Car-Free”

A Bike Trailer For Any Expedition

One of the greatest challenges for a hardware hacker relying only on a bicycle for transport lies in the regular need to carry more than can be slung from the handlebars or on the luggage rack of your trusty steed. One of our favourite YouTube creators in our sphere, [Laura Kampf], has addressed this problem with a trailer for her electric bike made from a pair of second-hand wheelbarrows. She uses their buckets to make a clamshell box, and their wheels alongside a custom steel chassis to make the rest of the trailer.

As always with Laura’s work it’s a delight to watch, with some careful use of the cutting wheel to install hinges and vents in the upper bucket. Finishing touches are a chequer plate top for the trailer and a spare wheel mounted on the back for that extra-rugged look. Experience with wheelbarrow wheels suggests to us that the slightly more expensive ones with ball bearings are worth the investment over the plastic ones, but either way this is a bike trailer that means business.

We don’t see as many bike trailers as we’d like here at Hackaday, and those few we have are old enough to have succumbed to link-rot. Perhaps this project might tempt a few people to try their hand?

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Single-Wheel Motorcycle Trailer

A motorbike might not take up a lot of parking space, but this is not true for the trailer required to transport one. To solve this problem, [Make It Extreme] built a custom single-wheel motorbike trailer barely wider than the motorcycle itself.

The frame of the trailer is welded together from a couple of sections of large diameter steel tube, with a single car wheel mounted to a C-shaped portion on the rear end. A standard ball hitch would allow the entire trailer to tilt over to one side, so a pin hitch is used instead, with a pivot to allow up and down movement. Another pivot was added to the frame just ahead of the rear wheel to allow the trailer to lower to the ground for loading. It is raised and lowered with a manually pumped hydraulic cylinder, and a small pivoting ramp at the back also acts as a stop for the motorbike’s rear wheel. With the rigid frame and no suspension, we’re just wondering how well it will handle bumps at high speed.

[Make It Extreme] really likes his recreational vehicles, which include a monotrack motorbike, a¬†monowheel, and an all-terrain hoverboard, among others. Continue reading “Single-Wheel Motorcycle Trailer”

Message In A Bottle: Bicycle Trailer On A Mission

Graffiti is a controversial subject, and whether you see it as art or vandalism usually depends where and how you come across it. From the scribbled tag on a house wall, to highly sophisticated murals, they tend to have one thing in common though: making a statement — whether that’s political, showing appreciation, or a simple “I was here”. [Sagarrabanana] had his own statement to make, but chose a less permanent way to express himself with his type of graffiti.

Unhappy about the lack of dedicated cycle lanes in his area, he built an automatic, Arduino-controlled water dispensing bicycle trailer, writing his message on every street he rides on. The build is documented in a video, and shown in action in another one — which are both in Spanish (and also embedded after the break), but pictures are worth their thousand words in any language.

Inspired by persistence of vision (POV), where moving LEDs sync up their blinking to give the illusion of a static image, [Sagarrabanana] transformed the concept to water on a road using an array of solenoids attached to a water tank. Each solenoid is controlled by a relay, and a predefined font determines when to switch each relay — the same way pixels on a display would be set on or off, except small amounts of water are squirted out as the bicycle is moving along. The message itself is received via serial Bluetooth module, and can be easily modified for example from a phone. To adjust the water dispensing to the cycling speed, the whole system is synced to a magnetic switch mounted to one of the trailer’s wheels, so you could theoretically take it also with you on a run.

Time will tell if [Sagarrabanana]’s mission has the success he hopes for, but there’s no doubt the trailer will attract attention anywhere he goes. Well, we wish him all the best to get the message through without requiring a too drastic alternative as writing medium. Although, we’ve seen a graffiti robot that uses chalk spray in the past, so there’s certainly room for a not-too-permanent upgrade if needed.

Continue reading “Message In A Bottle: Bicycle Trailer On A Mission”

Tymkrs’ Deconstruction For The Zombie Apocalypse

tmker

We’ve seen a few of the projects from The Deconstruction, a 48-hour build-a-thon for hackerspaces and other groups around the globe. Of course Tymkrs, a pair of geeky vloggers famous for their building prowess, were part of The Deconstruction, and in the process they came up with a few really cool builds at their hackerspace, The Rabbit Hole, in Rochester, MN.

Their theme for The Deconstruction was “a zombie apocalypse”. Instead of homemade crossbows and electric fences, Tymkrs and the rest of The Rabbit Hole put a ‘rebuilding society’ spin on the whole zombie apocalypse and ended up building things that would be useful after Z-day.

First up is a PVC bike trailer¬†designed to easily attach to the back of a bicycle. The frame is made out of a few pieces of 2″ PVC pipe with some nylon rope knotted together for a nice webbed platform. a 5/8″ steel rod was turned down to accept two 20″ bike wheels. A useful build, even if it’s not the zombie apocalypse.

The second build is a solar japanese lantern, combining [Addie]’s love of solar lanterns and japanese-style lanterns into one great project. The materials for this build came from a broken solar-powered lantern with completely revamped electronics. There’s a Joule thief to keep the LED lit, and a few solar panels to charge up the batteries during the day. Of course the build wasn’t complete without a little decoration, so [Addie] drew four panels of rabbits for The Rabbit Hole team.

By far the most dangerous build undertaken by The Rabbit Hole is their can crusher. It’s a pair of snowblower tires powered by a disused garage door opener. The theory of operations is that a can will drop in between the rotating wheels, crushing the can, and sending it to a waste basket below the device. In practice, the device didn’t really live up to expectations, but it’s loud and dangerous, so we’ll give it a pass.