You Can 3D Print Your Own RC Motorbikes

Radio control cars have been a popular toy for decades, but their motorcycle counterparts have always lagged behind due to balance issues and compromised agility. At the same time, a little toy motorbike can be mesmerizing in action. [brettt3] built a few of his own design that look remarkably fun to play with.

Modeled after the Ducati Draxter and Suzuki GSX-RR, the 3D printed bodies do a great job of aping their full-size counterparts. With a lick of paint and some finer touches, these could be absolutely exquisite, but they look awesome in the bare plastic nonetheless. The bikes use a belt drive to deliver power from a motor in the body to the rear wheel. To keep them upright, a weighted front wheel is used as a passive gyroscope for stabilization.

But the finest touch is arguably the rider which sits atop each motorcycle. Articulated and with hands resting on the handlebars, the rider moves with the steering of the bike, creating an eerie realism that we can’t get enough of. There’s even a tiny micro-servo in the head which allows the rider to swivel and look in the direction of motion as you’d expect.

Files are available for those wishing to recreate these designs at home. Alternatively, dive deeper into gyro-stabilised designs to learn more about how it all works. Video after the break.

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Home-Crafting A Motorcycle Throttle Hold

Cruise control is a common feature on automobiles, though less so in the motorcycle market. Given that continual throttle application on long rides can be a real pain in the wrist, many riders long for such a convenience. As a cheat solution, bolt-on locks that hold the throttle at a set position are available, though quality varies and generally they need to be activated by the throttle hand anyway. [Nixie] wanted a solution that would leave the right hand entirely free, and held, rather than locked, the throttle.

The device [Nixie] came up with is essentially a brake that fits inside the throttle handle and holds it in position. This is achieved with a mechanism that presses a pair of small brake shoes into the inside of the throttle, holding it from rotating back to neutral when the rider lets go. The brake is activated by a control on the left handlebar via a Bowden cable, allowing [Nixie] to activate the throttle hold on the highway and use the right hand to check pockets or simply rest.

It’s a tidy build, and [Nixie] does a great job of explaining the various design choices and the intricacies of the Bowden cable actuated mechanism. It’s anything but a one-size-fits-all build, but other enterprising machinists could certainly duplicate the design for other motorcycles without too many problems.

For those interested in more traditional cruise control, we’ve featured a teardown of a simplistic 90s Jeep system before. Video after the break.

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This Is The Bike You Wanted Your Dad To Make You When You Were Eight Years Old!

The ever-resourceful [Turbo Conquering Mega Eagle] has an excellent excuse for starting on projects, he’s building them for his kids and making videos. We’re not so sure his little motorcycle wasn’t built because Dad also wants to have a go though, because it seems he had quite a lot of fun testing it.

The build starts with a Chinese petrol conversion kit for a bicycle. There’s a little twofour-stroke motor and a basic chain drive to a large sprocket intended to fit on the opposite side of a bicycle wheel to the pedal sprocket. He uses a pair of pneumatic wheelbarrow wheels for which he makes a new bush and to which he welds the sprocket. These go into a fairly simple hardtail frame for which he makes a padded motorcycle seat, and from then on he’s ready to go.

The result is a rather cool little non-road-legal motorcycle that we suspect most readers will have a hankering to own. We’re not so sure about its seeming lack of brakes though. Judge for yourself, the video is below the break.

This isn’t the first home made small bike we’ve brought you, though it’s a lot safer than the first one.

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LED Tail Lights For Improved Motorcycle Visibility

Motorcycles are hard to see at the best of times, so riders are often concerned with making themselves as visible as possible at all times. [Josh] wanted to do this by creating a custom tail light for his Ducati 749.

The tail light is based around SMD LEDs, mounted in acrylic to diffuse the light. The construction is beautiful, using custom PCBs and carefully machined acrylic to match the lines of the bike.

As far as warning lights go, a brighter light will be more obvious in the day time, but could actually hinder visibility at night by blinding other road users. To this end, [Josh] built the tail light around an ATtiny 45, which could be programmed with various routines to optimise the light level depending on ambient conditions. Another feature is that the light’s brightness pulses at high frequency in an attempt to attract the eye. Many automakers have experimented with similar systems. The ATtiny controls the lights through a PCA9952 LED controller over I2C. This chip has plenty of channels for controlling a bunch of LEDs at once, making the job easy.

Overall, it’s a very tidy build that lends a very futuristic edge to the bike. We’ve seen [Josh]’s work in this space before, too – with this awesome instrument display on a Suzuki GSX-R.

Kenyan Teen’s Invention Protects Cattle And Lions

Lion Scarecrow

[Richard’s] community in Kenya had a problem. The people depended on local livestock for survival, but the local lion population had started consuming that very same food source. The result was that people suffered from loss of the livestock, but the lions also suffered when the people killed them to protect their source of food. [Richard] knew he could do something to help both his community, and the lion population. He ended up building a lion attack prevention system.

He first tried a sort of scarecrow, to keep the lions away from the cattle. Unfortunately the lions proved to be too “tricky” and quickly realized that the scarecrows were no threat. Then one day, [Richard] was working with a flashlight. This led him to realize that the lions seemed to be afraid of moving light. That gave him the idea for his invention.

He had previously taken apart his mothers new radio, much to her dismay. He learned a lot about electronics in the process. He combined his electronics knowledge with this new knowledge about lions, to create his lion attack prevention system. The core component is the turn signal circuit from a motorbike. The circuit is hooked up to a rechargeable battery and a solar cell. This all runs through a switch so [Richard] can turn it on only when needed. The circuit is switched on at night to keep the lions away. [Richard] claims that they have experienced no lion attacks since the system was put in place two years ago!

This protects both the local cattle as well as the lions themselves. The whole thing is powered from the sun, so it’s likely to last a very long time. This kind of project may seem simple to many readers, but it’s a great example of the good ideas and ingenuity that can grow out of necessity. Oh, did we mention that [Richard] is only 13 years old? His invention is now reportedly being used all over Kenya and has led [Richard] to receive a scholarship to what he calls “one of the best schools in Kenya”.

While this hack has clearly changed the lives of many people in [Richard’s] region. You don’t have to make something overly complicated to change the world.

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