Snow Plowing By Bicycle

There are few challenges more difficult or dangerous than trying to get around the majority of North American cities by bicycle. Not only is the bicycle infrastructure woefully inadequate for safe travel (if it exists at all), but it’s often not maintained to any reasonable standard, either. This goes double in colder areas, where bike paths can essentially become abandoned in the winter after a snowfall. [Phil] found himself in this situation recently after a snowfall in western Canada and decided to DIY his own bike-powered snowplow to help keep his bike paths cleared.

The plow is built around an electric-assisted cargo bicycle, which is almost as rare in North America as bicycle infrastructure itself, but is uniquely suited to snowplow duty. It has a long wheelbase and a large front cargo area that can be weighed down if needed to ensure the plow makes good contact with the ground. The plow itself is built out of sections of plastic 55-gallon drums, which have been cut into two scooping sections and attached to the bike with a wooden 2×4 frame. The plow can be raised or lowered with a ratchet strap mechanism, and the plastic scoop skips over bumps in the path with relative ease.

With this relatively simple mechanism attached to his bike, [Phil] can make sure the trails that he frequents around Vancouver are more suitable for bike travel in the winter. Riding a bicycle through the winter, even in the coldest of climates, is not that difficult with the right support and investment in infrastructure, and this build is the best DIY solution we’ve seen to bicycle infrastructure support outside of adopting something like this remote-controlled snowblower to the job.

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TrackRobot Sports Welded Steel, Not Plastic

Don’t let the knee-high size of [Hrastovc]’s creation fool you. TrackRobot weighs in at a monstrous 60 kg (130 lbs) of steel, motors, and battery. It sports two 48V motors in a body and frame made from pieces of finger-jointed sheet steel, and can reach speeds of up to four meters per second with a runtime of up to an hour. The project’s link has more pictures as well as DXF files of the pieces used for the body.

Currently TrackRobot is remote-controlled, but one goal is to turn it into a semi-autonomous snow plow. You can see TrackRobot going through its first steps as well as testing out a plow prototype in the videos embedded below.

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Hacking Gets A Cover Story

We do see hacking in mainstream print media from time to time, but you know the movement must be gathering steam when a collection of hacks gets the cover story in a local paper. This week’s issue of The Isthmus – the premiere free newspaper here in Madison, WI – features the local hackerspace and a handful of green hacks.

The man seen riding the pedal-powered plow above is [Kevin Blake], a mechanical engineer for Trek Bicycles which is headquartered in Waterloo, WI. He built the rig with the chassis of a riding lawnmower, adding shovel blades in a V-shape on the front, with cranks and other parts salvaged from bicycles.

The article goes on to feature the local hackerspace, Sector67, by interviewing its founder, [Chris Meyer]. The paper tracked down some other local hackers (and Sector67 members) who have been prototyping wind turbines.

The largest feature in the story goes to [Ben Nelson’s] Geo Metro electric vehicle conversion. The self-employed video producer picked up the diminutive car for about $500 and dropped in a forklift motor which he picked up at a garage sale ($50 + $50 for new brushes makes for a steal at $100). But here’s the best part of the project: after ripping out the unneeded parts for the car he sold them for $550. Anyway, all said and done he’s got about $1300 invested in the project and now has an all-electric car that gets up to 45 mph with a range of twenty miles in between charges. Maybe a big tail cone would help extend that reach.

This is the most interesting stuff we’ve read in the newspaper in years. Maybe you should contact your local journalists for a feature in your area? If they’re not receptive, don’t fret… we’re always looking for great builds to feature here at Hackaday.

A Tricycle Built For Plowing

What do you get when you combine two bikes, a couple levers, and a home made wooden shovel? Why, a light duty tricycle plow, of course! [Craig] of Firefly Workshop cobbled together this contraption to assist him in shoveling his 90′ driveway when a few inches fall. More convenient than a normal shovel, and much more environmentally friendly than his 8 Horsepower snow blower, this trike looks like it could actually make shoveling the snow fun. Not really much more here than meets the eye, we just wish we had a video to share of this sweet ride in action.