A few months ago, I mentioned Specialized and Google’s Innovate or Die contest, which challenged participants to create a machine that “transforms pedaling energy into a new and useful purpose”. At the end of that post, I asked any Bicycle Design readers who entered the contest to let me know about it. Well, the deadline for entry just passed, and a reader, Mike Hall, sent me a link to his team’s entry on YouTube.
Mike and the group made an inertia friction welder powered by a bicycle. You can check out their entry video right here. The video shows the pedal powered machine in action as it welds 2 pieces of aluminum together. The resulting weld joint may not be the prettiest I have ever seen, but it is really exciting to see the machine working right before your eyes. I watched the video several times and I think that you all will enjoy it as well (I especially liked the slightly “out of tolerance” comment). As you watch, you will see that all the guys involved in the project are obviously excited to see their hard work pay off. Nice work guys.
In addition to the video link, Mike passed along a few stats about the machine that his team made:
Flywheel weight – approx 150 kg
Gear ratio to flywheel – 5.79:1
Gear ratio flywheel to work piece – 37:19
Flywheel energy – 30 Kilojoules @ 500 rpm (I think we only managed around 400-450 rpm though)
Also on the subject of “Innovate or Die”, Cyclelicious recently posted about a group of MIT cyclists who generated 1.2kw to power a supercomputer in response to the challenge. Read more about that entry here.