How to use a bike to power appliances
October 2, 2006 11:17 PM   Subscribe

I'd like to use my bike to power simple household items, such as our hand-cranked coffee grinder or the electric chargers for my cell phone and laptop. I'm thinking of this as a home-build project which I could use with my regular road bike. Where would be a good place to find mix & match machine parts, such as gears, chains, or axles? Does such a catalog exist, or would it be necessary to go to a real machine shop and get parts made? As a kid, I was handy with Lego Technic, and I'm looking for something at about that level of difficulty (adjusted +16 years for age, of course). 80-20 and a simple training stand would do part of the job, but I'd still need gears and axles.
posted by migurski to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You could buy plans for a stationary bicycle generator.

More information on a petal powered generator.

Google cache of a site with some more links that might be useful.

Unfortunatly I haven't really found a site with specific plans that you don't need to pay for that is very easy to follow. I'd love to know too if anyone has such information.
posted by gregschoen at 12:22 AM on October 3, 2006

Bike Power
posted by caddis at 4:42 AM on October 3, 2006

Oh, yes, I've wanted to do this for years, myself! I'm particularly interested in the mechanical-only ideas (I've got a hand-cranked wheat grinder myself that leads to truly _excellent_ bread, but cranking with feet seems like it would be much, much easier -- plus charging batteries sounds great).

I'll look around the 80/20 site -- thanks! -- but is there any chance you'll write up your progress? Feel free to e-mail me; I don't have much information to contribute, I'm afraid, other than more pedal-power web sites. You're way ahead of me. I just really, really hope it goes well for you.
posted by amtho at 4:54 AM on October 3, 2006

Check this.
posted by dead_ at 8:10 AM on October 3, 2006

For gears and shafting: Small Parts is available at Amazon
posted by hortense at 9:48 AM on October 3, 2006

Best answer: mcmaster will have all the mechanical parts you need. Look for #35 roller chain and sprockets.
posted by kc8nod at 10:31 AM on October 3, 2006

Response by poster: The Small Parts and McMaster-Carr links look perfect ... I actually checked out McM-C when looking at furniture fixtures a while back, didn't think they also did machine bits.

I like the bike electricity generators. They only solve half my problem, but it seems like a lot of people have built them and it's a well-solved thing. I'm surprised that most of the plans use the friction of the tire instead of attaching directly to the sprocket, but maybe flip-flop fixed/free hubs aren't as common as I think thought.

@amtho, I'll definitely write up progress when I get started!

Thanks for the answers, everyone.
posted by migurski at 12:09 PM on October 3, 2006

« Older How do I convert XML into XSPF?   |   Why do dogs lick your face when you whisper into... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.