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Thread: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

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    Default Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

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    MOSHAV AHITUV, Israel (Reuters) - A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world's most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says.

    Izhar Gafni, 50, is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines. He is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard.

    He told Reuters during a recent demonstration that after much trial and error, his latest prototype has now proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months.

    "I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard's weak structural points," Gafni said.

    "Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right," he said.

    [Related: Bike thief leaves apology note]

    Cardboard, made of wood pulp, was invented in the 19th century as sturdy packaging for carrying other more valuable objects, it has rarely been considered as raw material for things usually made of much stronger materials, such as metal.

    Once the shape has been formed and cut, the cardboard is treated with a secret concoction made of organic materials to give it its waterproof and fireproof qualities. In the final stage, it is coated with lacquer paint for appearance.

    In testing the durability of the treated cardboard, Gafni said he immersed a cross-section in a water tank for several months and it retained all its hardened characteristics.


    Once ready for production, the bicycle will include no metal parts, even the brake mechanism and the wheel and pedal bearings will be made of recycled substances, although Gafni said he could not yet reveal those details due to pending patent issues.

    [Related: Biker captures dramatic fall on video]

    "I'm repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is, it is amazing. Once we are ready to go to production, the bike will have no metal parts at all," Gafni said.

    Gafni's workshop, a ramshackle garden shed, is typically the sort of place where legendary inventions are born. It is crammed with tools and bicycle parts and cardboard is strewn everywhere.

    One of his first models was a push bike he made as a toy for his young daughter which she is still using months later.

    Gafni owns several top-of-the-range bicycles which he said are worth thousands of dollars each, but when his own creation reaches mass production, it should cost no more than about $20 to buy. The cost of materials used are estimated at $9 per unit.

    "When we started, a year and a half or two years ago, people laughed at us, but now we are getting at least a dozen e-mails every day asking where they can buy such a bicycle, so this really makes me hopeful that we will succeed," he said.

    A ride of the prototype was quite stiff, but generally no different to other ordinary basic bikes.

    "GAME CHANGER"

    Nimrod Elmish, Gafni's business partner, said cardboard and other recycled materials could bring a major change in current production norms because grants and rebates would only be given for local production and there would be no financial benefits by making bicycles in cheap labor markets.

    "This is a real game-changer. It changes ... the way products are manufactured and shipped, it causes factories to be built everywhere instead of moving production to cheaper labor markets, everything that we have known in the production world can change," he said.
    Elmish said the cardboard bikes would be made on largely automated production lines and would be supplemented by a workforce comprising pensioners and the disabled.

    He said that apart from the social benefits this would provide for all concerned, it would also garner government grants for the manufacturers.

    [Related: Google's biggest idea yet?]

    Elmish said the business model they had created meant that rebates for using "green" materials would entirely cancel out production costs and this could allow for bicycles to be given away for free in poor countries.

    Producers would reap financial rewards from advertisements such as from multinational companies who would pay for their logo to be part of the frame, he explained.

    "Because you get a lot of government grants, it brings down the production costs to zero, so the bicycles can be given away for free. We are copying a business model from the high-tech world where software is distributed free because it includes embedded advertising," Elmish explained.

    "It could be sold for around $20, because (retailers) have to make a profit ... and we think they should not cost any more than that. We will make our money from advertising," he added.

    Elmish said initial production was set to begin in Israel in months on three bicycle models and a wheelchair and they will be available to purchase within a year.

    "In six months we will have completed planning the first production lines for an urban bike which will be assisted by an electric motor, a youth bike which will be a 2/3 size model for children in Africa, a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride, and a wheelchair that a non-profit organization wants to build with our technology for Africa," he said.

    CHEAP AND LIGHT

    The bicycles are not only very cheap to make, they are very light and do not need to be adjusted or repaired, the solid tires that are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires will never get a puncture, Elmish said.

    "These bikes need no maintenance and no adjustment, a car timing belt is used instead of a chain, and the tires do not need inflating and can last for 10 years," he said.

    A full-size cardboard bicycle will weigh around 9 kg (about 20 lbs) compared to an average metal bicycle, which weight around 14 kg.
    The urban bicycle, similar to London's "Boris bikes" and others worldwide, will have a mounting for a personal electric motor. Commuters would buy one and use it for their journey and then take it home or to work where it could be recharged.

    He said that as bicycles would be so cheap, it hardly mattered how long they lasted.

    "So you buy one, use it for a year and then you can buy another one, and if it breaks, you can take it back to the factory and recycle it," he said.

    Gafni predicted that in the future, cardboard might even be used in cars and even aircraft "but that is still a way down the road."
    "We are just at the beginning and from here my vision is to see cardboard replacing metals ... and countries that right now don't have the money, will be able to benefit from so many uses for this material," he said.

    http://news.yahoo.com/cardboard-bicy...090732689.html

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    QWAK,The best part is that you can fix a flat tire with SCOTCH TAPE!

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    I personally don't think this would ever work over here in the states. I might buy one as a novelty item, and maybe hang Christmas lights on in the front yard.

    But....I do Love these ideas and pray they work out for them....

    RK

    Quote Originally Posted by newmisty View Post

    Elmish said the business model they had created meant that rebates for using "green" materials would entirely cancel out production costs and this could allow for bicycles to be given away for free in poor countries.

    "Because you get a lot of government grants, it brings down the production costs to zero, so the bicycles can be given away for free.

    "It could be sold for around $20, because (retailers) have to make a profit ... and we think they should not cost any more than that. We will make our money from advertising," he added.

    Elmish said initial production was set to begin in Israel in months on three bicycle models and a wheelchair and they will be available to purchase within a year.

    "In six months we will have completed planning the first production lines for an urban bike which will be assisted by an electric motor, a youth bike which will be a 2/3 size model for children in Africa, a balance bike for youngsters learning to ride, and a wheelchair that a non-profit organization wants to build with our technology for Africa," he said.
    "There are no great men, only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet." Halsey

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Hopefully our fearless leader doesn't see this. If you thought the Chevy Volt, or Solyndra was a good idea.........
    "A Man's Got To Know His Limitations" Dirty Harry Callahan

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Cool, from an engineering POV. My question; although they designed to be be waterproof, fireproof and to stand up to road hazards, is it African-proof? They could ruin a truckload of anvils.
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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Does the bike disintegrate when it rains?

    bb

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Someone contact this guy to take the paper bike out for a spin!


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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Quote Originally Posted by bb28 View Post
    Does the bike disintegrate when it rains?

    bb
    Gees, at least read the article.
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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Quote Originally Posted by GodspeedMetals View Post
    Someone contact this guy to take the paper bike out for a spin!

    QWAK,godspeedMetals,Actualy it is much worse for the inventor and his bike --- like our own paper curency his bike has gone DIGITAL and can only be used inside a computer -- doesn't even have any intrinsic value!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3efV2wqEjEY

    On the positive side -- the damn thing is FAST as lightening!

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    I was fine with it until I came to this line:

    "Because you get a lot of government grants, it brings down the production costs to zero,"


    OH, REALLY?

    If that's true, then they should make me a few dozen and send them to me gratis... because I've certainly paid for them already!

    I also noticed that in one of the pictures, the material being cut with a chisel and hammer is not "cardboard" like that from a shipping box. It is a commercial paper honeycomb material, and though very light and strong and trustworthy for the purpose it's not as cheap as "box" cardboard.

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    1. It's called composite. He's using honeycombed cardboard and soaking it is resins. I fail to see what he invented here.
    2. No suspension, no air in the tires. This has to be a bone jaring ride. Every little bump will be felt.
    3. As others pointed out, he has a business plan based on socialism. Tax money makes it affordable / free. Right.

    Nothing to see here folks.

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Quote Originally Posted by bb28 View Post
    Does the bike disintegrate when it rains?
    No, one day after the warranty expires.
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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Gafni owns several top-of-the-range bicycles which he said are worth thousands of dollars each, but when his own creation reaches mass production, it should cost no more than about $20 to buy. The cost of materials used are estimated at $9 per unit.
    Probably costs only $1200... after shipping and handling...
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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    Quote Originally Posted by Goldhedge View Post
    Probably costs only $1200... after shipping and handling...
    Or, maybe they just send you a box within a box that you cutout and assemble.

    bb

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    "We are just at the beginning and from here my vision is to see cardboard replacing metals ...
    LOL... This vision seems to run in the family.
    I

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    Default Re: Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

    QWAK,The DEBASMENT continues partical board -- chip board -- card board -- the disposable reality of our modern lives!

    The next generation will concider card board boxes as ANTIQUES like we today see old wooden boxes that once were concidered normal.

    the DUCK
    "ALL is ONE" What we DO to and FOR others we DO "TO and FOR" our selves ultimitly!

    People SELDOM look for TRUTH! What they look for is CONFERMATION that what they have chosen to believe IS TRUTH! This is why people will believe almost ANY THING and also WHY the WORLD is SO MESSED UP!

    IT is never realy OVER -- things just CHANGE!

    You can QUOTE me on ALL! It IS what I believe to be TRUE!

    I AM, the DUCK

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