Marco Facciola, a 16-year-old high school student, constructed this fully functional wooden bicycle to fulfill a class requirement. No metal was used in its construction, only wood and glue.
Marco says, "As a 16-year-old high school student in the International Baccalaureate program, I am required to complete a ‘personal project’ on a non-academic topic that is of interest to me. I have always enjoyed woodworking and design, so I decided to build a functional wooden bicycle. There was to be no metal used in its construction, only wood and glue. I wanted a project that would be a challenge.
I wasn’t sure my wooden bicycle would actually work. I quickly realized the first pieces of the puzzle I needed to figure out were the chain and the sprockets (gears), since the design of all the other components depended on these.
I was mostly concerned that the wooden chain would break. I researched the strength of different types of wood and built jigs to test the stresses that each of the chain’s components would undergo during use. First, I used my weight (150 lbs) to see if the wood could endure this amount of force. Then, my father would stand on the jig. I calculated that my dad’s weight would be twice the force each chain component would need to withstand. I made the specs high to ensure the chain and sprockets would work even if the wood had imperfections. During testing, I made adjustments to the chain’s components, and once I had it figured out, I realized that completing the project was within my grasp."
More after the jump.