May 22, 2016 | By Andre

The steady growth of low-cost desktop 3D printing over the last few years has provided many curious individuals the means to play with plastic and 3D print all variety of knick-knacks. But if you dig further, there are others that push the creative envelope to the limit with this emergence of accessible 3D printing.

Take bicycle enthusiast, 3D printing aficionado and Instructables user MechEngineerMike for example. He recently put out an instructables guide for a low-cost, 3D printed electric booster pack that is likely compatible with the bike you already own. The motivation behind his booster pack ultimately came down to money. He starts his instructables page out by saying that he “really wanted an E-bike but didn't have $4,000 for a brand new one, or even $1,500 for a hub motor conversion kit.” So he went ahead and created the Bicycle BoosterPack instead.

Complete with a simple operating design, no parasitic drag, easy removal, loads of power (up to 25 mph with pedal assist), a decent range (5 miles unassisted) at an affordable $300 in material cost, there really isn’t too much negative to say about what Michael has come up with.

As the above video shows, it's sturdy and really is a breeze to attach and even reconfigure (repositioning to a seat post clamping configuration in no time). And while not all tires are compatible in this early version of the design, there’s no reason to think variations of Michael’s version won’t be popping up online in the near future.

If you're eager to make one yourself, you can easily acquire all the necessary mechanical parts through eBay while the 3D printable files can be purchased online for $10 over on Pinshape.

From a print perspective, any reliable home FDM 3D printer will suffice. Supports are necessary for some of the files and a lot of infill is suggested (30 - 50 percent) because of the stresses and wear the assembled unit will have to endure. Also, Michael stresses that the completed parts will require a bit of post-processing (such as tapping) to ensure everything fits together nicely.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your mindset), this isn’t likely a project for beginners to the world of making. Knowledge of how motors, circuitry, wiring, and batteries function are all necessary to completing the project. But if time is your friend and curiosity is your forte, this most certainly might be a project for you.

And even though there are some limitations such as an inability to work in wet tire conditions or on bikes with rear wheel suspension, it certainly is the low-cost alternative to an E-bike that Michael set out to produce. I’m a fairly avid cyclist myself and I’m very much considering taking the plunge to make a booster pack of my own.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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