Penny Silva Bike

by chipd, published

Penny Silva Bike by chipd Jan 11, 2013



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The Penny Silva is a 3-D printed disposable bike, styled in the fashion of the classic Penny Farthing bicycles of old, for use in the urbanised centres of towns and cities of the year 2040. The bike would be printed using natural, bio-degradable cellulose for the frame, and a bio-degradable flexible polymer for the wheels and seat (links below). The bike starts breaking down rapidly after being printed, with a maximum usable life of 1 week. After this point, the bike’s structure begins to break down and disintegrate.
The theory is that 3D printing machines will be available to every family by the year 2040. If someone wants to travel a relatively short distance, they can print off one of these bikes with flower seeds (daisy, daffodil etc) embedded into the frame of the bike during the printing process. The user then travels to the desired destination, and discards the bike when it is no longer needed. After a period of no more than a week, the entire bike begins to decompose, exposing the pre-embedded flower seeds to the elements. After watering (or rain) the seeds begin to grow, creating a natural beauty in what will undoubtedly be grey, metallic cityscapes of the year 2040.
This concept is all about contrast. The contrast between the metal, glass and concrete materials of future cites and buildings, and the natural, degradable cellulose of the bike frame coupled with the delicateness of the budding flowers. The contrast between sleek, smooth future cars and buses, powered by electricity or petrol, and the man-powered, slightly awkward looking Penny Silva bike which harks back to the very early days of bicycle design.
The Penny Silva name originated from combining the words “Penny Farthing” and the word “Silva”, which means “growth” in Latin.
• The “Penny Farthing” form is quite attractive and classic. The proportions of the front to the back wheel, and the large sweeping arc the frame must make to join the two are quite visually appealing. Given the time period in which these bikes were popular, this form is undeniably classic, and would provide a welcome contrast to the modern and futuristic architecture and design of the heavily urbanised cities of the year 2040.
• Unlike more conventional style of bicycle, there are minimal moving parts. This is because the pedals are directly linked to the driving wheel, meaning there are no chains, cogs or gears to contend with, all of which are possible failure points for a product which will be fully 3D printed in a rapidly bio-degradable material.
• The honeycomb shape to the wheels has two purposes. The first is so that the wheels can absorb some impact and provide a small level of comfort for the user. The second is so to provide a structure which, when the flowers bloom, will
• The frame is a nod to the style of imitation petrol tank found on some classic Schwinn bikes.
• The golden ratio was used to determine the spacing between the front and back wheels, and also the size of the rear wheel.
• Seed-impregnated cellulose is used for the frame, a natural, rapidly bio-degradable material which is 3D printed and has no ill effect on the natural environment as it degrades.
• Seed-infused flexible Polymer is used for the wheels, which, coupled with the hexagonal construction, offers the rider a degree of comfort while cycling.
• The design is very slim, meaning time spent 3D printing is minimised. The use of snap-fits means the bike is easily assembled.
• A bag hook is cut into the frame to provide somewhere for rucksacks/laptop bags to attach to while cycling.
Link for biodegradable polymer: http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/biodegradable-polymers-show-new-flexibility-2005-12-16
Link for cellulose 3D printing:

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So cool on so many levels. Wow! I must make this...