Meet the Sol Cycle
The Sol Cycle is our miniature 3D-printed, solar-powered bicycle model. We use it as a teaching tool to explain the basic principles of renewable energy and a few simple physics concepts. Each classroom we visited kept one (or more!) Sol Cycle(s) to play and experiment with after we left town -- we're betting the students we met can improve and expand on the original design, and are impressed by their clever suggestions (ex: magnetic levitating training wheels!).
We used Tinkercad, a free online tool, to build a digital Sol Cycle. We printed our first prototypes at the Arden Arcade public library in Sacramento, and have since used 3D Hubs, UC Berkeley's CITRIS Invention Lab, and private businesses to manufacture new cycles.
Below is a link to the CAD model for the Sol Cycle. We encourage you to tinker with, improve and transform it into something faster, hardier, more stable, more elegant, whatever you can imagine. Send us your work! We'd love to post some here. Some things we still want to add - threads for the screw holes, a more elegant way to attach the training wheels, and gears for the back wheel.
How do you put it all together? Check out our step-by-step instructions.
Flash back in time for some Cycle for Science history: here's the Sol Cycle taking its first steps (trying to jump off of Rachel's balcony)!