Multi-purpose 'transformer' hits the road
Photo by A. Sue Weisler
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Multi-functional equipment is not unusual. But, the combination of a bicycle, tent and cart in one kit makes for an out-of-the-ordinary, but convenient travel package. Emily Delmonte’s composite project is a minimalist’s dream and a practical invention for travelers hiking in the forest or in the big city.
That’s the premise behind her composite conversion bicycle project—a multi-functional set of tools, that when joined together, becomes a bike, or a cart or even a tent, she says. The three-in-one device is part of her senior design independent study project.
Delmonte, a fifth-year mechanical engineering technology student in the College of Applied Science and Technology, works independently in the machine fabrication and composites shop in the Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies. She produced several carbon fiber rods and multi-dimensional couplers in the lab that when assembled in different combinations form a bicycle, then a cart or a basic tent.
Carbon fibers are threadlike metals. They are overlaid in a cross-weave pattern that can be molded to form dense, high-strength objects such as the rods Delmonte designed. The composite structure is essential, she explained, and allows for uniform strength distribution across the equipment, especially at the joints, to hold the rods securely for the cart, bike or tent.
Imagine traveling with one kit of tools and couplers that can become a carry all, a method of transportation, even a temporary home. With a user manual, provided by Delmonte, along with the required number of rods, couplers and a few extra components like bicycle wheels and canvas, individuals can both travel light and travel conveniently.
“I would like to add more components,” Delmonte says of her project. She intends to market the composite bicycle to outdoor gear companies. An avid sportswoman herself, she sees the value in its simplicity. With the composite project features, she may never have to hail a taxi again.