Wednesday, November 30, 2016

UC San Diego Student Motorizes Bike

Do you ever find yourself hitting the snooze button over and over, and then wishing you could fly or had roller skates for feet so you could make it to class on time? James Yao, a first year Visual Arts major, solved this problem by building an electric bike.

Yao came to UC San Diego to build his bike.

“I’ve been wanting to do this for awhile, ever since I first saw electric bikes in my junior year of high school,” said Yao. “I designed the bike over the summer but I didn’t have the time or money to hire someone to machine the parts. My top two choices for schools were the University of Washington or UC San Diego, but my design wasn’t good for the rainy weather.”

When Yao arrived at UC San Diego, he asked his orientation leader about resources for makers on campus and heard about EnVision. When he saw the photos of the space on the website, he knew he could finish the project.

Yao used the 3D printers to prototype brackets for mounting his electric motor and the soldering stations to build the electronics.

According to Yao, the 3D printers provided the biggest benefit. “At first, my design didn’t work – the bracket wasn’t strong enough,” said Yao. “I was able to iterate on the design by printing versions.”

Yao’s bike goes up to 25 mph, which helps him get from Warren to his 8:00 a.m. class on the other side of Peterson Hill! Jealous? Who knows, maybe he’ll help you build one!

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