A modular tricycle made from recycled plastic waste

For his graduation project for the Design Academy Eindhoven, Thomas Hoogewerf created a modular tricycle made from recycled plastic and metals, especially for use in Mexico City.

After spending some time in the city, Hoogewerf found that spending hours in traffic is normal in Mexico City, and that many urban areas are hard to reach with public transportation, not to mention overcrowded. The city expands horizontally rather than vertically, making it the biggest city in width, with the biggest suburbs.

“I wondered if I could find a solution to these issues,” Hoogewerf says. “Since I’m Dutch, it only felt natural to introduce a bike.” Better To Transport, as the project is called, seeks to stimulate independent and clean transportation. While two-wheeled bikes are more common in the Netherlands, making it a tricycle improved its use for transporting goods, as well as its overall strength.

To keep the production costs of the bike low, it is made out of recycled plastic waste and reused metal parts for essential technical support. These materials can all be gathered from the waste of Mexico City.

The blueprints of the tricycle are opensource, which invites people to work on the development of the bike. To make the bike you need an oven, a press and a shredder. The bike is designed to be easy to build. The complete bike is made out of flat plastic pieces, which are made by heatpressing the plastic into moulds. Other production techniques are also possible, but heatpressing allows for a wider variety of plastic to be used.

Since the bike consists of different plastic and metal parts that are mechanically connected, the bike is completely modular. This allows for weakened or broken parts to be easily replaced, without the need to replace the whole tricycle. Additionally, it allows for the bike to be personalised.

“As this is my graduation project, there is still a lot we can do to take [the project] to the next level,” Hoogewerf says. “This could be opensource collaboration or kickstarting for individual parts of the bike.”

For more extensive information about the tricycle, click here.

Photos: Thomas Hoogewerf