topic posted Sat, March 7, 2009 - 11:16 AM by  Albert
My buddy and I are making a lazer rickshaw- Rickshaw + lazerbeam. TO avoid re-inventing the rickshaw, What issue have people run into in the past? Do we need to know anything that happens when you combine parts, like unexpected electromagentic fields (or issues with balance or whatever... I'm having trouble finding clear plans)? We have a very little bit of know-how, mainly we're winging it- WE've got wheels, leaf springs, axel on its way... What's good to use for chairs? Sorry if these are repeated questions, but chaknow.... This 'shaw's might make it to burning man this year, but it's definitely touring BC, specifically Shambhala (We're canadian, eh!). Any other shambhalaites? Anyhoo... thanks for any feedback whatsoever.

posted by:

    Tue, March 10, 2009 - 11:39 PM
    Hi Albert,

    Rickshaws aren't really rocket science. I'm having difficulty figuring out what you are planning on doing with the rickshaw & laser beam. I'm from Toronto, Ontario. I used to work as a rickshaw driver (the bicycle rickshaws & foot powered ones). I knew one guy who wanted to say his rickshaws were 'laser balanced', but all that meant was that he would use a laser level to make sure the thing was strait.

    If you are thinking of making a three-wheeled bicycle rickshaw, do you want to make the two wheels in front 'tadpole' design, or the two wheels in rear design. The 'tadpole' has a few disadvantages in that it is a little harder to steer, but the passengers sit right up front. You can also turn the 'tadpole' into a kind of cargo bike when you don't have passengers.

    The main danger with the front loading pedicabs is that you have to put a chain or something to prevent the front part of the bike from making too sharp a turn. If you turn too sharply with one of these, it will come down very hard and you might end up crushing your own leg and also hurting your own passengers very badly.

    Have two caliper style brakes on both front wheels, as well as a 'coaster' brake on the back wheel. The two front brakes allow for some added steering control, and the coaster brake on the back acts as a rudder to stop the trike from fishtailing. A coaster brake can only be added to a single-speed gear, but you don't want to be going fast with 600 pounds in the front anyways. You'll want to get some 20 inch wheels for the front as well, with some heavy duty spokes.

    Here's some plans for the Mexican pick-up. This is the easiest style to make.

    Since you are already getting the leaf springs and axle though, it sounds like you would be more interested in the triangular design. (two in the back, one in the front). That's the design used by the Indian bicycle rickshaws I used to drive.

    In that case, you would want the front end of a 'regular' bicycle, and the passenger compartment in the rear. Stripped of it's passenger compartment, the bare frame of an Indian pedicab was made of 'L' shaped angle iron, bent (with a pipe bender) and bolted into a triangular shape like a trident. There was a cross-bar at the back as well.

    ( \|/ ).

    The front of this trident attached to the front part of the chopped two wheel bicycle ( | ), and the back half of this trident held the axle, which was mounted to the triangular frame with more angle irons .( ___ ).


    The leaf springs were then bolted to the trident frame, and the passenger compartment was bolted onto the leaf springs.

    (Left side of screen is top.)

    [=]------------->( )------>|O
    1. 2. 3. .

    1. Passenger Cab
    2. Leaf spring
    3. Frame (with wheel).

    What's good to use for chairs? Anything that's weatherproof. Plywood is good because it it cheap and easy to work with. For the seating, get a piece of plywood and attach some foam to it with hot glue, then cover this up with vinyl. A marine supply store has some ready made weather durable chairs for a boat. Lawn chairs would work too, if they were secured into the passenger cab. You can also get creative and make a simple hammock seat out of cloth. It's good to have a seat big enough to accommodate two fat people, maybe a meter across.

    A shade/ rain cover is another consideration. This might be where your laser, El-wire, LEDs and stuff like that comes in handy. The Indian pedicabs have a kind of shell you can put up or down like you might see in old fashioned baby carriages. However, you might want to consider something such as an ordinary porch umbrella. These things can be easily lit up, and provide shelter for both passengers and driver. Also, the central shaft provides a good place to put the laser. You might even want to find a way so that the umbrella spins when the wheels are turning. You'd have to attach it to a flywheel or something to get it to do this.

    This would look a little like a crazy Leonardo DaVinci pedal-powered helicopter, but that's not so bad. The one disadvantage I could see to this design though, is that a wind might catch the umbrella like a sail and knock it over. The places in the world where pedicabs are used most often are some of the poorest countries in the world. An umbrella is a ready made shade structure and I have NEVER seen a photo of a pedicab which uses an umbrella or parasol. There must be a reason for this.

      Sun, March 22, 2009 - 2:56 PM
      Thank you so much! This is a person-power rickshaw, pulled by two drunken lunatics, rather than two drunken lunatics on bicycles, but your guidance is really useful none the less. That was a really indepth reply! As you say, rickshaws aren't rocket science. Since we are pulling it totally by hand/leg, we do have to look out for things like too much weight to the front etc... But the internet has nothing to do with it! WE'll have to do it our selves.

      -Albert and the rickshaw crew

        Sun, March 22, 2009 - 5:11 PM
        Say Albert, if you are pulling it by hand have you considered using the Jockey carts they use for horse racing?

        Even if you plan on pulling it by hand, take a look at this 'Bike wagon' for Burning Man.

        Just replace the middle of the 'Y' with an 'H' and you're good to go!

        I suppose you could also make a 'T' on the end of the 'Y' bar as well, especially if there will be two of you pulling it.

        Here's one all 'decked out'.

        Incidentally, I found out that someone who made a Pedicab from a Mexican Pick up 'Tadpole' trike used an old bus seat as a passenger seat. They used the front of a snowmobile turned upside down as the passenger cab.

        Oh, I should point out that it is actually harder for two people to pull one (hand-pulled) rickshaw than it is for one person to pull a rickshaw. It can be done, but it actually makes it more awkward instead of easier (You have to match your pace to the other runner, etc.). It's especially awkward to steer with two rickshaw runners.

        Contrary to what people think, it isn't hard to pull a rickshaw at all, since the weight of the passengers is carried by the wheels. It's the same principle as the wheelbarrow, in reverse. The passenger weight should be over the axles. In some cases, it is helpful to have a compartment underneath for luggage.

        Be sure to add front and back lights, and maybe some reflective tape along the bars as well.

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