The Wik-E-Cargo Bike

Over the last year we have been developing a plywood cargo bike, in the hope it will be of some use to somebody apart from us. After visiting the wiki houses in Amsterdam and seeing how cargo bikes seemed to be the life blood of the city, we began wondering if the two concepts could be brought together somehow. If you can make plywood houses why can’t you make plywood cargo bikes, and make them so they are cheaper and simple enough for almost anybody to make. We became convinced that cargo bikes are the future of urban transport, and plywood cargo bikes could play role in making that future a reality. They can be used to take children to school, to do the weekly shop, to make deliveries, and trades people can take their tools to site. They do not use fossil fuels, they do not pollute the environment, and they are excellent for mental and physical well-being.

Why plywood

The aim has been to develop a design that could be constructed by any body with basic woodworking skills for considerably less money than a commercial cargo bike. Plywood is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than steel, and it does not rust. All the plywood and aluminium parts are cut to shape using CNC machines, tubing can be cut to length by suppliers, and standard  bicycle spare parts can be bought online or from cycle shops. Although some specialised hand tools are required, there is no welding or machining involved . The wooden frames and cargo container are glued together and varnished, and then everything else is bolted together. The design is licensed under creative commons. The CAD files and a full list of tools and materials needed can be downloaded from the link to the master file at the bottom of the page,

A collection of laser cut models of cargo bikes

Laser cut models

Please be aware that this is a work in progress and these drawings and notes should only be used as guidance. Check every thing. Use at your own risk.

Cutting files

Image of the cutting files for the cargo bike
Image of the cutting files for the cargo bike

Here is an image of the cutting files to make all the plywood and alumiunum parts.

Here is an image of the cutting files to make all the plywood and alumiunum parts.

The dfx master file can be downloaded from the link below. This will also give you a list of all the parts and the tools you will need.

The master file should be split up into 4 drawings. Take two dxf cutting files of the plywood parts to a company with a large CNC router, and two dxf cutting files of the aluminium parts to a company able to laser cut metal. Each file will be used to cut one thickness of material. The rear drop-outs will also need to be slightly bent using an hydraulic press. Most engineering workshops will have one of these.

The right hand rear drop-out has to be drilled and tapped as will the bottom steering lever, but with the right tools this is easy to do.

Before you glue the plywood parts together they will have to be cleaned up, and the joints checked (they should fit together easily but not be too loose). Then you can then glue the frames together using good quality slow cure adhesive, and some G clamps. After that, give the frames a good sanding all over and then several coats of yacht varnish.

You are now ready to assemble your bike.

Some images of the construction process

The plywood parts are cut on a large flatbed CNC router, using a 4mm diameter cutter. Although this size of cutter seems a little small for cutting 18mm thick plywood, it was chosen to keep the dog bones in the corners of the joints as neat as possible. The cutter seems to be up for the task and all the drawings have the dog bones incorporated.

Preparing the rear frame parts for gluing
Preparing rear frame parts for gluing.
Plywood parts for the rear frame being clamped and glued together
Plywood parts for the rear frame being glued and clamped together.

Click here to  download the master file

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