bamboo construction

Problem Statement Possible Projects Decision Matrix Labs Our Bike Stand Challenges Conclusion Continuation of Project Intervention Team Members

Bamboo Construction Guide

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I. Problem Statement

Figure 1: Regions where bamboo is widely found.
Figure 1: Regions where bamboo is widely found.

Bamboo is a widely found (see Fig 1) and a renewable resource that is currently underutilized. This resource represents a potentially new sustainable economy because bamboo products could replace costly and high carbon footprint imported goods. As a new industry bamboo would offer employment and livelihoods in many forms; farming, harvesting, manufacturing, and sales. In order for bamboo to become a utilized material it must be shown to be an Appropriate Technology. We propose investigating methods of cutting, treating, and binding bamboo to gain a greater appreciation of the material and how it may be used. We will apply our skills to assist with other group projects as our time and skills allow.

A non-traditional but equally important part of our problem statement addresses the individual motivations and personalities that our group consist of. We attempted to take into consideration the motivation and personalities of our group by acknowledging and discussing our personal drive to have chosen the project. We found we all shared a more specific desire to create a bamboo bicycle, but what we realized was largely an ego and “cool factor” driven motivation that did not fit well with our desire to have a project with broader learning objectives that could potentially help future groups in the design of Appropriate Technology. Furthermore, we realized that the important learning about group dynamics, the design process, personal growth, and success and failure would occur regardless of producing a specific “product.”

II. Possible Projects
We considered the construction of the following out of bamboo:


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Bike Trailer

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Boda Boda Bicycle Seat

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Treadle Pump

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Hippo Roller Push/Pull Bar

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III. Decision Matrix
We used the decision matrix below to help us decide what project we would attempt for the quarter.

decision matrix.jpg

As you can see from our decision matrix, the highest scoring projects were the bike trailer and the treadle pump. Further investigation of the treadle pump suggested that bamboo is already being used for their structure and that replacing metal components with bamboo was not a feasible concept and was beyond our skill and knowledge set to attempt. We considered moving forward with the bike trailer concept and found existing plans and projects for bamboo trailers (See Lab 1), but decided that the first thing we should do is become comfortable working with bamboo and building different types of joints.

IV. Labs
Our initial focus is learning how to build and work with bamboo. As our skills and confidence progressed we were approached by the Bicycle Pump Group and asked if we could build them a bamboo bike stand. We thought this would be a good test of our skills and began designing and working on a stand. Currently we have a functioning bamboo bike stand and are refining our design.

Progress in Lab:Below are brief overviews of what was done in each lab as well as links to our progress and thoughts during the labs.
Lab 1January 29:We researched and experimented with different types of joints to see how bamboo could be connected.
Lab 2February 5:We continued experimenting with different types of joints, but adding several lashing techniques using twine.
Lab 3February 12:The base frame structure of the bike stand was completed. We thoroughly collaborated with the Bike Pump group to get a better understand of their goals and what they needed from us.
Lab 4February 19:Triangle support arms were added to the base.
Lab 5February 26:Additional support arms were added, creating a pyramidal foundation. Holding cups were added to the top of the stand where the chain stay would rest. We tested the stand for the first time with a rider on the bike and it was a success! The stand successfully and firmly supported the bike while it pumped water.
Lab 6March 5:Stronger holding clamps were added to the top of the stand to ensure stability. More testing took place.

Research and Bamboo Construction GuideThe research link is a compilation of our findings about joint and lashing methods used on bamboo.
Additional Comments The additional comments link takes you to comments and suggestions that were given to us throughout the quarter from our fellow peers and instructor.

V. Our Bike Stand!
We succeed in constructing a functioning bike stand using only bamboo and twine. Although we used power tools in our building process, the entire project could be completed with only a hand drill and hacksaw (or similar saw). We used lashing and through joints, no nails or adhesive (a crack was filled with wood glue, but the stand functioned without it and more care in sawing would have prevented the crack from forming). Below are pictures and videos of our finished product.

Image 1: Bike stand before initial testing.

Video 1: Our first test with the bicycle pump group. Our stand was successful, as well as, their bike pump!

Image 2: Final bike stand after adding rubber tubing to the bamboo cups.

Image 3: Final bike stand.

Video 2: Ethan testing the bike stand further.

VI. Challenges
Our biggest challenge was deciding the focus of our project. Collaborating with the Bicycle Pump Group and deciding to build a stand gave us our focus. However, the challenge of this union was communicating with a group who was still developing their design. This put a roadblock on our process because our design is dependent on theirs. In addition, our group members are in different lab sections making communication an imperative. We communicate by using handwritten notes, texts, and google docs with photos of the process. This has allowed both sections to work and communicate with each other effectively.

VII. Conclusion
From the first day of class our group struggled with deciding on what to do with our bamboo resource. Since we didn’t really have a set direction our sole goal was to build anything out of bamboo and to enjoy our time in lab and class by experimenting with this unknown material to us. We realized we had become so focused on making a final product that when we took a step back we saw just how much we have learned this quarter. We realized that failure is a good thing and with that we succeeded! We succeeded in making a bike stand out of bamboo. We also succeeded in collaborating with the Bicycle Pump Group, as well as, collaborating with each other and having a good group dynamic. All in all, we considered this quarter and project a success!

VIII. Continuation of this Project
If we were to continue to work on this project we could progress in a number of ways. Please refer to the decision matrix below for our ideas how to continue researching and working with bamboo.

Decision Matrix 2
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IX. InterventionAs part of the UNIV 392 our group investigated a personal intervention in our own lives. Our proposed intervention was to eliminate packaging from the food we purchase. This would mean that all food purchased for the period of the intervention could not be plastic wrapped, boxed, bagged, or bottled. Instead fresh fruit and vegetables would be purchased in bulk without prior packaging. Grains, cereals, and dry goods would be purchased in bulk where they can be kept in reusable containers that are brought to and from the store from your house. Likewise honey, milk, and nut butters would be purchased from locations that allow you to refill and existing container rather than buying a new one.
We considered meat to be a challenge to purchase without packaging, it may be possible to bring a tupperware type container to a butcher or meat counter, but meat also has a high carbon footprint and eating less of it would be part of the intervention. The purpose of this intervention was two fold. First, it was an effort to eliminate the wasteful packaging that surrounds so much of the food we purchase. Second, it was an effort to eat healthier less processed foods that are not packaging intensive.

None of us spent a week directly following this intervention, however we all found that the idea had stuck with us and influenced our habits through the past weeks. We became much more cognizant of the packaging of food and would choose no or less packaged options when possible. We also became more cognizant of the packaging we used with the food in our own life, instead of using plastic bags that would be thrown away we used reusable containers for our lunches.
X. Team Members

From left to right: Kimber Gutierrez, Audrey Coleman, Mariah Linnett, Ethan Lockwood amd Meghan Legg

Kimber Gutierrez: I am a 3rd year City and Regional Planning major from Bakersfield, CA. I love to cook, be outdoors, play sports, and try new things!

Audrey Coleman: I am a 3rd year Communication Studies major from Modesto, CA. I love to do crafty projects and utilize my creative mentality. I also love the outdoors and strive to enjoy it through activities I do with my friends.

Mariah Linnett: I am a 3rd year Graphic Communication major / Spanish minor from Redondo Beach, California. I’m a beach bum at heart who is always willing to see a sunset or sunrise, loves the smell of lavandar, enjoys running in the wee hours of the morning, and wants to learn as many languages as possible. I couldn’t be happier living here in SLO and I love making crazy college memories.

Ethan Lockwood: I am a 3rd year in Liberal Art and Engineering from Laramie, WY. I am passionate about the outdoors, trail running, working with my hands, and enjoying life every day.

Meghan Legg: Graphic Communication and Computer Science; San Juan Capistrano, CA; Cal Poly trail runners, AIGA, yellow Schwinn, Kurt Vonnegut