As you may or may not know, my buddy tim tobola did a project his senior year in design school that involved a kayak made from recycled billboards. Well, he's decided to pursue it further into something that can be put into production (an excellent choice) and he's asked me to jump on board (pun intended? possibly) and help push the thing further. Check out some recent photos and an update on how we're doing so far after the break...
Originally, we had planned on getting some kind of prototype up and running by March 12th. This is the date of massive (I think the largest in Texas) regatta that runs down Buffalo Bayou and ends up in downtown Houston. What better way to test and promote what we're doing than a whole bunch of other kayak enthusiasts all in one place?
We still have a little time, but our timeline is looking pretty tight. We haven't given up on the goal, but if we don't make it, it's not going to stop us from making this thing work!
So, you want to know just what exactly we're building?
Well, I shall sum it up for you. Basically, we've got an outer skin that's made from a billboard that's no longer in use. Billboards are all over the place, have about a one month lifespan, but last forever because they are made from nasty PVC ( I don't claim credit to the idea and I don't know all the facts behind the project. You'll have to chat it up with Timmy if you have more questions. )
Inside the skin are these ribs. Some are "O" shaped and some are "U" shaped. Currently ,we're making them out of plywood. We tried messing with carbon fiber, but we kind of failed miserably (it was our first time) so we've kind of put that on the back-burner for now. To attach the ribs and provide tension for the whole frame, we've employed aluminum rods (tent poles) for their light weight and flexible properties. We're kind of proud of the way we've devised to attach the poles to the frame, and we're working on getting a patent for this (so don't even think about stealing our idea...just saying).
So, last night, we were able to get a few "O's" together with some rods, but we found out our joints were too weak, so we're going to try to CNC route each "O" and "U" out of solid piece of wood. Eventually, this may become an injection molded plastic piece. So, stay tuned for some awesome CNC action!
follow me on twitter for more updated : @llllmills