Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pedal-Power Design + Build

A friend sent me a link a while ago for an interesting company called Pedal Powered Design + Build.

The company, based out of Essex NY, is comprised of Andy Wekin and Steve Blood. The duo has created two pedal-powered machines for sale through their site, the Big Rig and the Pedal Genny. The Big Rig is a multi-function machine that can run a number low horsepower devices. Its versatility comes from a flywheel-outfitted central axle that includes several driving pulleys and gears to attach to your desired device. Wekin and Blood appear to have built the holy grail of pedal-powered machines; a PTO (power take off) that runs just about anything.

Their second machine, the Pedal Genny, is a single function machine. Whereas it can be assembled to operate a number of different devices it is designed to have a dedicated function. Though it does less, doesn't include a work surface, or a slick adjustable seat, its advantages are that it's much smaller and comes with a more approachable price tag- $350.00 (as opposed to $2000.00 for the Big Rig).

Check out this video to see the Big Rig in action:


video


This past winter Wekin & Blood completed a highly successful Kickstarter campaign, more than tripling their ambitious goal of $10,000. Congratulations guys!

Of their vision and Kickstarter goal, the men behind the machines said this:

"Our hope is that someday [pedal-powered machines] will be as economical and widespread as the bicycle. To take a step towards affordability, we’re going to open source the designs of our machines. Our goal with this campaign is to raise a small amount of funding to enable us to produce high quality, open-source build plans with dimensioned drawings and step-by-step instructions."

I caught up with Andy Wekin to ask about the success of their campaign and the progress of their open source plans. Here's some of that conversation: 

Awesome job raising funds, did you guys expect to it to be so successful?

We didn't expect our campaign to be so successful- it really took on a life of it's own!

Your project received some fantastic high-profile media attention, can you say more about the role of the media in your campaign? Were you "discovered" or was national press coverage a part of your strategy?

The media attention definitely helped, and although we did have a media strategy, it spread beyond our network. There were a couple articles that really pushed our story out to a much larger audience.

Having tripled your goal, do you have any advice for other ambitious kickstarters out there?

For anyone wanting to launch a Kickstarter campaign, I would recommend pushing social media and getting your story out to as many blogs and online media outlets as possible. It also helps to have some commitments (from friends and family) in advance so that your campaign already has some momentum.

Can you tell our readership how are things progressing with your open source plans? 

The open source plans are progressing, we've posted our first plans online: http://pedal-power.com/build-plans/ We're planning on getting more plans posted as well as build instructions.

Has your vision shifted or evolved since completing your kickstarter campaign? What trajectory do you see your company taking now? 

When we first started the project, we were just two guys with an idea, and as we showed people our prototype, we discovered lots of interest and support for what we were doing. The Kickstarter campaign and the ensuing media attention was pretty wild- we've been contacted by people all over the world to help with amazing projects, featured in Outside magazine, and interviewed on the radio in New Zealand. It's beyond what I could have imagined starting out in our garage. So I would encourage everyone to have a dream and pursue it- you might be amazed where it can take you! 

Can you give us some hints about what we might see come out of your workshop next?

We've also been working on a belt driven model that would be quiet enough to use in an office setting- stay tuned for more details!

Andy thanks so much for bringing us up to date with your exciting work, look forward to seeing how things continue to progress for your company!














Tuesday, April 1, 2014