Urban Bicycle #4: Design Process

(This is Part 4 of The Urban Cycling Project. If you haven’t already known about the project, head over to Part 1.)

YES! It took me very long but finally, I figured it out! It is the clockwork mechanism! Now, I have to make the prototype in 1:5 scale and see if it works. It will be great to collaborate with an engineer but sadly, time does not allow. Working back and forth from sketch to 3d modeling and back again, it is like a challenge to think of creative solutions on the spot as fast as you can when you suddenly realise you have overseen certain details.

It is when I found out that the gears are too small in ratio to the whole, also considering if I want to make the gears for the prototype. At the same time, I have to think of how these gears are being supported to the stand. It shall be an elegant detail solution. Here’s the before and after for the clockwork mechanism design development.

3D Model 1

3D Model 2

There are a few challenges I faced during the prototyping stage. The workshop in the engineering department only supply and laser cut 4mm plywood. Unfortunately the laser cut workshop in the art school is booked out for the next 2 weeks. Fablab is again my SAVIOUR, where I had my 2mm MDF laser-cutted. Adding to that, the department’s 3d printer broke down right before my job, causing major delay in my prototyping stage. Not everything is going smooth for this project, especially when you are working on something delicate with hands, it takes patience and care. A couple of parts broke but I managed to repair them. It is really helping to develop my ability in quick problem solving.. Ignoring all the negativities and be persistently focus helps me to move forward.

All the other design development sketches:

Clockwork Apparatus Sketch 001

















The final look of the design is brought down to a calmer and more sophisticated aesthetic. The bright and bold colors are changed to matte black, to allow other materials to stand out, rather than competing one and other for attention. However, the colors can be customisable to personal perference.

Clockwork Apparatus


CA PushDown Motion

FINAL CA_UserInterior

FINAL CA_Interior3

FINAL CA_Interior


I think the weakness of this design is that it cannot be adjustable in height and the handle support is not rotatable for multiple orientation. To argue on that matter, the design does not stop the bicycle from being held down in any position. It also can be too heavy to be transported and moved around. Else, I think the marriage of utility, aesthetic and human desire is a great factor to a potential commercial product. It gives old function a new meaning. The special feature of human interaction responsive design makes it a living, pleasurable product. An assimilation of the key points of the project brief – culture, users, trends and environment, the design stood out as a fresh, iconic product that has not exist yet in the market now. Ultimately, despite the half working prototype, I am very pleased with the project as I have pushed beyond my expectation and learnt a lot out of it. To take this further, I will have to collaborate with engineers to solve the physics of the clockwork.

(At the time of publishing this post, the prototype is still under-construction and will be revealed in the next post. Stay tuned.)


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