Red Bull Creation: 72 Hours to Build a Crazy Contraption

[All photos: Kevin Lee, PCWorld]

After 72-hours of non-stop welding, machining, and wiring, 12 teams spent last Sunday McCarren Park in Brooklyn, showing off their maker builds as part of the Red Bull Creation event. The challenge: build creations to move the weight of a person (100 pounds) across 100-feet without any fossil fuels. Here’s what they made with little to no sleep, the tools on their backs, the scrapyards of Green Point, a New York Heat Wave, nothing to drink but Red Bull (ok, not really), and a fistful of creativity and ingenuity bordering on insanity.

23b Shop: 23b-ter Trotter

23b Shop put together a seesaw-powered generator with a video-game twist. As the seesaw goes up and down, it rotates half of a 10-speed bike connected to an electric generator. The power is used to power a string of LEDs on the side of the frame. Normally it just lights up blue, but 23b decided to include a quick-draw game. When the bar levels out, the two riders can push a trigger button that lights up the LED track in either red or green. The game goes on until one player eventually racks up enough points to win, and the lights will flash the winning color.

Buildface: One-Horsepower Open Sleigh

Buildface put together a sleigh dolled up in red and filled with Christmas icons like snowman galore, fake snow, and a red dinosaur. The whole thing is driven by an electric motor; it takes off surprisingly quick, and the driver can steer by pulling reins like you would in a real sleigh.

Hack.rva: Wheelie-Mobile

At first glance, Hack.rva’s build is entirely unbalanced. And it is, because it’s meant to pull off a wheelie once it starts. Hack.rva told me that their Wheelie-Mobile can pull off some terrifying amount of torque so it immediately starts tilting back.

The pair of shopping-cart wheels on the back stops the rider from flipping backwards but it can also be balanced by the rider. A rider with good balance can bring their weight forward and drive the entire thing on its center wheel. The Wheelie Mobile’s momentum comes from an electric motor rotating the dryer drum in the middle and the rest was built from scrap metal with a shopping cart seat, bed frame chassis, and treadmill handlebars.

Harford Hackerspace: Chill-a-Piller

Harford Hackerspace went with a worm motion using a truck jack and alternating braking. It moves by putting on the brakes at the back chariot while controllers drag the front section foward. Once the jack is fully expanded the front section brakes and the back moves forward to meet the front. It’s moves just like an inchworm

Besides the mechanical bits, the Chill-a-Piller is also built with a glowing cow, Victor 883 speed controllers, two 12-volt batteries, a 24-volt motor, and a horn to make funny noises.

i3Detroit: Swiggle Trike

Personally I thought i3Detroit’s build was the most impressive. The Swiggle Trike pivots its back wheels left and right to move forward just like how a swiggle board works. Pneumatic cylinders pumped up by the two tanks of pressurized carbon dioxide shift the wheels back and forth. At the back, there’s a photovoltaic spoiler, which creates energy just for its bubble-making exhaust system. There’s a speaker underneath, which honks the horn and blares an anti-theft alarm. Oh, and it has an airbag, too. See it on video...

Innovation Thirst: Play Power Pod

Innovation Thirst had the largest build at over 100 pounds, and it could carry four people--the most of any of the craft. It needs two people on its swings to power two electric generators. The energy goes to four motors, each attached to wheels with 360-degrees of movement. At the back there’s two 12-volt batteries to power Innovation Thirst’s self-made suite of Victor 885 speed controllers and the Wi-Fi remote that's connected to a wireless PC gaming controller.

Next page: A human-powered SMS printer, the Wedgie-Powered Vehicle, giant hamster wheel, more...

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