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pedal powered washing machine
oct 19, 2010
pedal powered washing machine


following ivan illich’s concept of ‘tools for convivality’, the pedal powered washing machine is aimed at saving one time, labour and fossil fuels by washing clothes without a generator. the open resource project called
‘les outils des l’autonomie’ (the tools of autonomy), provides instructions on how to build one’s own manually
powered washing machine – washer x bike – using recycled components.

to build your own pedal powered washing machine you must obtain:
- a washing machine with top opening
- a bicycle at speed without a fork or small tray with front wheel type ATV (22 teeth)
- a belt of the same type as the original of 1.20 depending on the size of the wheel used
- minimum rafter measuring ideally, about 5m
- tubes, angles, flat bars, bike carriers
- thick plate (3-4mm) for turntables
- Ø 10-12 bolts, washers, nuts

to manufacture your ‘washing machine’:
- completely remove the inner washing machine, keeping the tank, its door opening and drain hose
- secure the vessel on a chassis rafter
- present the bike and make the bike carriers using tube, angles or other flat irons available.
all elements are welded together to the bike.
- slots are drilled into the plates (3-4mm), which allow for the adjustment of the voltage belt
- place the bike on the chassis, measuring using a string the length of the belt if necessary
- drill four holes into the frame and secure
- to prevent slippage of the belt, line the inside rim with a slip – similar to that of skateboard grips
- putting it in place, tighten tender and the machine is ready

full instructions can be found on the project’s website here.

to effectively clean your clothes, the rotation of the tank should not be too fast – about 50 rpm.
to achieve this speed, while pedaling comfortably, use a tray of 22 teeth. hot water can come from a water heater,
a solar cooker, a cooker timer etc. in keeping with reducing fossil fuels. the manufacture, use and maintenance
of the pedal powered washing machin is available to all, powered by one’s manual, physical movement.

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