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David Butcher: PPPM Pedal Power Tools

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Pedal Powered Tools!

Hand tools are great, but foot tools are even better! Your legs are much stronger than your arms and hands. You just need a machine to connect Human Power to tools - and the PPPM is just the right machine for the job.

Today, July 26 2009, I added a pedal powered trip hammer to the Pedal Powered Prime Mover.

Here is a video of me pedal-powering a 16 ounce ball-peen hammer as it pulverizes a piece of concrete.

This is a great attachment for the PPPM. The pedaling was effortless! I'm certain a heavier hammer could be swung without strain. My plan is to also try a masonry chisel. I am installing flagstone and each piece of flagstone needs to be scored and broken. For best results, flagstone should be scored on both sides. I added up the total distance I have to score, and it is around 600 feet! I'm looking forward to reading Email, surfing the web and catching up on magazines while I do it!

It's not visible, but there is a mechanism that moves the platform in front of the PPPM left and right in small increments so the chiseling will follow a straight line. That part is also pedal powered.

The design of the PPPM really shines in this application. All of the force is on the fixture holding the hammer arm, not the PPPM frame. The flywheel eliminates contact shock as the ball bearing on the pedal spindle contacts the hammer arm, and it enables both legs to contribute energy to the activity. The crank ensures that the rider does not suffer from leg-lift exhaustion that would occur with a single-leg pump design.


Today, December 1 2007, I tested powering a battery-powered drill using the Pedal Powered Prime Mover.

Here is a video of me pedal-powering a Makita 6211D 12 Volt DC drill that is drilling 1/4 inch holes through a 2x4. The drill is very inefficient, so I had to keep up a good pace while drilling.

For those of you considering building a drill powered bicycle, I learned a lot about how inefficient battery powered drills are while making this movie. They are shockingly bad! The drill required 70 Watts just to rotate, doing nothing at all! I was amazed it was that bad.


Today, November 18 2007, I added equipment to the PPPM that enabled reciprocating (back and forth) power to be captured from pedaling. This form of power will be useful for:
  • Pedal powered wood saw and pedal powered hacksaw or metal saw
  • Pedal powered pump (converting a hand pump to pedal power)
  • Pedal powered air compressor - only an air cylinder and a single check valve are required

I am certain I will come up with other ideas as well! This modification is inexpensive, simple, and it does not interfere with any of the other PPPM capabilities, such as generating electricity!

Here is a video of me pedal-powering a hacksaw that is cutting some of the PPPM steel frame material. The sawing was effortless!

This is only a prototype. I have more work to do to make it safer and more reliable, but it worked!

This is a specific example of an activity a converted bicycle cannot perform as well. The flywheel of the PPPM is directly powering the saw, and the "smoothing" effect of the flywheel on the sawing effort is extremely important. In converted bicycles, the back wheel is the only "flywheel" and it cannot transfer stored energy to the pedals - unless it is spinning backwards! (Or in a fixed-gear bicycle, which are more rare than bicycles with "freewheels"). Since the reciprocating motion is taken from the pedal crank and not the rotating motion of the flywheel (or rear wheel of the converted bicycle) only the PPPM design can use the flywheel to assist with the reciprocating motion.

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