Human-Powered Machines Resource List: Pedal to the Metal

DIY Plans and Resources to Buy Human-Powered Machines

Adults of average physical fitness can produce between 50 and 150 watts of mechanical power pedaling a bicycle. Why not put that power to work powering electronics, appliances and other machines? You’ll get fit while reducing your dependence of fossil fueled electricity.

Pedal-powered machines are favorite spectacles at fairs and events, churning out smoothies and powering televisions. But pedal-powered blenders are just the beginning, and human-powered technologies date back hundreds of years. Today, the setup usually incorporates a generator and inverter in order to convert your mechanical work into electrical energy. However, this is not always the case. Either way, groups and resources abound to help you construct your own human-powered machines for cheap -- giving you a bit more motivation to move your body.

woman pedaling, couch potato

DIY Human-Powered Machines

"How to Make Human-Powered Tools: Bike Frame Cultivator," MOTHER EARTH NEWS
Excerpted from Tamara Dean's book, The Human-Powered Home, learn to convert an old bicycle frame into a garden seed cultivator.
 "How to Make Human-Powered Tools: Treadle Sewing Machine," MOTHER EARTH NEWS
Excerpted from Tamara Dean's book, The Human-Powered Home, learn to convert an electric sewing machine to operate using treadle power.
“Living Off-Grid: A Homemade Deep Well Pump,” MOTHER EARTH NEWS  
MOTHER blogger Ed Essex’s article explains how to build a lever-powered deep well pump.

“Make Electricity While You Exercise,” MOTHER EARTH NEWS
John Gulland’s article tells you why pedal-powered generators can play a small but useful role in your home.

“Pedal Power for Your Grain Grinder,” MOTHER EARTH NEWS

MOTHER editor, Jennifer Kongs, reports on the Bodine Motor kit that turns your bicycle into a GrainMaker grain grinder.

"Supplement Your Home's Power With a Bicycle Generator," MOTHER EARTH NEWS
MOTHER's editors tell you how, just by combining a bicycle with a battery and automobile alternator, you can pedal up some additional watts for your home.