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‘’’Project 1: BTT Bike’’’

Prototype 3: Final model
BTT - Second Prototype: This prototype is made from recycled plastic sheets and leftover metal parts. It is an aim for a cheap produced bike with waste materials. It is ment for transportation of humans and materials.
BTT- Prototype 1 - Pure strength testing - No design process
BTT First modelling prototype
BTT- Prototype 1 - Plastic wheel - illustrating the tension of the tire on the plastic

Mexico City could be the world’s largest mine for our future materials. On a daily basis many of its inhabitants drive up and down the highway to carry out their responsibilities. The subways are overcrowded and a few hours of traffic is normal. Access to affordable and good quality tools for transportation should be a basic human right. 

Mexico City expands horizontally rather than upwards to the sky. This makes the city the biggest in width, owning the biggest suburbs worldwide. Public transportation is challenged in reaching all the outskirts of the metropolitan area, not to mention clean transportation such as the public bike transport. 

The BTT project seeks to stimulate independent and clean transportation of people and goods. The bike is made out of recycled plastic waste and metal parts for the essential technical support. These materials can all be gathered out of the waste stream of Mexico City.  

The bike is aimed to become the lowest production price possible and should also be locally produced. The production technique of heat pressing in different moulds can offer an effective/fast production process. The machinery needed for producing the bike are included in the OpenWiki page. In this page other people can contribute knowledge and experiences for improving the development of the bike. The page also includes models, parts lists and costs. 

Since the bike has different metal and plastic parts which are mechanically connected, the bike is completely demountable. Weakened parts can be demounted and brought back to the local producer to be remolded into new parts. This system could work with discount returns for cheaper newer parts and creates an ongoing relation between producer and customer. A final addition brings this system opportunity for personalization of the bike. 


For the development of the current BTT project a first prototype has been made to look at the strength and possibilities of driving a bike. After more experimentation during the process a decision has been made to make the bike a three wheeled bike. Many people in Mexico city base their income on transportation of goods. This would bring an important extra benefit to the usability of the bike. In the meantime the addition of a third wheel improves stability for riding the bike and solves crucial weaknesses of an ordinary bike like the connection of the back wheel and frame. This also communicates the cycle of gathering plastic waste and the end product all together. And aside of this it brings a technical benefit for the stability of the bike.

‘’’The first prototype:’’’

Benefits of this project

If we look at the current industry of bicycle production there are a few things we can conclude. In the industry many of the bike parts are currently made in Asia for very low production prices. This creates a complete production in one part of the world resulting in constant export of bikes across the world. For the process of designing a bike the actual finalisation of the product extends generally for one or two months due to transportation time and planning. The “local” production of a bike is completely absent. This makes it difficult for bike retailers to have fast and direct face to face contact with the obtained products. The BTT project provides an opportunity for local production. This accelerates the production process and the possibility for updating user feedback for the bike. This can contribute towards a more efficient way of innovating the BBT project into a more refined product. Since the local production is possible in this project, the buyer can also easily return broken or weakened parts of a bike. This makes the producer of the bike stay responsible over the material. This system can become an essential part in plastic recycling since the “responsibility” over the material is assigned to a party, the producer. The material can be shredded again and compressed into a new mould. This offers a user circle for plastics until the total limits of the material are used out. With this customer relation it is possible to implement existing recycling systems like credit returns or discounts. The relationship between the producer and the customer can therefore continue. The producer can keep its customers and build up a network for a steady income. Since the producer can also be the retailer there is an opportunity to cut costs in the final product. Recycled plastic will often be delivered in inconsistent material ratio. This will result in a constant production of unique products. Parts can be pressed in different colours making the bikes have the possibility to be personalised for the customer.

‘’’Benefits listed:’’’

  • Recycling of waste material
  • Reduced need for metal production --> mining
  • Reduced need for metal welding resulting in reducion of produced gasses.
  • Reduction of Co2 emissions by using a bike as transportation
  • Green initiatives offer good market opportunities
  • Faster production process due to avoiding delivery time
  • Local production of the product
  • Producer and retailer combined
  • Continuation of the relationship between retailer and customer
  • Possibility for customisation of the bike.
  • Defined responsibility over the plastic material towards the producer
  • Return of broken or weakened parts to the producer in return of discount or credit
  • Constant production of unique products due to inconsistency of the recycled plastic material
  • The bike is not affected by water
  • The bike could potentially float on water
  • Potential for a very light weight bike


  • Uv resistance
  • Resistance of forces
  • Theft proof
  • Production efficiency


Mexico City: Modern bike lane

Mexico City (including the suburbs) has 21 million inhabitants. All these people make use in some sort of way of transportation. Busses are covering a very broad and wide range of field for people to be picked up. More inside of the Mexican city the metro is available and also the official fixed bus lines with higher platforms. In the current modern times also the Uber company started to be really present in the city scape. The main reason for this is the safety of Uber in relation to ordinary Mexican cabs. Since 2009 also the Ecobici project was launched. This project was part of a new urban plan for the city. In these plans which are currently executed, the streets of the city where redesigned for a more efficient and saver infrastructure. This also brought actual bike lanes in the picture, protected by plant pots.

Bike specifications

”’The first design shaping with the material included “’


The bike can be made in many different colours. Prototype 3 has dark green, black, blue and flakes of red in there. These colours are based of the pressed material of PP, HDPE and LDPE. During the design process of creating the bike is the technique of heat pressing of importance. The technique can be a fast and efficient way of making products. This should be communicated back into the design/appearance of the bike. There for the bike has been made with many corners and light curves to create a small contrast. The bike should communicate to the observer it is just a flatpack easily to assemble. The final product should encourage people to make the bike or make it understandable when a part is broken and how to take this part out. The back side of the bike provides a surface for transporting goods. This space is smaller in relation to many other three wheelers. This has to do with the technical maximum loal and the use of the bike. There are many three wheeled bikes out there. This bike should be functional for people moving smaller amounts of goods. it can be used to go to work, for shopping etc. The material of the bike is PP, HDPE and LDPE. This is due to the possibilities of waste plastic recycling. These plastics are color full, have a good amount of strength or stiffness, can widthstand higher temperatures and are usually separated together from the main plastic waste through the use of water and floatation (please see the paragraph: recycled plastic material) .

Technicalities - The total width of the bike is 76.4 centimeters. The total length is, Generally steel framed bikes are around 14 kilos till 18 kilos. The prototype is currently 20 kilo’s.

The bike consists out of Polypropyleen plastic, High Density Poly Ethyleen and Low Density Poly Ethyleen. These plastics have a melting temperature ranging from 180 to 230 Celsius. If the bike would be standing in full sunlight the plastics could handle the high temperature of the sun. The main effects lie in the UV light itself. UV light would have effect on the PP and LDPE plastic in the bike. The color will decay towards a lighter version. And over a long period of time cracks could arise in these plastics.

The bike saddle can be put to the back, this could be developed further into a potential lock for the bike. This could be integrated into the fourth prototype.

Project 2 : Antes

Plastics are inherently woven into our daily uses. They are everywhere and used for everything. Unfortunately the ones using plastic, have no fair chance of distinguishing all these types in their surrounding. The industry did start labelling all plastics with symbols. Still many objects are lacking these labels and still the information did not fully arrive to the general public. Plastic objects are being used once, and for the most part end up being burned. With plastic recycling, the correct separation of plastic is the most challenging part. From producer, to consumer, to waste collector, to recycle firm, to government control. All have to take part in making this circle a closed one. This project aims to visualise the past life of the plastic object through pattern making. What was it used for? by whom? and what kind of plastic do you need for this? The project is therefore called “Antes” meaning “Before”

This is a hydraulic press with the dimentions of 80 by 72 cm to press plastic sheets of this size

Hydraulic Press as a base for making the products

This is a hydraulic press with the dimentions of 80 by 72 cm to press plastic sheets of this size

In the plastic industry there is a variety of methods available for working with plastics. Dip-moulding , Injection moulding , Extrusionblowmoulding , VacuumForming , rotation moulding , and heat pressing. All these methods are used for different benefits in shaping plastic. Recycled plastic is technically a different story. Since recycled plastic is never hundred percent pure material it has inconsistencies in its properties. These can be the relief, diverse melting points, remaining chemicals or odors, fluctuating colors etc. For many of the techniques it brings complications in the production process. The recycled plastic gets stuck in the machines or does not bring the refined result ment for the product. Solutions for these technical challenges are a high purity rate of above 98 percent or customised production. The last production technique named in the list, Heat pressing does bring many possibilities for recycled plastic material. The reason is that the mould/shape for the product is pre-defined and makes the material as a whole be shaped in one moment. The pressure can be relatively easily provided (available hydraulic press for under 20 euro). For the correct heating of the right type of plastic a broad space in width and length has to be provided. This is neccesairy in order to make the heat penetrate equally over the whole material at the same time. This is important in order to avoid burning of the material. When plastic is placed in an oven of a maximum potential of 250 degrees it can take up to 2.5 centimeters of material thickness to melt completely.

Plastic Shredder:

Polyproplyleen and HDPE plastic mix in different colors mixed and pressed in the press


The Hydraulic Press included with a heat burner can press plastic sheets of 72 by 80 centimeters. By adding oil, or an anti stick mat it is guaranteed the plastic doesn’t glue to the metal surface. If you do not add any anti stick material to the metal the plastic will get stuck to the metal sheets. It is possible to pre-heat the press with the upper and lower sheets closed together. The burner should be on low power all the time. If the burner is on high, the plastic will burn. (this of course depends what plastic you use) After 7 minutes the sheets are warm and it is possible to cover the metal sheet with plastic pellets (shredded plastic parts) after the oil has been placed as well! For a mix op Polypropyleen and Hdpe the melting time takes around 12 to 25 minutes. After this time it is possible to start pressing with the handles. When this has been done it helps to put on a ventilator to make the cooling down process faster!

Part Price Source
Metal bars 40 €
Metal sheets 60 €
Metal ribs 60 €
Hydraulic press 12,5 pp - 50 € tot
Paella Burner 60 € Paella burner
Gas Tank 10 kg 50 €
’’’Total these prices are based on Dutch product prices and might defer in other countries’’’

This is a movie showing the First press prototype☂.


A good way to understand plastic as a material is to do small tests. We can read all the information needed in theorie on the internet but with a practical approach you understand the treatment of thermoplastics faster. The tools used for making pressed objects are shown in the image “tools for small experimentations”. The image shows a little microwave (for under 15 euro’s secondhand), free plastic waste, a strong blender (around 30 -50 euro), a grill (10 euro secondhand) and a meat grinder. During the experimentation period the meat grinder turned out not to be of much use! Ofcourse for savety reasons it is also good to buy gloves and a gas mask to avoid of breathing in to much of the gasses. These tools are use full for heating PP, PE, PET (potentially), ABS (not all). When the plastic heated it becomes like gum. This material is easily shapable into different forms. Take care not to touch the ‘gum’ state with bare hands! It is very hot and will stick to surfaces and stack attached to these surfaces. Using oil, oven paper, anti-stick sheets or anti-stick spray work for a layer to be able to get your end object lose.

‘’’How to! A user manual!’’’
  • Check the temperature needed for the type of plastic you are using. (see below)
  • Weight the amount of plastic you need for a possible mould with a scale. Calculate the width x length x height for a total volume. 1 kilo = Cubic decimeter. Divide this number through the density of you plastic type.

Example: 720 mm x 650 mm x 5mm = 2340000 mm3. --> 2.34 dm3. 2.34 divided through 0.95 (polypropyleen) = 2.46 kilo.

”’Tools for small experimentations”’: A quick and cheap way to familiarize with recycled plastic
”’Tools for small experimentations”’: “’Example sheets”’ The examples are a result in experimentation in different temperatures and pressure in combination with different colours. The bottom two images illustrate a possible technique where a stencil is cutted make patterns on plastic sheets

Everything about recycled plastic as a material

  • 1. PET - Polyethylene Terephthalate sometimes absorbs odours and flavours from foods and drinks that are stored in them. Items made from this plastic are commonly recycled. PET(E) plastic is used to make many common household items like beverage bottles, medicine jars, rope, clothing and carpet fibre.

Temperature: 260 °C

  • 2. HDPE - High-Density Polyethylene products are very safe and are not known to transmit any chemicals into foods or drinks. HDPE products are commonly recycled. Items made from this plastic include containers for milk, motor oil, shampoos and conditioners, soap bottles, detergents, and bleaches. It is NEVER safe to reuse an HDPE bottle as a food or drink container if it didn’t originally contain food or drink.

Temperature: 120 to 180 °C

  • 3. PVC - Polyvinyl Chloride is sometimes recycled. PVC is used for all kinds of pipes and tiles, but is most commonly found in plumbing pipes. This kind of plastic should not come in contact with food items as it can be harmful if ingested.

Temperature: 160 °C

  • 4.LDPE - Low-Density Polyethylene is sometimes recycled. It is a very healthy plastic that tends to be both durable and flexible. Items such as cling-film, sandwich bags, squeezable bottles, and plastic grocery bags are made from LDPE.

Temperature: 120 to 180 °C

  • 5. PP - Polypropylene is occasionally recycled. PP is strong and can usually withstand higher temperatures. It is used to make lunch boxes, margarine containers, yogurt pots, syrup bottles, prescription bottles. Plastic bottle caps are often made from PP.

Temperature: 160 °C

  • 6. PS - Polystyrene is commonly recycled, but is difficult to do. Items such as disposable coffee cups, plastic food boxes, plastic cutlery and packing foam are made from PS.

Temperature: 95 °C

  • 7. Other - A total group of all left over plastics

“’How to get raw plastic material”’

Separating bottle caps obtained from KNFG plastic collection campaign

‘’’Plastic shredder:’’’

‘’’Shredded plastic’’’

Consult the User's Guide for information on using the wiki software.

Getting started