Another great project from the Instructables Green Design Contest is this fantastic patio furniture that transforms into a bike charging station -- and it's made in part with recycled materials, too! Here is what it looks like when not in use:
For this project I refined some of the lessons I've learned building (or trying to build) bike generators in the past in an attempt to build one that was quiet, less obtrusive in our living space, and capable of being used by a bicycle without any modifications or additions to the bicycle.
The Table is flipped over onto its side when you need to use the generator and functions as a front wheel rest to stabilize and balance the bike. I built the pedal generator and the table cover from scrap wood and a treadmill that I found in the trash out on the street. For power storage and use I used a Deep Cycle Marine Battery and a 400 Watt Inverter I purchased from Harbor Freight. I also built a voltage regulator using some electrical components from scraps and I realize that painting it wasn't quite as green as leaving it au naturale, but I figured the paint would help prevent the wood from rotting and having to build another one.
While the generator stand is made from scrap materials I found I did buy the battery and the inverter, as well as some of the components for the Voltage Regulator I couldn't find in E-Waste. I connected the generator input voltage to a Deep Cycle Marine Battery and Inverter through a diode and Voltage Regulator that I made.
Here is the bike generator in action:
There is still time to submit your own projects in the Instructables Green Design Contest! Take part in the contest:
Think “green” and submit an eco-friendly Instructable that uses sustainable materials or is energy efficient by design... Come up with any project with these factors in mind, and you could win over $1,000 in prizes including a Voltaic Systems OffGrid Solar Backpack, ReadySet Renewable Energy Kit with Solar Panel and LED light, Nokero Solar Light Bulbs and a $500 REI gift certificate.