In the DIY community there are tons of projects brewing that make life easier. One such project comes from a maker named Phil, who created his own Cargo Bike Build out of an old mountain bike frame and lots of steel, without any of the correct tools but with tons of enthusiasm.
The finished product above looks pretty cool and pretty sturdy. While this project isn’t especially easy, it seems like anyone with a lot of time and patience could get a decent result.
It all started with one man, his kitchen, an old 1990s Scott mountain bike frame, and tons of steel pipes and framing, which were all hand cut using a hack saw.
As you can see, he didn’t have all the correct tools. He had to cut through the steel with a hand saw. For more complicated cuts requiring angles, curves, and holes, he simply used a Dremel to roughly cut through the steel, and cleaned it up with a file. It worked, but took tons of time. More than he probably cares to disclose.
On the subject of how difficult the task of building this bike was, Phil said:
Toughest part was not actually building the frame but getting the steering rod and kickstand right. I had to make both twice because the first versions weren’t sturdy enough and figuring out the steering geometry is a little tricky and involves a lot of trial & error. There was also a lot of planning work involved beforehand, like figuring out the angles and measurements of the frame and where to get all the materials.
This is an impressive example of how simple tools can take you a long way if you have the patience! As for improvements that could be made on the design, there are probably a few. Even Phil mentions that he’d probably approach some aspects in a different way.
I’d probably use a square-shaped tube for the main downtube and do a few small adjustment in the frame geometry (e.g. a slightly shorter top tube). But most of all I would try to get my hands on a better welder and practice some more since the quality of the welds is definitely the main gripe with this project. Despite that everything has been holding up fine so far. Apart from that I wouldn’t change much, I’m very satisfied with the result and the bike has proven very useful already and is a lot of fun to ride.