Now that spring is upon us and thoughts of not so distant summer weather fill our imaginations, many of us will be looking to get into optimum shape after months of lethargy during the winter.

After pushing the envelope on the limits cardboard can be sculpted and re-purposed with the launch of the December 2014 cardboard elliptical machine, I wanted to try a new fitness machine challenge to further promote the idea of extreme cardboarding – doing things people never thought were possible with cardboard, yet still making the end result useful in everyday life.

After exploring a local fitness retailer, the next fitness machine re-invention challenge ran at me…or was I running on it? Either way, the treadmill became my next creative obsession.

Retail treadmills usually run at the low cheap end at about $500. I set my sights on making a ‘human powered’ organic treadmill using nothing but cardboard and construction glue! No nails, no mechanical parts and no expenditures surpassing $150.

With a single diagram scribbled with calculations and the best educated assumptions I could muster, and a dedicated four days of hard work, the one-shot design attempt was completed and the first test was executed in front of a recording camera. Either You Tube was going to see a functioning machine or an epic fail!

The final assembled design of the treadmill

The final assembled design of the treadmill (beside cardboard rocking chair)

Luckily for me the treadmill’s functionality worked as predicted and with that first push off of the right foot, the corrugated wrap tread moved in chorus with each stride. The layering of the heavy gauge cardboard sheets allowed the base of the treadmill to withstand not only my weight, but the jumping motion of running in one spot repeatedly. A continuous daily treadmill workout on cardboard is now possible!

Cardboard Tredmill Running

To add in a fun cheesy factor, a console design was conjured up and glued onto the section of the treadmill usually reserved for all the technological flashy features. The console image space itself is held up with curvy leg supports instead of boring straight legs found on most commercial models.

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I am proud of this design (especially since it worked upon the first test), but I will leave the ultimate judgement and feedback to all of you. I would like to know what my readers and fellow creatives think of the cardboard treadmill. I’m looking forward to the comments and thoughts to come. Extreme cardboarding is always a work-in-progress that can be improved and it’s only fun when shared with others! Cheers!