Made On Earth — Drill-Powered Future Trike

Craft & Design


In MAKE Volume 26, we featured a drill-powered go-kart you can build at home. As cool as that vehicle is, it looks positively retro compared to the EX, a futuristic drill-powered vehicle designed by promising young German designer Nils Ferber.

Ferber’s work explores outside-the-box thinking and the potential of design to “alter reality,” he writes. The EX (a play on eccentric, as in “deviation from what is ordinary or customary”) sure meets these criteria, with its sleek, Tron-worthy shape and its complete rethinking of a steering mechanism.

Working with fellow designer/builders Sebastian Auray, Ruben Faber, and Ludolf von Oldershausen, Ferber and team started out by prototyping designs in Lego blocks, wood scraps, and finally steel. The final trike is fashioned in stainless with many CNC and specially fabricated parts.

Through their design process, they developed a unique way of driving and steering the vehicle. The driver lies down on the EX, forward-facing. This creates “an exciting driving experience” and allows the driver to operate the strange “spine-shaped joint” steering.

To steer the EX, the driver has to employ body weight to flex the six axles of the basically groin-mounted spine-joint, a sort of short spinal column that’s used to flex and bend the vehicle in the desired direction of travel.

Propelled by two Bosch 18-volt cordless drill/drivers, the EX achieves speeds of 30 kilometers per hour (almost 19mph). And given the position of the driver and proximity to the ground, we can only image the thrill ride offered by this ingenious crotch-rocket. Let’s just hope that EX doesn’t take on any unintended additional meanings.

EX Riders:

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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