("The Vector" seemed too generic, and "The Polygon" was too geeky.)
The Facet V1 is made almost entirely out of Coroplast, the same corrugated plastic that many election signs are made from. The plastic shell is wrapped around a Catrike Expedition recumbent trike. This is a well-known build method, with dozens of examples all over the net. I'd suspect that people have been building coroplast shells over their trikes ever since both objects existed in the same Venn diagram. So this is definitely not a new thing, but my Instructable is hopefully one of the most comprehensive you'll find anywhere.
I designed the shell of the Facet in Google Sketchup, based on a design I obtained from a fellow in Belgium several years ago. After taking careful measurements of my Expedition, I re-sized and tweaked the shell to fit. After that, I unfolded the design in Pepakura. I had full-size patterns printed on a plotter, then transferred those to large 4x8 foot sheets of Coroplast. Finally, everything was assembled around my beloved trike, using a glue technique I perfected for this specific purpose.
The result is stunning (IMNSHO). If you've got a recumbent trike, you should build a shell for it. If you don't have a trike, GET ONE, then build a shell for it! Be sure to click any images that interest you for the larger version - the quality is much better.
All of the CAD files you will need are contained in Step 4. And of course, don't forget to vote if you like this project!
Step 1: Why Jeff? WHY??
But beyond that, there are many reasons why you'd want to build and ride a velomobile. Here's my top 7:
- Weather Protection. I ride in all weather conditions, and was tired of getting wet and cold.
- Speed Boost: The aerodynamic shell of the velomobile means you can put less effort into going the same speed. Or, you can put in the same effort and go faster!
- Enhanced Visibility: Cyclists can be hard to spot out on the road. Recumbent trikes are even harder due to their height. But what driver can say they didn't see a 3 meter long red, black and white missile hurtling down the road at 45 km/h? Blind ones.
- Cycling is GREAT for the environment: A velomobile is better, because you're more likely to ride it when the weather is bad instead of taking a car.
- It's great for your health: Seriously, is there any better way to get exercise than riding a bike?
- Increase Awareness: A velomobile gets people talking. I've been interviewed twice by the press, while riding my trike. Can you imagine the reaction a velomobile gets?
- Exclusivity: How many people own a velomobile? Less than the number of people who own Ferraris. A velomobile is more exclusive than a freakin' FERRARI.
That said, I've had doubters. I don't pay attention to them very much. They can be quiet and get back in their cars for all I care.