A pedal powered blender for making smoothies at festivals and events had always seemed like a great idea. It brings in a number of concepts: firstly there is the ‘we don’t need electricity for everything’ idea, secondly it helps to demonstrate the concept of power in an interesting way, thirdly it helps to promote cycling and things pedal related and lastly it helps to get people to eat more fresh fruit.

There are a number of pedal powered blender designs available:
1 An amazing book for human powered devices, which includes a pedal powered blender plan, is 'The Human Powered Home' by Tamara Dean and published by NSP.
2 A nice Instructables plan is available here, but probably loads more on instrucables....
3 A nice, commercial pedal powered blender is available from Fender Blenders, based in the US.

RE-Innovation decided to build their own. This design uses a flexible power drive to separate the blender from the bike to remove vibrations. The flexible drive can also be used for other applications, like pedal powered drilling.

Here are construction details for building our pedal powered blender:

DISCLAIMER: These instructions are given as a guide for the competent pedal power enthusiast. The authors do not take any responsibility for any injury or damaged tools which may occur. Please stay safe when using power. Consult a qualified person if you are unsure at any stage. You are responsible for your own safety.

Step 1: Parts Required

You will need for the stand and flexible drive:
  • Bike ‘Turbo’ Trainer – We used a stand manufactured by ‘Beto’. Search eBay for ‘Turbo Trainer’ and you can pick them up used from around £30 (if lucky) and new from around £50.
  • Flexible drill drive – from Screwfix (code: 31843) for £14.95. - http://www.screwfix.com/prods/31843/Drill-Bits/Drill-Accessories/Flexible-Drive-Shaft-915mm. Or use the slightly longer version (1300mm) from Wolfcraft (shown here).
  • 40mm Jubilee clips x 2 – decent quality ones
  • 10-12mm metal tubing – approx 1-2mm thick
  • 5mm metal tubing – approx 1mm thick
  • Heat shrink tubing x numerous pieces
  • Angle brackets x 2 – 50mm by 100mm, sometimes called a frame tie. Such as Screwfix code (24936): http://www.screwfix.com/prods/24936/Building/Builders-Metalwork/Frame-Ties-50-x-150mm-Pack-of-10
  • Metal mesh – finger-proof sized
  • Various nuts and blots – whatever you have available, mainly 6mm diameter
For the main machine and table clamp:
  • An old blender or smoothie maker – we were lucky to find a unit with a damaged motor for free. If possible find a unit which has a broken motor. Check car boot sales, freecycle, ask friends etc.
  • An ‘Optics’ type clamp – This is the screw clamp which holds ‘Optics’ drinks dispensers to a shelf. These are usually available at car boot sales. Otherwise a woodworking G-clamp could be used.
  • Approx 50mm x 50mm angle aluminum – a piece around 20cm long, around 2mm thickness.
Hi <br> <br>Thanks so much for this great version of a pedal-powered smoothie-maker. I used the same Beto trainer but to minimise the fiddliness and simplify things I had a local automotive engineer thread the axle clockwise (after cutting off the flat face) to 3/8&quot;, which is just a little less than the original diameter of the axle. I then screwed on a chuck to which you can attach the flexible drive. I used a different approach to the blender attachment which involved an IKEA FROSTA stool, Kenwood blender jug with appropriate spigot to attach the jug base. A flat wood bit (with point removed) fits into the blender drive and the other end into the chuck, although a bit of jiggery pokery was required to support the bit from falling out. In all, I think simpler and quicker to set up. <br> <br>Good job - keep those designs coming. :-)
Thanks very much for your kind comments. I'm glad this was of use to you. I'd love to see any alterations which make this even easier to build. I like the stool idea to hold the blender. Please post any photos of your designs if you have them. <br>Hope the smoothie maker is helping promote cycling and fruit based drinks.... <br>Cheers, Matt
Firstly, thanks for the great instructions! <br /> <br />I built a couple of these over the last few months and we had a Beaver scout powered smoothie stall at our local fete on Saturday where we sold 250 smoothies for a local charity :-) <br /> <br />I didn't end up following the design exactly, but I did use the exact model of turbo trainer and flexible drive shaft. The metal tube I ended up with fitted almost exactly over the turbo trainer (with a little bit of filing down) which gave a really robust connection. I didn't add any of the metal work to hold the drive shaft in place as I found that it seemed to work quite well without it so long as the blender was well positioned. The blenders were held by cheap 'workmate' style workbenches which gave a good solid base - one of the blenders I ended up clamping straight onto the motor metalwork which gave a very solid hold. <br />The only other modification was that I cut one of the turbo trainers down in size so that it would fit a childs bike. That worked well, though when reducing the length of the 'V' that hold the bike you also reduce the width of it so care has to be taken not to make it too small. <br />The result is an adult bike for one blender, with a tag-a-long for kids to use. A 7 year old can easily blend 6 cups of smoothie in a minute!
Thanks very much for the comment. Chopping down the turbo trainer for smaller bikes is a great idea - I'll try that out as I'm always needing to use smaller bikes.<br />I'm glad this instrucatble has been useful - it was always meant to be a rough guide of ideas as the parts available to people is always a bit different.<br />I think the 'cups of smoothie per minute' should be be the new unit of human power....<br />Matt<br />
Nicely done with easy to get bits, and nicely written up.
it would be cheaper to run a chain to a jackshaft to a procket on blender
It would be more complex as the blender shaft needs to be vertical but the chain drive needs to be horizontal. You'd need some kind of bevel gearing ?

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