Introduction: Phone & Water Bottle Holder for Bicycle (Silly Solutions)

When I first saw the TinkerCad design challenge I remembered simply that whenever I go outside to ride my bike, I have to bring my cellphone with me. Although this means instant communication if I need it, keeping my phone in my pocket is uncomfortable, never mind while pedaling down the street. In addition, I like to bring my water bottle with me on my rides, just in case. So you can imagine the inconvenience of having to ride my bicycle with my phone "burning a hole" in one pocket and my smallest water bottle hanging precariously out of the other! Something evidently had to be done, and hence the idea was born to design a contraption to securely hold both my phone and water bottle for bike rides; then I could submit it to this TinkerCad design challenge and bring it to life with my 3D printer. So I quickly got to work.


I knew that I would definitely need:

- my phone (in its case) and my largest water bottle for measurements

- my bicycle for measurements

- a ruler and protractor

- TinkerCad software

- a 3D printer and filament (for testing-printing and for the final print-out)

- and some time...

Step 1: How Is This Supposed to Connect to My Bike?!?!

The first step was to figure out exactly where the dual-purpose holder would fit onto my bicycle so that it would be secure and out of the way. Like a lot of water bottle holders out there, I decided my design would fit nicely in the triangular space beneath the bicycle's top horizontal bar, (connecting the seat to the front assembly). In order for the holder to be secure, it needed to have at least two connection points with the bicycle's main frame. Once that was decided, I went into TinkerCad and made-up two clamps with a "snapping" design that I had used successfully in a previous project. After measuring the approximate angle difference between the bars that the two clamps would attach to with a protractor, I angled the clamp prototypes in TinkerCad. Lastly, but definitely not least, I had to make sure that the clamps actually worked (were the right diameter and snapped properly [so that they would be fairly easy to install without compromising how secure they were]). This test was the last image (the test pieces are shorter so as to not waste filament), which I printed-out; they fit perfectly.

Step 2: The Main Chassis/Water Bottle Compartment

Once the clamps were sorted-out, I needed to design the holder for the water bottle, which I made-up using the dimensions of my largest bottle in order to maximize the project's usability with my other bottles. The rectangular cut-out near the top lip accounts for a button that sticks out of this water bottle, and the "slashes" in the design adds to the visual appeal as well as decreases the amount of overall filament needed. I printed-out a segment of a hollow cylinder the same size as the water bottle holder prototype, as well as the base of the cylinder, to test for diameter and height; both aspects were on-point. Next I positioned the holder correctly between the clamps (at this point not full clamps, but test clamps). The last two images are of a split-up holder ("split-up" so that there was a better chance of it printing correctly without too many overhangs) with "test clamps", thinner walls, and a cut-out side from the main holder, all to minimize the filament used for this test. The printed-out pieces, when held next to each other around the bike and water bottle, seemed to work well, as demonstrated in the last image.

Step 3: Now the for the Phone...

After I determined that the clamps and water bottle holder were set, it was time to think about the cellphone compartment. It would simply be a box with one side missing so that the phone could be slid-in, and then a cover of some sort. So I measured my phone (in its protective case) and created an initial box; I also rounded-off the edges and corners by slightly increasing the original rectangle's radius ("original" meaning before the hole was cut-out). To test for size I printed out a segment of the box, shown in the third image. For the covering I was thinking I could take advantage of flexible PLA filament and design a strip that could wrap around the missing side. I added two "knobs" that the flexible cover could snap on to, and a triangle-design (green shapes on sides of orange phone holder) for visual appeal, to the phone compartment. For a final addition, I cut two sets of small diagonal strips into each side of the phone holder, as well, so that audio can more easily be heard while a phone is in it (regardless of orientation or model).

Step 4: Final Assembly

Lastly, I added the phone compartment to the back of the water bottle holder and included a piece that would better mesh/connect the two objects. Then all I had to do was change the clamps back to how I originally intended, all filled-in for, so that they can be better secured. I also decided to not keep the triangle-design on the phone-compartment section of the design just so that things weren't complicated when printing (seen in second photo); ideally it would be kept.

With the model at last completed, it was time to print-out the design and see if it functioned how it was meant to!

Step 5: The "Final Test"

Once printed, I removed all of the support material from the final model, and was able to clip it to my bike. The support for the small slashes in the sides of the phone compartment (for better audio) proved hard to remove, and so the some of the surrounding print broke-away; however, this is not a big deal and doesn't affect functionality at all. Further tests showed that both my phone and water bottle fit comfortably in their respective compartments. The printed cover strip (using flexible filament) seemed to work well but, as seen in the video and image above, was very shaggy due to an infill percentage less than 100% (basically the printer was trying to leave space inside the strip, but in doing so it did not come out ideally). Nevertheless, I printed a new strip which was much better, shown in the second video.

Overall, the printed model was a success and I was even able to take my bicycle for a spin afterwards, where it performed perfectly!

Tinkercad Student Design Contest

Participated in the
Tinkercad Student Design Contest