Africa , Blog , Fabrication , MFA2012 , Nigeria
I’m a motorcycle guy, so anytime you put a motor on a chassis with something less than four wheels, then I’m interested. The creation below is by a young man called “STA”, who’s got a lot of swagger and a double teardrop tattoo under his right eye. In many ways STA is a one-of-a-kind character, unlike anyone else I ran into in Lagos.
Let’s put it this way, anyone who rides such an eye-catching bike without a license plate, and who has no worries of the cops hassling him because of it, is certainly cut from a different cloth. When stopped, STA simply points to the Nigerian flag flying on the front and explains that it’s all the license he needs. (I kid you not)
STA spent about 4 years in Holland where he was inspired by custom motorcycles and trikes (tricycles). When he came back to Nigeria he decided he could build his own here. STA International’s first bike is the long-forked trike.
Due to using his own funds, it’s a little underpowered with only a 250cc engine and a 10 liter tank. STA scrounged around and found the different parts, and put it all together himself. All total, he spent 300,000 Naira ($1,600) on it.
The bike has some very comfortable seating, a nice big sound system, 4 big silencers in the rear and drink holders for both driver and passengers. He can carry two passengers in the back, and there’s room under the seats for a little storage.
The bike is kickstarted, which I wasn’t expecting at first as I’m used to bikes this big having an electrical starter. Makes sense though, as this is a small engine bought off of a used engine reseller. The trike also has a reverse gear, which comes in handy when the bike is as long as this one is, for maneuvering out of difficult spaces.
STA and I hung out a bit over the last few days. He’s got a real passion for modding bikes, and his next big plans include an even bigger trike, though he hasn’t fully fleshed out the design yet. I showed him some of the cool, retro, modded designs on Bike Exif and we talked a while about what a custom bike for African cities might actually look like.
There are some pretty serious power issues in Lagos. Power outages happen multiple times per day all over the city, so everyone has a backup generator if they can afford one. What do you do if you can’t afford a generator, and/or can’t afford even a second of lost power (for your desktop computer, etc)?
Salami Olupeni Samuel (Sam) created Sam Powersystems, a company that uses locally sourced components to create power inverters which connect to car batteries for automatic backup power. Sam fabricates a 1.5kva power inverter from materials bought from local suppliers and markets.
The people who buy Sam’s equipment generally don’t have a generator, or if they do they use this so that they don’t have to power it up quite as much during short outages. You won’t need a UPS as the battery serves this purpose, providing automatic failover with an internal switch in the power inverter if your power fails. Primary uses of the system include, computers, lights, fans, TV and decoder.
If you want to buy one, the power inverter costs 40k Naira ($250), and the battery is 50k Naira ($300).
Odo Gerald is a quiet 15 year old boy who loves to make things. At Maker Faire Africa this year, you’ll find his table surrounded by all the other little boys whenever he flips the battery on. That’s because he’s got the coolest toys around by far, all manner of heavy equipment machines that operate by batter and hydraulics.
Toys made: dump truck, back hoe, excavator and a helicopter.
Odo has 4 toys he’s made over the last 4 months. They’re made of painted plywood, syringes, wooden pieces, wire, water and small tubes along with a motorcycle battery to run it all. His next big project is to make a small helicopter that he can get off the ground.
There are a number of kids at this year’s Maker Faire Africa, and it’s a real treat to see what they’re coming up with. More on some of the other projects later.
What happens when two 25 year old guys have enough knowledge to hack tuktuk’s and motorcycles, and enough time to to do it?
Ibrahim Adekunle and Shola Omoniyi are the brains behind what they call the “Tricycle Limo” and “Tricycle Jeep”.
The Tricycle Limo can hold up to 12 people, plus driver, the Tricycle Jeep can hold 5 people, plus driver. Both vehicles cost between 100-200k Naira ($600-1200) to rent for the day, and are often on call for weddings, carnivals and other events.
The Tricycle Limo takes about 1.5m Naira ($9,500) to make, and about 2 weeks to put together once they have the money. This is their first one to make, and they didn’t have enough money to do it all at once, so it took them 3 weeks to create. It’s a super-long vehicle, so I asked how they strengthen the chassis, and they do that with a very strong pipe.
The Tricycle Jeep is actually a stranger mod, using a tuktuk chassis and a 2 cylinder engine from a vehicle. The front grill can hold 100 kilos of weight, which they use for carrying bags of rice, jerry cans of water, or for mounting speakers on at events.
Finally, the motorcycle is made from a bunch of other motorcycle parts that Ibrahim found. It’s just his own personal bike, just for fun, with a 250cc engine and shade on the top for those hot days in the Lagos sun. I got to take this one for a little spin myself, and though nothing operates quite like you’d expect on a motorcycle, it was a lot of fun.
(Note: the internet connection is weak, so I’m having to upload smaller images)
Our Own Innovation Culture : How Africa is Driving a New Era of Invention
What is the role of “invention” in an ‘innovation culture’? What are the unique catalytsts that promote it, both on a macro and micro level, in African societies? As the new global model for manufacturing becomes personal, democratized and distributed, it forms tighter bonds with the systems that are already a basis of strength for much of Africa. Nigeria, in particular, has many informal systems that can naturally self-assemble into new models for innovation, both for Africa and around the world.
Maker Faire Africa’s Emeka Okafor (Timbuktu Chronicles, TEDGlobal 2009), along with Pauline Mujawamariya (African Innovation Foundation) and Moji Rhodes (Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Governor of Lagos and Coordinator, INNOVATE LAGOS Project) lead this rapid-fire overview & lively discussion, open to all workshop participants. Joined by inventors, entrepreneurs, designers and engineers from Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, and Kenya, and the U.S., the discussion will explore a variety of new tools & platforms that are being used around the world to bring inventions to market; faster, cheaper and easier than ever before, and we’ll work together to explore how these can be specifically adapted to the needs of Nigeria’s inventors. Crowd-sourced funding, indigenous materials creation, empowering women inventors, personal manufacturing platforms & technologies, and the need to brand invention inside Africa, will be primary topics of discussion.
This opening talk will be jam-packed with useful information & ideas for all types of inventors, from grassroots to Ph.D.’s, and addresses topics of interest for a variety of industries in Nigeria, including architecture, agriculture, health, sanitation, social design, engineering, fashion, film and more.
The workshop is open to MFA ’12 Exhibiting Makers, with limited seats available to the public. Register HERE.
NOVEMBER 7th, 2012
9:00am – 10:30am
CcHub (CoCreation Hub Nigeria)
6th Floor, 294 Herbet Macaulay Way
Sabo, Yaba, Lagos
+234 (01) 2950555
Find a Maker, Make a Film. You could win a GoPro Hero3 Professional HD Video Camera with bicycle mount, a copy of Adobe Premiere Elements 11 and a 1-Year Vimeo Pro Account, for an extreme jumpstart to your film career. They could win 100,000 Naira to push their invention forward. Details & Registration information below. Like us on our “Made in Nigeria” Facebook page to share your ideas, inspiration, questions & comments… and ultimately, your film!
Sponsored by Innovate Lagos, a Lagos State Government Project.
Film shorts are an essential storytelling tool for building community and support around inventors and the things they make. Film shorts have helped independent tradesmen gain support from their local neighbors by instilling pride within their community about a legacy of making. When they go viral, they can propel a small business in one country into the public eye of another, expanding its global reach and building bridges between cultures. So, it’s no surprise that the film short is the single most critical element for a successful Kickstarter campaign in the U.S., raising seed funds in excess of $310 million for inventors, artists & entrepreneurs, in just three years time. Could film shorts have helped launch the Maker Movement around the world? Absolutely. When we experience the process of making, it enhances our appreciation of the item that has been made; when we identify its origins, we better understand its use. It is this understanding that drives community around a maker and the object which she/he has made, forging our collective desire for them to continue; to make more for us. Without the need to verbalize our agreement out loud, we somehow decide, together, “yes, we need this” in our world.
Africa needs more of this kind of storytelling. Its makers need to tell these stores to their country; its countries need to tell these stories to one another, and to other countries in the world. It needs a socially connected creative community rallying around its inventors and makers as we’ve seen elsewhere in the world where making is a critical force for economic stability. Storytelling needs storytellers and there are many to be found across the continent, but with Lagos, the heart of Nollywood, being our host for MFA 2012, we think it’s the perfect time & place to take this project on a test run. So Nigerian filmmakers, we’re putting this challenge to you. Show us the inventors, the makers, the artisans of your country. Who’s making, where are they making, what are they making and why?
Tell us a story about the things being made (or the things that could be), and why it’s so important that they’re Made in Nigeria.
Deadline for entries is 30th November, Midnight. Email us to Register for the Film Challenge and get a copy of the guidelines and film tips.