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Moving Cardboard Cyclist: A Cyclist made of Cardboard that Moves (?)

by Sejo Vega-Cebrián

Final project for Mechanism: If it Moves It Breaks

With Stephan von Muehlen and Ben Cohen.


This project was developed with the idea of creating a shareable and replicable mechanism using low cost and low impact materials. Specifically, I wanted to work with cardboard, taking to the limit a material that is humble, overlooked, and immensely available. Due to the nature of the project, I decided to also with a standard rod: toothpicks.

Some posts about the creation process can be seen here.

This project was made using Inkscape in a computer running GNU/Linux.


Preview of the cutting template. Dimensions: 9″ x 6″ (~23×15 cm)

You can download the cutting template from the following link: MovingCardboardCyclist.zip.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Glue together the three pieces of the rear wheel.

Use a toothpick as a guide, make sure it can move in the hole

Glue together the pieces for the crank and pulley

As they have “fixed holes”, they will be fixed to the toothpick axis.

Piece together the arms and handlebars, using two toothpicks

You can slide the pieces to the desired place, keeping in mind that they have fixed holes to keep the structure in place. Assemble the fork in the same way, adding some glue in the frame to keep it in place

Piece together the legs. One of them should go thigh-leg-circle and the other circle-leg-thigh

The thigh has a bushing hole, so it will be able to rotate freely when sandwiched between the leg and the circle. The circle should go close to the frame

For the hip, put three circles at each side of the character in the toothpick

This will allow the legs to stay relatively in place

For the other side of the crank, attach a circle and the crank

You can use some glue to keep them in place

To attach the rear wheel, use a circle in each end of the axis


You can use some cutting pliers to cut the excess toothpick


Join the pulleys with some yarn (work in progress)