Create a Custom Banana Cage for Cycling with SOLIDWORKS & 3D Printing

by Benjamin Modic

Banana CageIf I’m not working, I’m cycling (year-round), and everyone knows bananas are the best snack for biking. I wanted to blend my know-how of SOLIDWORKS, cycling, and eating bananas.

My goal was to carry two bananas in a space otherwise unused on my bike to reduce what I need to carry in my jersey’s back pockets, and also to reduce the chances of mushing my precious fuel.

Photo Credit:  Rides: Banana bike therapy

The Idea

I did a search on Thingiverse and was inspired by this design by Franc Falco.  Adding banana storage to the bottle cage, a great tool in itself, was a good idea. The bottle cage’s main purpose is to hold and prevent a water bottle from bouncing out by wrapping and compressing the bottle and securing it with tabs that prevent movement up or down.

Bananas can be viewed as similar to a water bottle: long and cylindrical. The idea is simple: the execution, not as much. I started designing around what was known and what was available to me and could be easily measured.

Getting Started

Measuring the diameter of the water bottle and the length between the bottom and indent gave me my general parameters. An extruded boss feature created the bottle shape that became the platform for the rest of my model. A split line made from a sketch of the general shape of the cage allowed me to thicken a surface for the bones of the cage.

This thicken feature should not be merged with the previous body of the bottle. Multibody modeling methods must be utilized.

Using additional split lines, I made the tabs and mounting hole locations (a quick google search revealed that common spacing between bolts is roughly 2.5 inches).

Banana CageWith some polishing, it looked somewhat respectable.

Next came the unknown. Where to start? What is the average banana size, diameter, length, curvature?

Sometimes you need to go all in—completely blind. Creating another body using the sweep feature allowed me to create a banana cage in a manner similar to the bottle cage. Similar split lines were used to make the wrap around the shape and the tab to hold the banana. Gravity and friction would do fine at keeping it from bouncing out the top.

There is no need to design the same thing twice: The banana cage was created using the same multibody modeling practices as used previously. This allows me to mirror the banana cage body about the center plane.

Now I am close to my final product.

I finished the model with fillets and verifying uniform thickness through key areas. I used the Stratasys Fortus 400 to complete the prototype, and then it was on to testing my design.  So far, so good!

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