Multifunctional Crankset

Tutorial de avatarChemins de faire | Categories : Energy, Materials, Tools

Conversion of a Singer machine into a workshop machine

5 day(s)
300 EUR (€)
Other languages:
English • ‎français • ‎العربية
License : Attribution (CC BY)


We wanted a manufacturing workshop that could be deployed on any site: using the raw materials available on site to transform them into objects or building materials without depending on infrastructure or access to electricity. We want to design a self-sufficient workshop, limit our electricity consumption and revisit a neglected energy source: muscular energy. To achieve this, we have chosen to hack into the emblem of the pedal-powered machine: the Singer sewing machine, marketed in the United States in 1851, a technological flagship that was previously adopted by the majority of households.

We've produced a guide to help you convert a machine driven by a crank and connecting rod system into a machine with a unidirectional crankset that can be used to connect tools, household appliances and, more generally, anything that turns.

The machine presented here is a prototype that feeds into a global reflection on the use of muscular energy. We're looking to see what applications pedal-powered systems could have in everyday life. We are not working on machine efficiency comparable to that of industrial machinery, but on the rational use of energy.

This conversion is adapted to the needs of an itinerant workshop (mobile and small), it can work wood and metal and is sized to make small objects such as knives or restore old tools. For larger dimensions of the same type of machine, take a look at the instructions for the muscle-powered motor produced during the residency at Maison Forte.

If you too would like to start converting a Singer machine into a multifunction pedalboard, you can download the PDF instructions and the 3D file of the motor here.


Video overview

Step 1 - Help available online

  • Tutorial Chemins de faire

  • PDF manufacturing instructions and 3D file:

  • Installation videos

La machine musculaire - on the Chemins de faire YouTube channel