A duo on a YouTube channel built airless tires from scratch using little plastic rollers bought from a hardware store, and then even tested them out on a car.
Puncture-proof airless tires are the next big thing when it comes to tires, and major tire manufacturers have spent years designing, building, and testing them. We are yet to see them being deployed in routine use, however, on-field tests have also begun.
The duo at the YouTube channel Driven Media wasn't ready to wait for an official rollout and did a DIY version of the tires for themselves.
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Airless tires made in a garage
Tire manufacturing is a complex engineering task, so it is obvious that the duo did not actually end up making a new tire. Instead, they used what was available on hand, so what you see in the video above is the sum total of steel wheels from a Ford, freshwater pipes made of plastic, a tread from a regular tire, and lots of nuts and bolts to hold all of this in place.
Pieces of plastic pipe occupy the area between the old wheel and the outer tire tread to create an airless tire. A nifty piece of engineering in all this is the placement of smaller pipes alongside the bigger ones that the duo claims give anti-vibration properties to these tires.
The real challenge is testing the tires on an actual car in real-world conditions over a long period of time, but the duo opted for something less demanding by trialing it out on a racetrack at first. Since the tire borrows the outer tread and inner wheel from commercially available goods, it does manage to hold good during the trials, except for the few nuts and bolts that keep coming apart.
The puncture test
Mandatory for an airless tire is how it takes a bed of nails, and the duo also attempted this during their trial. The tires did come out rather unhurt from the test and went on to complete a host of other tests such as driving on grass, the bumpy rocky roads of the countryside, and even massive potholes.
All in all, the tires worked well during the test, and even as they carry the risk of falling apart over prolonged use, this is the best you can get on a modest budget and when building out of a garage.
If you are really keen on the well-made airless tires, you need to wait just a little bit more, since Michelin will roll them out with Chevrolet's next-generation EVs.
If you can't wait, you now know how to put them together in a garage.