36 cardboard iMac boxes, packing tape and ingenuity created a viral photo viewed millions of times
Update 8/4/15: The Internet asked for it so we made it! Here it is, video of the iWheel in motion.
For more than a year, George Fox University systems administrator Mike Campadore had an idea and 34 iMac boxes stored in the back of an engineering classroom. When the dean of the engineering school asked why he didn’t recycle them and clear up the space, he merely said he was saving them for a project.
When more computers arrived in July for a new computer lab, Campadore finally had the boxes he needed to make his “iWheel.” He had estimated it would take 38 boxes to create the perfect wheel, but when he taped together the two sides, he discovered the number was 36.
On his first attempt, he left the Styrofoam inside the boxes, but it made the wheel too heavy. Even without the extra weight, he estimates the finished product weighs 120 pounds and is nearly nine feet tall.
Finally, on Friday, July 31, Campadore asked IT coworker Rich Bass to help him complete the wheel. The two then rolled it out onto the campus quad and made a call to the university marketing department, which sent a photographer. The initial Facebook post was successful, but when a former student shared it on Reddit, the iWheel went viral. Within a matter of hours the photo had been viewed 3.4 million times on Imgur, was trending on Tumblr, was posted on Twitter by Chris Espinosa (well-known as Apple’s longest tenured employee) and retweeted more than 8,000 times …
iMac box is a trapezoid with the front 10° out of parallel with the back. Which means that if you have 36 of them... pic.twitter.com/0IX8sZoXSO— Chris Espinosa (@cdespinosa) August 1, 2015
… and was even shared on Pee-wee Herman’s Facebook page, of all places:
By the end of the weekend, a reverse image search on Google yielded more than 1,300 results. Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 comments were made on Reddit, ranging from praise for Campadore’s creativity to the endless Apple-PC argument to critiques of their apparel. Campadore found it amusing that some of the commenters wanted him fired for putting three of the boxes backwards.
The image also became Photoshop fodder for many, who inserted the iWheel into eclectic locations and situations (see more at end of post):
Campadore and Bass, who posed in the wheel for the photo, became minor celebrities. By Sunday, Bass was spotted by a stranger in a Home Depot and asked if he was the guy in the iWheel.
Campadore – who used four hours of vacation time to build his creation – dreams he can customize his iWheel to include plastic pipe rails that would allow him to put a revolving chair in the inside of the contraption. And, if he could pull it off, he’d like to make it rocket propelled – an idea that’s sure to keep the Internet’s Photoshop hobbyists busy.
*** More from the Reddit PSBattle thread ***