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kinetic bike
art sculpture

Project Info

A couple of close friends asked me to make them an art piece for their office, and it needed to be inspired by their passion of bicycling. Using an old bike they provided along with some other bicycle parts I salvaged along the way, this video shows how I put this sculpture together using the salvaged parts along with a small DC motor in order to make it move. This was a long project and required a very detailed, precise eye in order to make everything move smoothly.

Project Notes

Precision was important on this one. You can't get away with drilling holes and getting it "kinda" close to accurate. Holes and alignment really need to be accurate in order for everything to turn smoothly. I ended up remaking both moving mechanisms three times each because I wasn't totally happy with the movement. It took longer, and it was frustrating, but ultimately the end result is far better than the first go-around so the extra effort was worth it. And my friends are very happy and proud to have it in their home, which is really the reason why you make such a thing in the first place. 

It was difficult to find bike parts for this – you may need to buy a bike off of a marketplace or garage sale in order to get parts to use. Junkyards may also be another outlet for sourcing.

There are a LOT of options for motors to use on a project like this. I ended up using the motor listed below because of the threaded rod/shaft attached to the motor. That allowed me to fasten other parts to it much easier than trying to come up with my own way of transferring power from the motor to the gears. This threaded rod was 4M4 so the additional washers and bolts were all M4 in order to match up to the motor rod. Is it a rod? Shaft? Not sure. You know what I mean.

And the walnut hardwood frame was pretty simple to put together, but just remember that hardwood will expand and contract and will ultimately separate at the miters unless you reinforce the joint. The Spline Jig you see in the video is very basic – just 3/4" plywood glued and screwed together with some brace pieces placed at 90 degrees at the front. Leave some room for your frame to drop in and saw away. I thought about using a different hardwood for the splines (like maple) to add some visual contrast but ultimately decided that I wanted the focus on the bicycle parts instead, so I just used the same walnut wood as the frame.

Let's discuss a kinetic art piece for you! Contact info is below.

// Links //

DC Motor

Project Box


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