Picture of Bike hardware spirograph - bike-o-graph!
Have you ever messed around with a spirograph set, and wished it was way bigger? Yeah, me too. With a few discarded bike parts and scrap pegboard, it can be.
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Step 1: Materials and Methods

Picture of Materials and Methods
chain and ring.jpg
For this project you'll need the following:

Bike chain - should be reasonably straight, but pretty much any crappy, rusty, bent chain will work. You can combine various chains to make one of any size desired. I suggest cleaning off the grease first.

Chainring - any bike gear will work, but chainrings are bigger and have convenient bolt holes to put your pen in. If you use a cog from the rear gears of a bike, you'll need to affix some cardboard or something to make pen holes.

Pegboard - 1/4 inch pegboard with 1inch hole spacing seems to work perfectly. A bike chain is about 1/4inch thick, so this size works well. You can also use plywood, plexi, or probably even cardboard. Those things don't have conveniently pre-drilled holes, however.

Wire - thin, flexible steel wire works well. Nothing too thick and avoid insulation. You'll probably need at least 5 feet. You could use some sort of glue to put the chain on as an alternative. Hot glue would probably work real nice.

Jigsaw and drill to start the cut.
thatticus2 years ago
I love creative ideas like this, and this one definitely caught my attention. I will definitely be making one of these.
shawnmoore13 years ago
Try grabbing some of the more modern asymmetrical chainrings like from Rotor which feature many more than the standard 5 chainbolt holes to accomodate different chainring positions.
rickpaulos3 years ago
I tried one of these out this weekend. I have a suggestion. Small nylon furniture pads afixed to the underside of the sprocket(s). Solves several problems. One, you elevate the sprocket slightly to match the centerline of the chain. As it is, the sprocket sits lower and want's to keep falling out of the chain. You really have to concetrate on keeping the teeth engaged which makes it hard for kids to do. Two. the nylon pads could greatly reduce the friction. Three: it's cleaner. Keep the full face of the sprocket from draging on the paper and messing up the image.
hunrichs (author)  rickpaulos3 years ago
Great idea. I like it a lot. Can you post any pictures?
Well, it's an idea, not an actual implementation. So no pictures. Time for a road trip to the hardware store.
thepelton5 years ago
What I was thinking is that it would be neat to attach your central sprocket to a plunge router so that you could cut the rosette out of a piece of wood.

lol that was my first thought when I saw this. "Holy crap! I bet I can scale that up to fit my router!" I dont know if you could do it with a chain ring though or a bike chain. The difference in thickness would be a problem. In InkScape you can generate gears that you could print and cut with a jigsaw. That would cover the whirly part but im not sure how to make the track it rides around in. A router that can use bushings may be a good idea or some bearings that will fit on a 1/4 shaft so that your bit isnt interacting with the gear at all.

On second thought, I think that has a pantograph for plunge routers. That would be the easiest, then you could use a small spirograph and scale it up to the size you want.

hunrichs (author)  Corvidae5 years ago
yes.  that's actually more what I wanted to do.  Hell you could use a jigsaw to make both the inner and outer rings, though it would be a bit labor intensive.

A problem with the bike-part project is that the chain is a bit flexible (unless you affix to pegboard @ every link) and so there is a bit of distortion in parts of the resulting graph.
hunrichs (author)  thepelton5 years ago
absolutely.  I very much would like to give that a shot.
probiblky get some neat designs with ovalized "bio-pace" chain rings
hammer98765 years ago
Petty outrageous! I love it. I had the deluxe version of the Spirograph back in my childhood, but this beats that little plastic version.
cave12man5 years ago
This is one of the most randomly cool ideas i've ever seen.  Nice work.
bethmwl5 years ago
That is one of the coolest things I ever saw.
Doldrum6 years ago
way cool!! takes me back to the old days!! :P
kenbob6 years ago
This is brilliant. Simple and elegant. I love it.
Wyle_E6 years ago
Cut an insert from scrap pegboard to fit snugly inside the chainring and you have pen holes on various radii. Pen holders made from soft wood or structural foam would let you use multiple pens.
rlmarket6 years ago
Maybe a second chain around the outside edge of the pegboard circle would also make a nice design?
Awesome, great job
CameronSS6 years ago
Ha ha! Cool!
Patrik6 years ago
Hehe - clever! Love it...
Cerafem6 years ago
makes me wish that i had some spare bike parts lying around. good instructable.
Mr. Rig It6 years ago
This is one of those ideas that just hits you isn't it? Like an epiphany. Good use of hardware and a truly unique idea.