Introduction: Bike Rim Chandelier

Picture of Bike Rim Chandelier

If you own a bicycle repair shop and would like to diversify your portfolio of services then lighting may be an opportunity to do good business: this reused bike rim LED chandelier can be produced at low cost and quite quickly.

Material required:

 - An old bike wheel (absolute minimum: a rim and seven spokes)
 - A matching worn-out tire (new tires might smell)
 - An LED garland, either 230 V or battery powered (the LEDs should fit into the spoke openings)

The LEDs in the chandelier design highlight the regular pattern of the spokes in a wheel, resulting in a circle of lights. At least three spoke-openings are used to suspend the rim with a hanger from spokes. These openings are thus unavailable for an LED, as a result of which the circle of LEDs is interrupted at three locations.

The use of scrapped bicycle parts together with the low electricity consumption of the LED garland qualifies the lamp as green design. The power rating of the LEDs is 1.3 W, resulting in a maximum annual electricity consumption of 11.4 kWh (assuming that the lamp is switched on during all hours in a year). Based on electricity price ranges for household consumers in the European Union the corresponding maximum annual electricity costs vary between 1.10 and 3.50 euro (source: Eurostat). Likewise for the United States, based on the range in retail price of electricity to ultimate customers in the residential sector by state the corresponding maximum annual electricity costs vary between 0.90 and 4.20 US$ (source: U.S. EIA).

The chandelier gives enough light to read in the evening, but don't expect to light an entire room. At night the shadows of the three spokes result in a regular pattern on the ceiling.

The use of a battery instead of connecting the lamp to the mains makes it safer to operate the lamp. Also, avoid using a conventional light bulb garland, see step 1 on safety issues for more background.

The circular shape and the considerable amount of lights makes this lamp excellently suited for controlling the LEDs with an Arduino, which offers plenty of new possibilities. This however has not been documented in this instructable.

Previously, openproducts has released two other lamp instructables: the Giant Ceiling Light with Multiple Functionality a.k.a. the UFO (CC-BY, September 13th 2012) and the Double Function Rail for combined hanging of paintings and indirect lighting (CC-BY, January 7th 2013).

Step 1: Safety

Picture of Safety

The design in this instructable is based on a 230 V LED garland. As the rim is an excellent conductor and sharp edges from the spoke openings may damage the rope there is a risk of short-circuiting and electrocution. Be sure to provide proper earthing and strain relief, see step 3. Avoid building a switch in the rim when using 230 V.

For safety reasons it is better to use battery power instead of 230 V. An additional advantage is that the lamp can be hung everywhere (no power outlet or power point needed), and that it is safer to integrate a switch into the rim (the valve opening is excellently suited for this purpose).

The lamp is intended for indoor use only, mainly because of the electrical wiring. If you have a weather-proof LED rope then outside use can be considered, but this requires additional caution to be paid to wiring and draining.

It is strongly discouraged to use a garland of conventional lamps with an incandescent filament: the glass bulbs are too weak to bear the stress from the rim opening corners and they will break. This will result in failure of the light garland, short-circuiting and as a result there is a risk of electrocution.

The tire is functional as it covers the wiring of the LED garland and the electricity connection. Consider insulating the 230 V connector (not shown here).

The next step discusses the geometry and the design of the bike rim chandelier.

Step 2: Geometry and Design

Picture of Geometry and Design

The rim in this instructable has thirty-six spoke openings, three of which are used for suspending the chandelier with spokes. In order to reach sufficient length two spokes have been connected, resulting in a wider span. The three pairs of extended spokes have been joined in a center ring, which also holds the seventh spoke, shaped in a hook to suspend the chandelier from the ceiling. The thirty-three remaining rim openings are split into three series of eleven LEDs.

The next step discusses the electrical connection.

Step 3: Electrical Connection

Picture of Electrical Connection

The 230 V LED rope used in this instructable has been designed to be connected to a ceiling power point with an external wall switch. The internal connection is straightforward but special attention is required for earthing the rim and for the strain relief (see also step 1 on safety).

Earthing: to have a meaningful earthing it is important that the ceiling power point has a ground cable. The rim's opening for the inner tube valve is excellently suited for connecting the earth cable. Suggestion: use an inner-tube air valve for this purpose to simulate an inflated tire (not shown in this instructable).

Strain relief: the strain relief ensures that when a force is exerted on the cable (often unintentionally) the electrical connection remains intact. 

Both functions have been integrated in a single design, based on a perforated metal strip. To prevent the strip from cutting into the cable an additional flexible tube has been wrapped around the cable (this tube has been presented as well in an earlier openproducts instructable, the Easy Cable Clip).

The use of LEDs ensures that the energy consumption of the lamp is relatively low; using conventional lamps with an incandescent filament is discouraged for this reason, but even more for safety reasons, see step 1.

In case your LED garland has a control unit this box can be hidden inside the tire or on top of it, where it is relatively invisible.

The next step discusses design features of the LED lamp.

Step 4: Design Features

Picture of Design Features

The use of scrapped bicycle parts together with the low electricity consumption of the LED garland qualifies the lamp as green design. The chandelier design is such that the bicycle wheel can be recognized at the first glance, thus stressing the reuse or green aspect. The tire is functional as it covers the wiring of the LED garland and the electricity connection.

The LEDs in the chandelier design highlight the regular pattern of the spokes in a wheel, resulting in a circle of lights. At least three spoke-openings are used to suspend the rim with a hanger from spokes. These openings are thus unavailable for an LED, as a result of which the circle of LEDs is interrupted at three locations. At night the shadows of the three spokes result in a regular pattern on the ceiling.

The circular shape and the considerable amount of lights makes this lamp excellently suited for controlling the LEDs with an Arduino, which offers plenty of new possibilities. This however has not been documented in this instructable.

The next step elaborates on the license type chosen for this instructable and some words are spent on a possible business model.

Step 5: License and Business Model

Picture of License and Business Model

This instructable is made available through a Creative Commons Attribution (cc-by) license. Special design features of the concept have been described in Step 4.

Republishing this instructable is allowed, provided it is being attributed properly (cite the name openproducts, link to www.openproducts.org, www.instructables.com/member/openproducts, or the original Instructable. For other arrangements send a Private Message through the instructables member page (www.instructables.com/member/openproducts).

If a bike rim chandelier is made for own use, mentioning openproducts and possibly this instructable would be appreciated. Feel free to post a picture of your chandelier as a comment to this instructable.

A possible business model for commercializing the reused bike rim LED chandelier could be through resellers. Openproducts will try to reach agreements with resellers for commercializing the LED chandelier, the outcome will be reported back in this instructable.

The challenge however in commercialisation will be to reach the right target audience and market. The example of the bike-shop owner in the introduction of this instructable may only work in some city centers: prior market research is recommended...

If this design infringes any rights then refer to Article 28 in the Terms of Service (www.instructables.com/tos.html).

Comments

wobbler (author)2014-11-20

It looks good, but I think it would look better if you drilled three holes into the rim and used those to suspend it from the spokes so that all of the rim holes had a led in them. You could also use three lengths of single core wire to hang it up from instead of the spokes and then use two of them to take the power down, which would also make the power wire effectively disappear.

audreyobscura (author)2013-05-13

Such a cool idea, thank so much!

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