Our makerspace wanted to build something fun for our parade float. Inspired by a video one of our members saw online, we made a giant bubble machine mostly out of reused, re-purposed materials. The float was a huge success and won first place in the Yukon Pride Parade.
YuKonstruct is the first makerspace in Canada's north. Our mission is to provide access to shared space, quality tools, available expertise, and a collaborative environment to help makers build anything!
Step 1: Design
We originally worked on a more complicated design that would have required only a shallow pool of bubble solution, but when a makerspace member volunteered the use of his truck and trailer we decided to go with a simpler design that could be built quickly with materials we had on hand.
We found an old bicycle wheel and based our design around it.
With CorelDraw we designed bubble wands that would fit around the wheel and dip into a tank of bubble solution. The file is attached, if you'd like to make your own.
Step 2: Making the Bubble Wands
We used the laser cutter to cut the bubble wands out of scrap off cuts of ¼" plywood.
Step 3: Building the Bubble Wheel
After cutting out the pieces, we painted each wand a different rainbow colour with spray paint.
The wands were attached to the bike wheel with zip ties.
After zip tying the pieces to the wheel, we filled the gaps with spray foam to keep the wands up straight.
Step 4: Making the Base
We built the base of the bubble machine out of pallets and scrap wood.
To keep the pallets from moving under the weight of all the bubble solution and bowing in the centre, we secured them with really long pipe clamps and used ratchet straps to tie them to the trailer.
Step 5: Lining the Tank
We needed a waterproof tank to hold all the bubble solution.
First we built up the space between the pallets with scrap wood. We then lined the inside with cardboard to protect the plastic from the rough edges of the pallets and to prevent it from bulging out in the gaps between the wood.
We made an envelope out of plastic (6 mil poly vapor barrier) to hold the liquid. The folds were held in place with duct tape. The edges were wrapped over the top of the tank and secured with staples.
Step 6: Final Details
To attach the wheel to the tank we added scrap blocks of 2x4 to the center and used pipe hangers to hold the wheel in place.
We wrapped the tank in plastic table cloths and decorated the float.
We filled the tank with water and lots and lots of Dawn dishsoap.
We added two small battery powered bubble machines to the front of the float (check out Jayefuu's excellent instructable to build your own) and filled our float with happy people blowing bubbles.
The bubble wheel is rotated by hand and produces fantastic big bubbles when the wind is right or the float is driving forward.