After too many close calls to count, and a lot of weekend tv watching I was inspired by the Blackberry commercial, As you can see, they had much more than a small flashing bike light to keep them safe, and those bikes certainly had some flair!
After doing a little bit of research, I found that there were some super glow in the dark paint, better than your typical craft store stuff. In fact it's called phosphorescent paint which can glow for up to 12 hours, is substantially brighter than simple glow in the dark paint, and only takes 10 minutes to charge up!
I must say, after creating this bike I feel much safer riding in the dark, cars are able to spot me from quite a far distance. I've even gotten a few compliments on the cool style of the bike! Safety and style... it's a win win!
So thus begins my instructable - a glowing bike that will not only amaze friends and onlookers, but be extremely safe for riding in the dark.
UPDATED INFORMATION and TIPS and RESPONSES TO COMMON QUESTIONS:
- I bought my paint at glonation and it worked fairly well. A better choice (for brighter glow) may be gloinc as they advertise their paint is 3x brighter than their competitors. However, it is pricier than glonation. You could also do a little google search on super phosphorescent paint and you will find a few other places to purchase the paint. You can't buy it in a typical craft store (at least to my knowledge).
-The paint is NOT radioactive... so you don't have to worry about that
-We used 8 ounces total, 4 for the frame and 4 for the wheels. We had to put on many layers since it is hard to get even coverage with a paintbrush. There is not a spray glow phosphorescent paint on the market yet, it is being developed soon hopefully. The paint is creamy, so doesn't really work for an airbrush.
-Be careful when you purchase the paint and READ the advertising. For instance from glonation it states that orange only glows for 15minutes while is says that green (though dims) glows for 12 hours. Gloinc states that their green glows for 24hours, gloinc also has some information on the brightness on each glow.
-See last page of this instructable for some really cool black light LED's that would fit on the bike inconspicuously and give it an even brighter and longer glow!
Step 1: Phosphorescent Paint
Instead, phosphorescent paint (used for this bike) is strontium based and glows 10 times longer and brighter. Impressive!
The paint works only after it is exposed to an energy source, like the sun or black lights (these work really well) or regular lights. The paint absorbs the light energy and the little electrons get excited and jump up a few energy levels, sort of like climbing a few steps on a ladder. This is not a stable state for the electron (eventually you have to come down the ladder) and once it falls back down to its "ground state" it emits light, in the color of your paint. It turns out that strontium aluminate is more efficient and better at this than craft store glow paint.
You can find more information here and here.