I'm making a penny farthing, and it's going to be rad. I had already begun construction when Tim and Star convinced me to post an instructable about it, so I don't have original pictures of the first steps of construction, but I am creating some dramatization pictures to show how I bent the rim.

Step 1: Make the rim

Picture of Make the rim
Dramatization! Not actual footage!

So, I took a 4' diameter tabletop that was kicking around, and drilled a 1/2" hole near the side, and tied a bit of rope around it, as shown. Next, I laid my channel iron face down (the open side - the side you want facing outwards) down on the ground, put the table on top, looped the rope over the end of the iron (of which I had about 16'), and began to pull back as shown. This little piece of aluminum I'm using in the picture is obviously much easier to bend than the channel iron; be strong!

The steel will spring back a bit, so on a 4' table, I got about a 6' circle of steel. I stretched it down to be just under 5', cut and welded.
amishjim2 years ago
Kiteman7 years ago
Good start. Don't forget to add steps on climbing on, staying on, moving, stopping and climbing off, all without snapping any bones. Small British boys used to find it greatly entertaining to wait on a hill for a penny-farthing to go past heading downhill, then they'd shove a stick between the spokes of the larger wheel. Oh, how they chortled as they watched the rider flailing through the air...
Hi ,Im also Tim from Malaysia,email me timothywooi@gmail.com for some photos of a ridable Penny Farthing using bicycle parts.Its so much fun pulling Crowd! Wanted to show hoqw but still dont know how to insert pictures in Instructables! Cheers, Jitra,Kedah,t Malaysia
That is worth posting - you add the pictures to the projects by following the instructions at the bottom of the text box.
My second Penny Farthing,now refining the rims & hub to make it stronger for a heavier riders! Found some flexes & weakness with 48 spokes (1 cross) over 2 units of 28" rims opened up and welded to a 51" Rim. I used a 16mm diameter 156" long fuel hose for the tires which works very good. Sorry Im not good at writing and hope these pictures are adequate to assist! The Hub was only 4" long and Im going to increase it to 6" on this improved wheels! God bless, Tim from Malaysia All parts were homemade including the spoon brakes! God bless,Tim timothywooi@gmail.com
This looks awesome! What did you use for the spokes and rear wheel?
I uses # 13 (2.5mm) Grade 316 Stainless Steel welding rod & thread it using old school Spokes nipples to match the thread.You need 60 SPOKES and you axle has to be 6"-7" long to prevent the rims from 'potatoeing"
Tim's Email was hacked again his new email is timothywooi2@gmai.com.
You can also see me at http://facebook.com/timothywooi for some Penny Farthing built
rusheggie5 years ago
i am researching horse cart wheels as a source for the front wheel - any other thoughts?
rusheggie5 years ago
thanks for posting i'm thinking of making one
dirtybagg5 years ago
Nice work! I have contemplated a similar project for some time. I even considered using cable spokes too. Unlike many projects, these things are not easy to find, purchase, ship, etc.....the cost/time of making one is worthy. Can't wait to see a rolling picture.
doubleRJE5 years ago
How did this turn out? Im in the process of doing this and the spokes technique is interesting.
crankyjew5 years ago
how it coming along?
theicelands5 years ago
wait, what did you use for the wheels? that's the only part i'm not sure how to make. I dont want it to look super ghetto. I know you can buy replicas online but they're like 500+ dollars.

I'm curious if you got two aluminum wheels and bent them into semi circle' and welded them together if that could work... I think I'm going to experiment
 I know that I can make the Rim using normal furniture tube 1 1/8".
Using a Tube Bender in order to get a Tube circle of 50" 0 60".
The size of whell that you want.

Once bended, cut in half in order to get the "U" Shape, with a band saw.

Sweet great start, wondering if you've gotten anywhere since '07. And if anyone has an idea where to get the tire material. I've heard something about using some type of wheel chair tire material that comes in long lengths, but my google research has yet to come up with anything.

twisted7 years ago
what the heck does it do?
it damages people till they learn to ride it :)
admanrocks6 years ago
this is awesome!
plang36 years ago
beautiful, I can't wait to start building one. Thank you.
PLease my Friend!
HUrry Up!!!.

Here are a lot of people interested in make one for oneself.(Included me).
I love this Kind of Bike, and I want it desesperately!!!!.

Thanks in Advance :D
garccinni6 years ago
it is the first practical mode of man power transportation that actualy cover ground and speed which were achieved by drastically increasing the size of thne front wheel
hiwheel6 years ago
hurry up i just started making one and i need more info.
I like the part where you manufacture a $120 ferrule press from a $14 bolt cutter! Freakin' genius! I'ma make me one, now!
andygates7 years ago
That's gloriously demented - the cable spokes are either going to be magnificent or medical ;) How easy was it to bend the rim?
unjust7 years ago
is there a reason you chose to swage on your spokes instead of using a cable tensioner? very sharp so far, waiting on the next bit...
CameronSS7 years ago
Wow...that's a lot of steel...that's one heavy bike... Would any of the original penny farthings have used any aluminum? I know that aluminum used to be an incredibly expensive metal, even more so than platinum, but a cheap refinement process was developed just as the safety bicycle was invented. Cool!
Nope, steel was the material of choice until relatively recently, although earlier versions (such as dandy horses ) had wooden frames.
Punkguyta7 years ago
AWe sweet, I think you should add side steps to it once it's completed just so you don't have to find a fence to climb onto it from :p.
Mars (author) 7 years ago
Oh, yeah it is... I suppose I should post a picture of what the heck a Pennyfarthing is.
rockyt7 years ago
Its one of those old time bikes with the huge wheel in the front and a small wheel at the rear.
oh. lol i didnt know what it was :-P