Instructables

Extremely Loud Train Horn Bicycle

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So you want to be loud? You want to make a statement? You want to scare the crap out people? A train horn will do the trick. Do you want to stand out in the process? Than a bike with a train horn attached will defiantly do the trick! 

So you may be asking yourself why would you possibly attach a train horn to a bike? Well the first reason is that I currently do not own an automobile, so this is the best that I can do. The second reason is that it just so unexpected and fun to use. Have you ever heard a train horn in the middle of the street and seen that it was coming from a bike? I didn't think so.

To start off, let me explain some things:
     1. The reason why there is a portable air tank on the back of my bike is that hooking up an air horn to an air tank is much louder than attaching an air horn with the provided compressor. 
     2. The horn I used can be heard from over half a mile away. Although this is not as loud as an actual train horn, it does the job.
     3. The total cost of the project varies. If you happen to already own all of the materials, it will cost nothing. If you own none of the   materials, it could cost over $200 to construct.
     4. It takes about 30 minutes to construct.
     5. This is an extremely fun way to scare/prank innocent pedestrians, although it should be used respectively. Blowing it near traffic is NOT a good idea!
 

 
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that is utterly ridiculous and want it on my bike
tseay2 years ago
If the bike is tipped over or crashed and the tank gets cracked or the valve breaks off, what are some of the safety concerns for having a air tank strapped so close to a person. Don't want a Wild E Coyote incident happening with the tank. I have hear of large high pressure tanks falling over and the valve breaking and the tank getting shot through cinder block wall and wrecking cars in the parking lot. Old retired dude told me that story.
J-Ri2 years ago
Cool project!

But I'm afraid I'm gonna have to jump on the safety bandwagon here, but I'll jump off pretty quick.

You say the tank is old. When compressed air is cooled, the humidity in the air condenses and pools up in the bottom of the tank. The tank is probably fairly rusty on the inside, especially where it's welded together. Assuming the tank is about 8" diameter, you have roughly 50 square inches in the welded-on ends of the tank. Assuming a modest 100 PSI (you didn't say what pressure you fill it to, or I missed that part), that's 5000 pounds pressing against it. IF the weld were to break simultaneously all the way around, and someone got in the way, they would be hurt, probably severely. It's unlikely, but I like to play it safe... when there is no fun lost in doing so :)

I DON'T suggest doing the following (it's probably considered dangerous or something..., I want no liability here):
What I do to pressure test an old tank is duct tape the pressure relief valve so it doesn't open at the pressure it should. Somewhere on the tank it will have a maximum pressure and burst pressure stamped into the metal. I fill the tank to 20-30 PSI below the burst pressure (or as high as my air compressor goes, depending what the rating is) AFTER placing it in a steel box. I fill it while monitoring a second pressure gauge outside the steel box. If it holds up, I use the tank for another year. I had one break once, and it put a good sized dent in the side of the 1/8" thick stainless steel tool box in the bed of my truck. But it was also about 14" in diameter and burst somewhere around 140 PSI, so a lot more force.
TheChadster (author)  J-Ri2 years ago
Hmm good observation, however I would have to say that there's a much better chance of falling off your bike and getting seriously injured, then the tank exploding and seriously injuring you.
chicopluma2 years ago
heart attack
mwolfgang2 years ago
While this is a really neat idea in theory, I have to add another caveat to this. If you are anywhere near traffic, don't use it. I don't think the owners of these things realize how startling they are to the unsuspecting motorist/pedestrian. I have a neighbor who has one on his truck, and I've seen dogs and cats dart into the street, cars hit the curb and go into a lawn, and several almost-collisions when he's blown his horn. People will most certainly slam on their brakes, swerve (hopefully not into your bike), and do all other sorts of unexpected things when you blow this horn.

If you do decide to use it, I hope you have good insurance.
Having been personally run off the road, and chased by countless dogs, I would not hesitate to use this, I will be the first to buy one when they are miniaturized and I will laugh when the guy that was about to kill me "is startled". I love this thing.
Not as loud, but you can buy a miniaturized one:
http://www.amazon.com/Delta-Airzound-Bike-Horn/dp/B000ACAMJC
Cool! Thanks!
Skymeat2 years ago
I was thinking about this, strapping the air can to the bottom of a trailer and out of the way. I think Micah hit the nail on the head below though. I've got a Hill pump that can do 3300 PSI. So fill a reservoir with high pressure bottle with high pressure air attach a regulator and you're off with an air can that can fit in a water bottle holder.
DIY Micah2 years ago
Another idea might be to use a paintball air tank. You can find them pretty cheap and I think they'd hold enough air for a couple blasts. They'd also be smaller and lighter and less conspicuous. Plus, people like GRBTA could probably equip a motorcycle with one a litter easier than a massive air tank; a paintball air tank could easily fit inside a saddle bag or in a backpack.
That's an excellent reply. A regulator could take the pressure to whatever you want. Easily refillable too. Though I'd think a non-cryogenic gas would be in order due to the amount of air required. So no co2, but nitrogen or scuba air....
Yes, its frustrating on a bicycle or Motorbike when you are not noticed and put in danger by other road users, but a louder horn (from 20+ years riding experience) does not make you safer in 99% of incidents.

Its great if a pedestrian waddles out in front of you, a loud horn will give them an obvious warning, but for actual danger situations - basically if a car has swerved across you and is heading for impact... blowing your horn will just reduce your controlled braking reaction time. Sure, if a car is slowly drifting across a lane it will help - but that is not a terminal manouvre. Regardless of that, i would always install a set of compact air horns on my motorbikes, however i never felt that much safer with them on board, its road craft that will keep you alive - not relying on a loud horn.

On a bicycle its not much different, except you are going to be peddling this extra weight everywhere with you, and when you need to leave your bike somewhere - is this going to be tempting for somebody to steel? or maybe you could carry your huge air tank in a bag with you for safety!

So i would also lean towards airhorns on a detachable bracket for a bike. I built some spotlights for my bicycle that are powered by an SLA battery in a drink bottle, the bulk of the setup dettaches in seconds. It would be possible to do something similar with a minicompressor and avoid carrying the huge air tank.

The risks and inconvenience seem to outweigh the benefits, regardless of that i commend the builder on their ingenuity, it is an innovative build - and an interesting read.
leea92 years ago
The first link is broke. Try this
http://www.amazon.com/Wolo-836-Silver-Streak-Compressor/dp/B00029XI2G/ref=sr_1_16?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1333334351&sr=1-16
TheChadster (author)  leea92 years ago
Thank you for pointing that out, and thanks for the new link too!
olmon2 years ago
I have hooked up 'Semi-tractor' style air-horns on several vehicles (typically mini-pickups). Love to see how quick 'oblivious' people come to life when they hear that Howl. I do have a couple of train whistles, but never considered hooking them up on a vehicle. I do believe they would have even more 'Wake-up' effect then the air horns. BTW - - Nice instructable - -
Be careful - some cities have completely outlawed train horns on ANY moving vehicle, and yes, bikes count!

Still, this is a very cool idea, and could be a good thing for bike safety in a slightly quieter version.

Might also want to beware of using this in residential areas.
I'm a third shifter and asleep in the daytime.
If one of the neighborhood kids used one of these in the middle of the afternoon, I would call the police on the little brat after I unstuck myself from the ceiling. And since I'd be unlikely to be able to go to sleep again, it would cost me a days work. Can't afford to use high speed power tools like I do when too tired, so I would be looking for a way to scare the piss out of the kid that did it.
joeyaustria2 years ago
Did a thing like that on a motorcycle: Pull up some speed, Pull the clutch, roll out & USE THE AIRHORN !!"!
jploss2 years ago
Visiting a small town near Colon, Panama in 2002, I was deeply startled to hear a giant truck horn only to turn around and see a grinning 10-year old on a bicycle. They connected truck horns (same thing it seems) to rechargable fire extinguisher bottles, often with a dedicated bike pump attached for "refilling" the tank.

Very fun, very cool.
pamuth2 years ago
Nice idea. Bicycles and motorcycles are nearly invisible to distracted motorists. They occasionally need to be shocked back into reality and pay attention. Commercial trucks and buses use these horns all the time.
rsiglow2 years ago
Thumbs up, Chadster !
Thumbs down to all you Safety Stormtroopers, cellphones cause more accidents in 5 minutes than this would in 100 years !
TheChadster (author)  rsiglow2 years ago
Thank you very much! I definatly agree with you
Very Cool
rob22182 years ago
Definitely could've used one of these in college 20 years back. Did the same thing..though only with a small "air horn" attached to my bicycle transport I used while getting to and from class to my apartment....scared the bee-geezus outta some old lady one day.....she inadvertantly stepped on the "GAS peddle" vs. the brake peddle and landed in the middle of the median...luckily she didn't run over any students and her ticker held up....by I sure as heck got nervous..
and7barton2 years ago
Years ago, I bought a airhorn that has a flexible tube to a gas bottle with a trigger on the top of the bottle (They are disposable). I installed the gas bottle in the pocket of my leather jacket, ripped a hole in the lining and fed the tube up to the inside pocket of the jacket and fitted the horn on the tube so the horn was in the inside pocket.
Then I visited my local public library, and sounded it off behind a book shelf.
It was a great success which I repeated at my local general store and other places. It was marvellous keeping a straight face during the mayhem.
TheChadster (author)  and7barton2 years ago
Hahaha i never thought of doing anything like that before. That would make for a great instructable :)

Had problems Kayaking in L.A. Harbor and getting ran down by powerboats,
Threw a pair of Kahlenberg's I was refurbishing on it temporarily. A Foss Tug
was coming a little to close. 5 burst later they finally saw me.
GRBTA2 years ago
This is a great idea! I commute on a motorcycle - can I tell you how often I am scared #@$$@ by some moron on a cell phone not paying attention!?? It happens almost every day. I'm putting on on my motorcycle!
chrisf05282 years ago
Awsome idea. Just remember to use your common sense! Personally, I think that the bike itself and the 70's (ish) soundtrack for the video are an awsome statement of style!
Simmons2 years ago
This is a bad idea. The project itself is pretty cool if you don't care about hearing loss. I know you are not using a real locomotive horn, but still this is a bad idea.
Malhecho2 years ago
this is a project i have been meaning to do i only got a small car horn. good job
mtdna2 years ago
This would be awesome and funny for a kids' tricycle. The tank could rest on the back step. You might not want it around your neighborhood all the time but it would be great to break it out for the 4th of July, New Years, and parades and stuff.

TheChadster (author)  mtdna2 years ago
Ahh that's a great idea! Now if only I had a tricycle..
dreamberry2 years ago
I'd love to have this for the all the time I'm IGNORED by people in cars. Bicycles are even more invisible than motorcycles. I love it! I wonder why it would be rejected for the extreme contest?
TheChadster (author)  dreamberry2 years ago
Thank you! And yeah i dont know why it keeps getting rejected. Im about to rename this instructable the " Extremly Loud Train Horn Bike" bike haha
I see in the rules, If you're under a certain age, you must have parental consent. I missed that. Awesome horn.
onemoroni12 years ago
Cool idea, scare the hell out of unsuspecting motorist and pedestrians. Although it is a novelty it is convenient to do with materials, could sub zip ties for tape, but I like the easy on and off install. I once heard of a guy who installed a huge fog horn under his mini truck and had scuba tanks to power it up.
TheChadster (author)  onemoroni12 years ago
Ooh i wonder if it's possible for a fog horn to be installed on a bike lol. And the zip ties are a nice idea..
noahw2 years ago
Not sure if you were going to submit this or not to the extreme contest that's running now on the site, but you really should! Nice work. I dig.
TheChadster (author)  noahw2 years ago
Thank you very much! I did submit it, however it got rejected :(