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I got into wood bikes recently. I made Wood bike 1 and then have been looking on the net and elswhere for ideas for number 2. I found one on this site that I loved http://www.instructables.com/id/Bent-Plywood-Bicycle/ . This bike and others inspired me to make my own bent bike. I am fairly competent with tools and have a lot of bits and pieces in my shed.

It took me 3 full days and cost about $100 and a donor bike. I have a bit of tidying up to do but its pretty much finished.
 
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Step 1: Getting started.

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First I got a bit of ChipBoard big enough to fit the bike on and make my  bending jig. Then I put my bike on it and traced the frame with a pencil. Once I had an outline I used a bendy bit of yellow plastic to work out the curves that I like. I used a couple of screws to hold it into place while tracing

I had a $20 donor bike and decided to copy the frame geometry. I think its a fairly good bike but its about to cease to exist. 

Step 2: Supplies and my Jig

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I went to the hardware shop and found a 4 x 8 sheet of 4mm Hardwood bracing ply. Also 2m of 20mm x 45mm pine to make my bending jig.

The pine I then cut into +\- 150 mm pieces as the uprights on my jig. I then screwed them to my jig with 2 big screws each and some glue. They have to be fairly strong because thats what the first layer will be clamped to.

The pic below is just a pic of the jig with a mock up bend just to see if I had enough clamps. Wel as it turns out I dont have enough clamps- YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH CLAMPS.

Step 3: Cut and laminate

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Today I drew the shapes i want  on one piece of ply and screwed 5 together. Then I cut out the shape with a circular saw and a router for the tricky bits.

I laminated the both sides separately . As I'm using steel for the connections I can laminate in 2 halves and dont have to do them in one go.

 I used 5 layers of 4mm ply and that got me to 24mm total thickness.  I used PVA white glue as it's cheap and I had some. The glue was painted on thick till the complete surface was covered and then I just clamped them on one by one. After about an hour each time I just stuck some screws in from the back to hold the last piece in place, took the clamps off and glued another one on.

The right way would probably be to wait a day between layers. Its amazing but after the 3rd one I released all the clamps just to see what would happen and it kept its shape. This is the first time I bent wood and although I know it works it still blew me away.

Its all drying in the shed overnight.

Step 4: Release the clamps and sanding

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The curves were released from the mould today. There was a lot of sanding and planing and routering but I finally got them smooth.

I used and electric plane and a belt sander.

I also started working on the steel bracket that will connect the top and bottom curves to the steering head.

Step 5: Chop it up.

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This is the part where I chop up the old bike to get the bits I need. I would wear gloves, glasses and ear protection as a minimum when working with a grinder. 

Firstly I cut the dropouts off. Thats the bits where the back wheels connect to the frame. Save them for later.

Now I started cutting out the bottom bracket with the seat tube still attached. I use a 125mm angle grinder with a 1mm cutoff disk. It slices like a hot knife through butter. Then I cut the steering neck out as well, while removing brakes and cables and things as I run into them.

In the last photo is the result of what I had left over. It took about 1 hour to grind all the welds off and smooth it all over. I then hit all the grinds with a bit of grey primer as i live at the beach and it will rust almost over night.

Step 6: Fabrication

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Today was a big one, about 7 hours on the bike. I had some bits of 2mm plate so I cut some pieces out to make an attachment bracket for the steering head. After lots of cutting, grinding and halfround filing I was ready for welding.

All my angles were worked out very loosely by holding all the pieces on the ground and tracing it on the floor with a pencil, then transfer to paper. I then cut out the paper and transfered to steel plate for cutout.

So I cut the 3 pieces out and welded them all together to the steering head tube.

Step 7: Dropout brackets

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For the dropout brackets I had to do some Blacksmithing. First I drew it up roughly on the ground again and transferred to paper.

Now remember when I cut off the dropouts before and told you to save them for later. Well this is later. I cut out the shape out of plate and bent, blowtorched and hammered till I had these brackets. I then welded it all together and also welded the dropouts on.

I probably should have approached this more scientifically but...

A bit of primer paint after welding is always a good idea.


Step 8: Assembly

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This is where I started screwing things together. I used 20mm wood screws for testing but I now replaced them with 6mm bolts with nylocker nuts. I had to do a fair bit of trimming on the frame to make it all fit. The wheel hit the sides and I had to adjust the brackets a bit. I didn't spend too much time measuring things I just kindof made it up and adjusted where needed.

Other than that it all went together nicely.



Step 9: Seatpost and bottom bracket

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For the seatpost I drilled a 28mm hole in the top beam. On the bottom of the bottom bracket I welded a mounting plate that you can see in the second photo. I forgot to take a photo as I made it. I then stuck the seatpost tube through the hole from underneath and screwed the mounting plate to the bottom beam.

I am making a little wooden box to cover the ugly bottom bracket. I still need to do another couple of coats of varnish and back brakes and front derauler. Other than that the bike is done and very strong.

I then put all the bike bits on and it was test drive time. I had to stop a couple of times for adjustments but it felt very strong. At first I let the seatpost slide through the top beam so all my weight pressed on the bottom beam only. It was nice and springy but not in a good way. There was no shock absorbtion and it didn't improve the ride at all just very bouncy. I didnt like it so I put a couple of screws in to stop the seatpost from sliding. The bike now feels solid to ride and I gave it heaps of testing: Up and down pavements, wheelies, stoppies, top speed down the road , 150kg load test. Its all holding up.


Step 10: Photos


Some photos and one of woodbike1 as well.
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SliceLaser1 year ago

This is great! Have you thought about using some heavy-duty rivets for the metal-to-wood connection points?

Well done HanzieO.

I can't comment on the particular stresses of combining the wood components with the bike frame. But I've built bentwood furniture parts since the '80's and it's inspiring to see you putting bentwood in motion.

I've not used ply for bends but the the premier solid wood for bending here in the US of course has to be white ash which has a very straight grain and tremendous elasticity. Sliced to under 1/4" thickness the pieces can be twisted into pretzels.
I have read that wood is ten time stronger than any other substance per weight.
Macfeargus Whats your source ? Even without knowing the context of that statement , i gonna call BS, with all respect. "Wood" strength varies greatly per application and type . I'll bet within your arms reach you'll find 10+ materials with higher tensile and load bearing cap than the hardest woods .

I'd love to have seen a non-functioning bike used as the donor. But for the sake of
Art , Great Instructable HanzieO .
True but as i said by weight "Brittle materials, such as concrete and carbon fiber, are characterized by failure at small strains. They often fail while still behaving in a linear elastic manner, and thus do not have a defined yield point. Because strains are low, there is negligible difference between the engineering stress and the true stress. Testing of several identical specimens will result in different failure stresses, this is due to the Weibull Modulus of the brittle material."
Sorry i am having a hard time find a the exact specifications and tinsel strength on all different building materials. but i will re post with the specs soon.
The unit of measurement of tinsel strength is twinkles, commonly megatwinkles around the festive season.
What a lovely image. Megatwinkles! Awesome and saucy at the same time.
heres a decent example of where wood fails http://www.instructables.com/id/How-Not-To-1/step32/Shelves-of-Death/ . I could go on .
Interestingly you are both wrong . Some woods are much weaker then steel or aluminum . But , most woods strength to weight ratios are as good as steel or aluminum or even much better . So unless you are in a high tech work shop there are not 10 different materials within arms reach .Now things like the carbon fiber forks on my bicycle or other high end sporting equipment is stronger . But wood is a very strong material that has evolved over millions of years to create tall slender structures called trees . Wood is used so commonly because it is light , strong and easily worked . Wood used as a pillar is about 4X stronger then steel and a sheet is 6X stronger the the same weight of steel . I don't know about 10X higher then most other materials ,that seems over rated . I'm not being critical of either of you wood is just a pretty good choice for a bike though there are many other good choices .
HanzieO (author)  macfeargus4 years ago
I can't say I have heard that theory
You've heard wrong.
No way.
I highly doubt that, i haven't read up on it, but carbon fiber and acrylic are crazily strong and light. there has to be something stronger and lighter than wood.
how much does is weigh? it looks really nice but it would be a shame for it to be too heavy for a regular road bike
Dj_Xyster3 years ago
I never wear gloves when using an angle grinder. In my metals class they told me gloves can catch and break fingers. I don't want to find out if this is true or not.
HanzieO (author)  Dj_Xyster3 years ago
I dont know about that. I would always use gloves suited to the task. I ALWAYS wear gloves and mostly it's skintight Kevlar knit with rubber coating. I am a tradie and would never go without my gloves.
In the States they're worried about getting hands caught in rotating equipment . There have been some really gruesome accidents wearing gloves . I use the same kind of gloves you do and there probably isn't much chance of a problem . Oh , and other then rotating equipment I Always wear gloves too . Great job with your bike , it looks great .
HanzieO (author)  randomray3 years ago
I get that a lot. Might have been true 20 years ago with pigskin riggers gloves but with today's cutting edge technology Ansell gloves there is a glove specifically Desighened for every task. Protect your hands! Just choose the right glove.
HanzieO (author)  Dj_Xyster3 years ago
Also keeps the hands nice and soft for touching me lady if you know what I meen
Oh, this is cool. Looks cool. How dose it ride?
HanzieO (author)  bigtreehouse4 years ago
You sit on the saddle and peddle with your legs;) no just being silly it rides beautifully.
nitai1084 years ago
The design is quite unique!
I love the detail around the peddle. That must have been tricky in wood. Looks good though
paqrat4 years ago
A beautiful bike and very good instructable.
Muddle4 years ago
Shouldn't that be- YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY CLAMPS?
HanzieO (author)  Muddle4 years ago
Sure say it how you want. What I'm trying to say is go to the shop and buy more clamps.
karlpinturr4 years ago
This is great - but how much of your 8x4 Ply did you end up using?
HanzieO (author)  karlpinturr4 years ago
I had the sheet cut into 12 pieces of aprox 1200 x 160 and I have 4 left over. I was going to do 6 laminations but stopped at 4
Thanks - would you do more next time?
HanzieO (author)  karlpinturr4 years ago
No... I will do less timber with better glue and maybe a better, more informed choice of timber. It's plenty strong enough at 24mm thick
OK, thanks again - I look forward to the next Instructable!
Ferguson1994 years ago
Hey dude your handlebars are backwards.
HanzieO (author)  Ferguson1994 years ago
Read it and you will know why
Neat...I would love a wood seat with just a pad near the top of possibly leather filled with some sheep wool. Maybe "Steam punk" It with brass fittings... You really put a lot of work into it and its very smooth and sleek looking. Thanks for sharing. I'm just fantasizing..your doing all the work which took patience.
HanzieO (author)  NaturalCrafter4 years ago
Watch this space. My bike is getting steampunked.
uygur4 years ago
Perfect study
A very nice instructable and a very nice looking bike. Thank you for sharing it with us. Just one thing though, how did you attach the brakes for the rear wheels? Or do you just depend on the front brakes to stop the bike?
HanzieO (author)  Rizwan Azami4 years ago
Hi
I did end up putting back brakes on. I cut the mounting posts for the v brakes off the back of the old frame. Then I welded them onto a m8 x 30mm bolt head that was bolted to my frame. With double lock nuts
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Many thanks for answering the query and completing the instructable!
Awesome work on this bike!

V-brakes are amazingly better than older center-pull cantilever style brakes, but the force they generate will likely cause your wood frame to flex, or worse - break.  You may want to consider a device called a brake booster (approx $15 and up per pair) for each set of brakes. They'll install with (most likely) no mods needed to your build.
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