Introduction: Bicycle Light Steampunk Style

About: I like DIY... a lot. I costume and build my own bikes and motorized objects. I think free energy is out there, we just haven't figured it out yet. I have bought plans for flying machines on ebay. I hope to bui…

Don't be too harsh on me, this is my first instructable! YAY Instructable.

This is a project I completed a little over a year ago, I wanted to redo my Schwinn World Tourist mainly to get rid of a little bit of surface rust, but decided it need an updated, or rather dated, look.

My apologies as I don't have pics of each individual step, because well, I didn't know I would be writing an instructable on it.

This was a little contest, my girlfriend stated that I never finish any project that I start, so we set a date and the bike had to be finished by then. I will explain in a little detail what all i did to the bike here as this instructable is about the light fixtures I put on it.

I completely disassembled the entire bike, sanded and painted everything. For extra durability on my time consuming paint and scrollwork job, I took it to the paint shop at work (I work at a body shop) and had it clear coated in Mercedes' famous ceramic clear coat. The paint was the largest step and I used a number of different colors to achieve the patina look.

Now, the lighting system!

Step 1: Junk Fun MUHAHAHA!

I knew I had a general Idea of what I wanted it to look like, so I began collecting parts and pieces. Everything on the bike was stuff I found lying around the garage, with the exception of "D" Batteries, honestly what uses "D" batteries these days anyways? How many kids are still reenacting the classic boombox above the head to win the love of your heart thing? Are boomboxes back in style again? Is it sad I am old enough to remember when boomboxes were in style?

God, what a rabbit trail. Oh well, "D" batteries, I had to buy them...

Here is what I used but I find it best to leave some of your imagination in tact.

1 Lantern, classic old ugly red style, with a handle, garage sale find I believe. I repainted the metal parts and to make my lamp sparkle forward more rather than out, (God knows I need to have lots of light on my crotch while biking...), I took awesome gold spray paint, masked off most of the glass, etched, primed and shot the inside of the glass. This didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but meh. Overall the effect is awesome.

4 "D" batteries. There they are again... Slightly used as once I had them, I had to break out the old boombox and Grier jammed it on his shoulder while I used some discarded cardboard to lay down phat dance skills and breakdance like a mad fool.

Speaker Wire! I love this stuff... I use it to hang things up, connect electronics, erotically asphyxiate myself, and of course wire up A/V equipment!

2 POS flashlights, the cheap kind, I tried to incorporate LED's but I am lazy, what else can I say?

Some spare copper sheeting...

1 LED toggle switch, easily found in the car electronics section of Wal-Mart, I had a few lying around and chose green, the red ones bother me. They make me think whatever I put the switch on is doomed to blow up at any moment.

Zip ties and copper wire. Okay so the zip ties weren't exactly in keeping with the steampunk theme, but give me a break, I wanted to be able to change out the batteries.

Wire cutters! Self explanatory, if you can't figure this one out please stop reading as the following steps of simple electronics will confuse the hell out of you!

Step 2: Walking the Tightrope, or Rather Running the Wire

So, we have our supplies and now it's time to get to work.

I wanted to try and keep the bike looking as stock as possible (HAHAHA) so I ran the wiring along the frame. I could have not been a lazy ass and drilled holes and ran it internally, but then you wouldn't have this cool copper wiring wrapping the bike!

I discovered while wiring that the rear reflector (which is massive as you may have noticed) has some gap between it and the fender, like a little triangle of plastic to make sure it sits comfy on the fender. Like a bolt of lightning i had an epiphany, more on that in the next step!

I wired up the batteries in a series and taped them all together in a nice battery pack block! Yay for tape, this would be unseen from the outside so I wasn't worried too much about cosmetics.
I then approximated the length of wire needed for my run.

See my fabulous Leonardo-esque painting of the wiring diagram. At least I think this is how it went. It was a while ago you know and I tend to forget a lot of things these days...

Step 3: Lighting Behind Me, Lighting Ahead...

Have you ever noticed I use a lot of ellipses? God that must be annoying. Anyways, onto more lighting goodness!

For the front lamp, I took off the original reflector but left the mounting base and in classic steampunk style I lashed the lamp to the front with quite a bit of copper wire. Mmmm... metal smells.
I didn't drill any holes for the wiring just in case I ran out of batteries and wanted to switch to good old kerosene. Mmm.... kerosene.

I simply soldered the bulb at the end of the wire after running the wire through one of the vents holes. Some hot glue kept the lamp in place. and viola!

Here's the fun epiphany I had with that rear reflector that i mentioned in the last step. With the wide open gap behind the reflector but still in the covering, I drilled a hole through the backside and hit the glue holding the reflector on with a heat gun. It popped neatly off and i ran a wire in through the back and soldered on a bulb. The neat thing is it appears as a running light that is red in the rear. Visibility for the win! I reattached the reflector with some hot glue, and screwed it back in place.

I think since the rear reflector was already a part of the bike, it looks amazingly custom (even though it's not), and it shoots light out in all directions in an ominous eerie red glow! See enclosed pictures!

Step 4: Drawing Conclusions!

Put it all together!
Run wire, solder, realize it's too long, desolder, trim, resolder, realize it's now too short, desolder, cut new piece, reattach, perfect it... you get the idea. Afterwards sit back and admire how amazing you are. A simple lighting project that has saved my life more than once I am sure. Definitely makes a huge difference for obstacles too. I haven't run into a tree yet!
I shot my lights a little high, as I am not the one needing them, drivers in cars are. I also get a lot of comments on the nifty lantern holder. I created this out of stuff I found lying around the garage, granted I have a lot of crap period, but I am sure you do too, and none of these parts are overly expensive should you need to buy them. This project from start to finish including the painting, took me all of one night. Get out there and ride safely! Bikers need a piece of the road too!

And please, Leave me some comments, let me know how I did on my first instructable, and I apologize for the lack of build pictures! I will remember in the future.

El Fin

Light Up Your Ride

Runner Up in the
Light Up Your Ride

Light Up Your Ride

Participated in the
Light Up Your Ride