Introduction: Modified Bike Lock (aka Uber, Epic, Mega Lock!)

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Yup, I just had a couple bikes stolen from me.  So you bet your buns I am not only incredibly angry at the person who hopped my fence and stole my bikes, i am super paranoid now too.  We are in full crisis lockdown mode at Chez much so, you would have thought someone came and rooted through MY fridge and sat around and watched MY new episodes of Real Housewives on MY Tivo.  But hey, my whole thing is that it never hurts to be extra cautious.  Within a matter of hours after the theft took place, I put in an alarm system in my house and motion sensor lights on my patio and brought all our bikes inside the house.  But keeping our living room stocked full of bikes this isn't exactly a long term solution.  I need to be able to keep all of my bikes (and my boyfriend's bikes) outside, and feel comfortable in the fact that the next piece of scum who hops into my yard will be super moded that they can't take any of my goods. Having 4 U-Locks with 8 keys (because they come in pairs) just wasn't the solution for me either.  And 4 locks?  that can get expensive! 

Thankfully with a little creativity, some fancy welding work, and a pretty good sense of humor, the modified, uber, epic, mega lock was born!

Step 1: Things You're Gonna Need

  • U Lock (we used an Onguard Bulldog 5006 Pitbulll Mini Series Lock- retailed $45)
  • MIG Welder**
  • Cut Off Wheel
  • Angle Grinder (24 grit grinding disc)
  • Two metal rods cut to desired length.  We used hardened steel at 40" in length; long enough to lock up 4 bikes.   (be sure that the diameter of the rods are the same or close to that of the original lock)
  • Vice Grips
  • Plastic accordion tubing
  • Spray Paint

**If you don't own a MIG Welder (gasp!) and live in the SF Bay Area, near Detroit, MI, or Raleigh, NC, don't fret.  You can use the welder at the Tech Shop!  ***

Step 2: Cutting the Lock

To get started, you want to make sure that you take good measurements of where you will be cutting and welding.  You know the saying, "measure three times, cut once!"

Remove bottom piece (the lock) so that you are working on the original U rod of the lock, and take off any protective rubber that might be on it.  

On each side, make a cut just above the locking ends of the rod, and just below the curve of the top of the rod, basically somewhere in the middle

Measure at equal points and mark where you will cut.

Using a cutting wheel, cut through the markings on the rod.   Originally I tried using a band saw, but it wouldn't cut because the rods were made of hardened steel, which means it resists traditional cutting.

Step 3: Grind Off Edges

Using the angle grinder with a coarse grit disc, grind the edges to a point at roughly 45 degree angle.  Grinding at an angle ensures proper weld penetration when you weld the pieces together.

Grind all ends of rods that will be welded (original and new steel) 

Before welding, use a straight edge (in this case, we used a piece of angle iron as seen in the photo) to make sure the parts to be welded are properly aligned.

Step 4: Weld Baby, WELD! (the Top Edition)

Now, as exciting as it may be to start welding like a crazy pyro, it is important to be sure that you don't just weld each piece all willy nilly, otherwise, you are going to end up with one giant piece of wonky metal, and a really ruined Sunday.  The next two steps will help ensure that you don't eff it up, and have a perfectly level, and perfect fitting lock.

FIRST WELD:  Once you have aligned the long rod to the original curved end (with the help of a straight edge), tack weld the two pieces together, so that when you go to make the final welds, the pieces won't move or shift. 

SECOND WELD: Line up the long rod as you did with the first rod that you just welded.  Measure the two floating ends BEFORE you tack to be sure that they are are the same distance apart as they are at the top.  Essentially, you are making sure before you weld, the two long pieces are not bowed in or out.  Keep it symmetrical baby!

Step 5: Weld Baby, WELD! (The Locking Bits Edition)

Before you weld the final two ends together, you wanna make sure that you have the locking ends correctly oriented so that you can actually use the lock. Imagine welding it all together and then it not fitting!  FAIL

Lock each machined end (the stock ends of that you originally cut off) into the lock and lock them in place with the key.  This ensures that when you weld the giant rod use to the machined ends, everything will be aligned.

Holding the base in place with vice grips, tack weld the long U rod to the machined ends (still attached to the lock base)

Once tacked, remove the lock (and for good measure, re-lock to make sure the locking mechanism still functions before you weld).
If all is good, remove the locking base (so the heat doesn't destroy it) and finish welding.

Step 6: Finishing Up the Metal Work

Once you have welded it all together, grind down your welds to a smooth finish, and spray paint to prevent the bare metal from rusting

Now step back, light up a cigar, because you just created an uber, epic, mega lock! 

Step 7: Finishing Touches- Protect Your Investments

Now that you have your very own uber, epic, mega lock, you will want to make sure that you don't scratch your bikes to hell with it.  So we used a plastic accordion tubing to wrap around the metal.  If you have access to rubber, or even copious amounts of electrical or duct tape, use that. 

For this, we made one long cut down the length of the tubing so we could slide it over the metal rod. 

Step 8: Lock Your Bikes

Now that you have created uber, epic, mega lock, you can finally sleep in peace knowing your bikes are all safe and sound. 

Metal Challenge

Participated in the
Metal Challenge