Introduction: "Purple Rain Drop" Kinetic Art From Bicycle Rims

About: Hmmm...I was just trying out the name to check the availability :( ahh well...they're cool guys! I'm a teacher/tinkerer/outdoor kinda guy. Bamboo is the most incredible renewable construction materi…

     Reuben Margolin creates kinetic art that has been installed in museums throughout the US.  He bases many of his designs on natural sine waves. One of his creations is a round wave made from wood.  This was our inspiration!

      As a teacher in a private residential treatment facility, I use project-based learning activities to engage my students.  Interactive kinetic art placed around our campus is very motivating as well as aesthetically pleasing. In order to participate in Instructables contests, we designed and constructed a "Purple Rain Drop" from discarded bicycle rims suspended from a wooden frame using 'Dyneema' cord. Budget and safety issues require us to use picture hangers screwed to the frame for direction change however pulleys would be much more effective! We hope you enjoy!

Step 1:

This was a learning project in many ways. Trial and error resulted in some waste but future projects will benefit from what we learned to NOT do.  2X2 framing is light but NOT sturdy enough. An 'X” support was tried but turned out to be unstable. Purple cord was tried first but wasn't strong enough and created too much friction.

Step 2:

Nylon cord was tried second but stretched too much and was the wrong color as well as creating too much friction.

Step 3:

Dyneema fishing line is strong and doesn't stretch and is also nearly invisible. It works great!

Step 4:

Bicycle rims were sanded to remove loose paint and rust and then spray painted purple.

Step 5:

The final frame was constructed from scrap 2X6, 2X8 and 4X4 lumber for stability.

Step 6:

Rims are suspended from 4 points with picture hanger line guides offset to reduce friction and interference with other lines.

Step 7:

Central ring guides should be spaced evenly around the circle.

Step 8:

Beginning with the center rim, thread the lines through their corresponding guides. By the time we finished, we had great empathy for spiders. Each concentric rim's suspension lines should be passed through the next consecutive guide ring on the central guide rim. All of the lines should be joined in the direct center of the central guide rim. We used a 1/2” washer as a center ring along with a bolt 'handle' to ease manipulation of the art.

Step 9:

The finished project will be installed at the playground for the youth to enjoy. We are considering installing a wind-driven turbine to make the project work independently.

Epilog Challenge V

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge V

The Contest Purple

Participated in the
The Contest Purple

Bike Contest

Participated in the
Bike Contest