Intro: Bicycle Baggage Net From Old Inner Tube
Althoug regular bicycle trunk is a nice thing to have for transporting objects of all kinds, there's still a bunch of things you, probably, won't trust for it it to hold... like glass bottles, oddly shaped things or multiple things of smaller sizes... human beings...
So, you see, there's kind of a problem I'm pointing at, and, yes, with this baggage net I'm suggesting a solution, but first, I want say, that this project was inspired by Idea63's instructable called Innertube Loop Creations. Definitely go and chack it. He shows different patterns of intrlocking inner tube rings, so, maybe, you'll decide to use one of thore for your project.
And now, what is the baggage net i'm introducing in this i'ble? Basicaly, it's a net like structure, made by interlinking rubber rings cut from bicycle inner tube and it is meant to be used on your bicycle trunk for fixing your baggage on place in convenient and secure way. It is flexible yet firm and resilient, so it shapes around the object and provides reliable grip without unwanted vibrations. You can see some examples of usage of the net with different types of cargo on the photos. There's some more at the end of the instructable with my comments.
Personaly, I really like, how it came out, so let me show, how you can make this net for yourself.
And the first thing, we have to do is decide on the size of the net, we want. What I was aiming for is the size of my bicycle trunk ~13X30cm, and this is roughly the size one regular inner tube can provide (I'm showing some measurements of the piece on the photos, although, later I decided to add one more row of modules to make the piece longer, and still I had 15-20 rings left). So, if you want a bigger net, count for more than one tube. And yes, this a thing, you can make it of any suitable size you need.
The first stage of the project is cutting inner tube into rings. Take a tube and cut it with scissors at the nipple first.
To make my life easyer, I'm drawing a template for cutting on a piece of masking tape adhered to the cutting surface. But to draw the pattern correctly, you need to know the width of the ring. In his instructable, Idea63 says, that it has to be equal to 1/4 of the lenght, which is correct in theory, but in practice, you want to have them a couple millimetres narrower. When cutting the first batch of rings I had the width equal 12mm, which is exactly 1/4 of 46mm of the tubes width (which is also the lenght of the rings, which is also a bit confusing, but you know, what I mean). Anyway, those rings were a bit too snug for the interlinking. 10mm of the second batch were much better fit. Make a few and try them out before cutting the rest.
When cutting the inner tube use metal ruller (preferably, aluminium) and sharp knife. I also recommend to turn the tube the way, so that the area that goes up against the rim on the wheel is facing up on the cutting surface. This way, the edge of the tube won't curve away providing you an ability to cut at straight angle along the whole lenght of the tube (I'm demonstrating the difference on the photos).
Now, cut a bunch of rings.
And when, you have enough of them, you can start to make the net.
We can look at the whole piece as at a series of identical modules, and to make one, take four rings and combine them the way, shown on the photos. From one module you can now grow by adding new rings, and if at some point it starts to look confusing, just recreate in your mind that picture of identical pieces.
Also, as I mentioned, you can try different pattern, than the one I'm suggesting.
Keep adding rows until you reach desirable size.
As I said, I added one more row later in the project, so take those measurements as aproximation.
Now the net piece is ready, and we can use those loose loops on the edges to pull bungee cord through them. My cord was nearly of a perfect lenght (40cm), so I installed it right away. If your's is too long, you can shorten it, but, in this case do not hurry to pull it through the loops and installing the hook back. I'll make it clear later.
You can vary the positioning of the cord according to your needs. I altered mine later in the project.
This piece has few functions: it secures the loose loops of rings on the net piece; it's used for attaching hooks, that hold the whole thing on the trunc; it also helps to destribute the tension among those loops and gives the whole structure durability by protecting it from overstratching and tearing.
The last structural element is the hooks. To make them I used spokes from old bicycle wheel, since they provide perfect balance between plasticity and flexibility, which makes hooks stay in shape when under tension.
Cut sections into lenght, and round the ends to prevent them from tearing the rubber and scratching the paint/coating on the trunk. Make two loops with a round nose pliers on both ends in opposite directions: one closed for the bungee cord and one open for attaching to the trunk.
It's a good practice to paint those hooks, so I'm washing them in a solvent (like acetone, for example) to remove greese from the surface, and rubbing them then with a rug. I'm giving them two coats of black acrilic paint.
The final step is to attach hooks to the bungee cord. If you had to cut your's into lenght, and did as I reccomended, you can pull the cord (the cut end) through the loops and install the hooks in one go.
In other case deal with it by bending the closed loops of the hooks to the side (more like twisting motion) first. Use pliers, and I wrapped the working part of mine with some electrical tape to save the paint on hooks from scrathing. Put the hook on the cord and twist the loop back to close the gap.
Install hooks in between the loops of the net. Im doing every 2nd gap (and I really should of made atleast a couple more of them). You can also attach hooks to the rubber loops themselve if neaded, as I did on the area on the left, where's no bungee cord was threaded in.
And you're done.
As I said, I realy pleased with the result, although it has some minor issues. I think it looks really great on a bike? and performs its function very well. And if needed, you can always add more bungee cords to combine the possibilities.
And here's some points on the usage abilities this baggage net has:
- Semi-fragile objects. Like bottles and jars... ceramic pots, maybe... dishes, cups... your feelings... The rubber is really not slippery, the net shapes around the object holding it really firm without rattling around.
- Multiple objects. This is definetely something, regular bicycle trunk is not very capable of. You can see on the photos, I'm putting two camera cases and a flashlight on the trunk, and the net just grabs it all together.
- Irregular shaped objects. Like, anything of reasonable size and consistence. See that firewood on the photo. Here's the bunge cord does all the heavy work and the net holds those twigs. If something consist of small pieces or particles, you can put it in a bag first.
- Human beings. You can fold your coat, sitting mat or a towel, and put it underneath the net, thus making the trunk a perfect comfortable sitting place for a reasonably sized passenger.
- Nothing. Even if ther's no cargo underneath the net, it looks nice being stretched on the trunk. You can use it this way as a softening mat to transport something on it secured with bungee cord. Or you can make a pixel art display by butting differently colored flower buds in those holes, if you're bored or live in 60's.
Anyway, it was a really fun project and I was able to finish it in two days. I've learned some new techniques and got new ideas. And I upgraded my bike.
This is it for now, thanks for your attention, and thanks to Idea63 for the inspiration.
But also... If you feel like I'm doing something useful and you want to see me doing more of that, please, concidere to support me on patreon. I always have new Ideas and willing to explore new crafts and stuff, so even with some humble extra budget I'll have more directions to explore and efforts to spend on my projects.