I was trying to come up with a good exercise for soldering and working with wire. I have a lot of welding wire lying around and started tinkering around with it. Seeing a bicycle passing by, i realized that this was a perfect idea. I made some samples and came up with a project that is not too difficult and looks quite ok in my opinion.
Step 1: Plan and Materials
My "plan" was a hastily sketched side-view of a bicycle. As you will see, I didn't build everything to match the sketch, but it worked out well.
I used 1mm welding wire. It has good strength and is still bendable. The coppery look just adds to the finished model.
As tools I used mainly flat and side cutting pliers, a soldering iron and its accessories. The whole thing took me about 1 hour to finish, since i stopped getting carried away by adding ever more details.
Step 2: Bending All the Parts
I started off by bending all the wanted parts from the 1mm welding wire. Using the plan as a template proofed to be a very easy way of getting the dimensions right. The biggest hurdle was to get the wheels as circular as possible, but it is achievable (bending the wheels mostly by hand without tools).
The frame, wheel forks, handlebar and saddle were a straightforward bending exercise, for the gear wheels I used round pliers.
Step 3: Soldering the Individual Parts
With all the parts bent to the right form and size, i started closing the gaps in all individual parts. I took care, to not have different solder joints in the same place, so the whole thing is a lot simpler to assemble in the end.
It pays off, to apply tin-flux (well, it's actually a necessity) and to use very little tin-solder. Not only does it look better, but it is easier to spot bad solder joints this way.
Step 4: Assembling the Bicycle Wire Frame Model
With all the individual parts ready, I started to assemble the whole thing. Since I don't have a soldering aid (yet), I had to use pliers to secure some parts. This way I was able to use both hands to solder the parts in place. Some of the joints were a bit tricky to get them right and straight, but I'm very happy with the result. I forgot to make the pedals at first, and the "chain" was an afterthought.
I cleaned the joints with a piece of cloth as best as I could and got most of the excess tin-flux off.
Step 5: Mounting the Bicycle
To showcase the model, I decided to mount it on a base. I have some spare laminated plywood lying around and used a piece of it to create this base. I roughed the connection points on the wire with abrasive paper and glued the bicycle in place using superglue.
I hope this wire frame model will inspire some people to build something similar or completely different! It sure is fun and looks good...