Super Bright RGB LED Bike Wheels

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About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at supamoto.co. You'll like it.

Why settle for just a few lights on your bike when you can load up your wheels with over 200 RGB LED lights! This is LED oversaturation and ridiculously impractical, but it sure is bright and colorful so why not?

For this project you'll need access to a 3D printer, but the pieces are tiny and any printer should be able to handle it.

Step 1: What You Need

RGB LED strips - I'm using the 2 meter strips, which is enough to go around my wheels and have a few extra inches at the end

3D printer - Any printer and material should work fine. I printed mine with PLA on my Lulzbot Taz 3, but really ANY printer should work fine.

Strong tape - I used Gorilla tape. Duct tape would likely work as well.

AA batteries - one dozen

Scissors - for cutting excess LED strip

Step 2: Design Your Clip

I modeled this clip for my bike's rims, which are the "Deep V" style and thus the angle of the bottom piece is pretty acute.

LED clip in Tinkercad

To modify this for your own bike, stretch out the bottom two pieces.

When you're happy with it go to Design > Download for 3D printing to get the STL.

I recommend making a few variations to test out so you can find the one that fits faster.

Step 3: Print It!

Prep your 3D printer however you need to for small pieces and print it up. Don't worry about the material as I printed mine out of PLA and they held up just fine when riding.

Be sure to print out a few extra as these might break apart when installing them on the bike wheels.

Step 4: Installation

Attach all of the clips to your rims by sliding them onto the spoke and then sliding down the spoke to the rim.

Attach the LED strips, starting with the first LED closest to the controls, work your way all around. If you have excess, trim the strip with a pair of scissors, cutting between the copper pads.

Attach the battery pack to the spokes with tape. I admit, it's not the most permanent solution. There' probably a much better way to do this.

If you're using two strips on a wheel, make sure the battery packs balance each other out by being on opposite sides.

Step 5: Ride!

Ride around!

I'm still testing this out so there is room for improvement. One strip did break after I leaned the bike against a table so the strips should be reinforced on either end of the controller. Some heat shrink or electrical tape should help a lot.

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    28 Discussions

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    bhvm

    1 year ago

    Won't the battery fly out when riding?

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    JeffS2

    1 year ago

    Maybe after you market and sell these you could get a bigger 3d printer and just print a rim with the necessary clips for lights and batteries!

    All kidding aside, you did a great job and the video was excellent!

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    MohammedG14

    1 year ago

    great explanation...cool sick design...you got yourself a follower

    1 reply
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    Pib2

    1 year ago

    This looks really cool. I imagine that you could also design a battery tray, print that and attach it to your bike. Do you know if there's a standard wheel size for bikes such that this model could work on other bikes? Thanks!

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    fungus amungusPib2

    Reply 1 year ago

    The size of the wheel doesn't matter. It's all about the profile of the rim. You could make a small variety of pieces that can fit different types of rims. Mostly just change the angle.

    I'd prefer to find some new solution that could fit all rims, but without making this in some flexible material I'm not sure how that would work.

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    MatthieuR

    1 year ago

    Finally a smart use of 3D printing. I am fed up by the 3D printing fad. But I like how you engineered a part that had to accommodate an existing object (the wheels).

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    fungus amungusMatthieuR

    Reply 1 year ago

    My favorite uses for 3D printers are custom connectors and enclosures. I find printing out figurines to be pretty boring.

    But my kids love that, so I still do it sometimes :)

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    jan_vda

    1 year ago

    Awesome and also one of the best video instructables i have seen sofar.

    1 reply
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    SapphireS5

    1 year ago

    this is cool and all, but I hope you realize this is VERY illegal.

    2 replies
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    fungus amungusSapphireS5

    Reply 1 year ago

    It's true. White in front and red in back are the common rules for riding on the street. I made this as a test and don't recommend use with the full colors near vehicles. Can switch to traffic friendly white and red settings with brightness turned down while near cars and go full color when cruising away from cars.

    I've also seen that strobes are not to be used at night. I see that being ignored all the time. As a driver, that has scared me more than I think this would.

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    fungus amungusWallissimpson

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes! Sometimes a bit too much. Looking down a little while riding can mess up your night vision.

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    MikeZ48fungus amungus

    Reply 1 year ago

    Red light does not affect night vision. Use red LEDs and the problem goes away. Astronomers and submarine captains have known this for a LONG time.

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    sonicboom999

    1 year ago

    great concept but not everyone owns a 3d printer what if we want to mod to a regular mountian bike 27 inch like mine reg mountian rims how would i mount the light then ?????

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    random_builder

    1 year ago

    Awesome! How much does the whole thing cost? I would make it, except I don't have a 3D printer.

    2 replies
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    thormjrandom_builder

    Reply 1 year ago

    I and many others have put our printers up on MakeXYZ or 3DHubs... don't let lack-of-a-printer stop you... I'll print and ship to you!

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    random_builderthormj

    Reply 1 year ago

    Meh. That idea doesn't appeal to me very much. Idk why.