I’ve been working on the Bio Bike Project for the last couple of weeks. The Eco T(h)anks is the first of two models that will share a similar frame, but have a different (modular) top that is interchangeable depending on the event. The second variation is Your Future Thanks You, which has a UFO-style top (see next post). Given the sustainable focus of the upcoming SLF, where this project will perform, it looks increasing like we will use the Your Future Thanks You model for this weekend. However, the Eco T(h)anks was the first to be constructed as a prototype. So this post outlines the frame and how the top section of the Eco T(h)anks was made. Enjoy! NG.
Constructing the Eco T(h)anks
The previous post explained the conceptual background and aims of this Bio Bike model, the next step was to turn these plans into reality.
Stage 1 was undertaken in Coolie’s fabrications workshop in northern NSW (Cheers Coolie!) and subsequent stages completed in my backyard in Brisvegas (Brisbane). Claire did a great job of spray painting, attaching the turret and decorating the outside.
There is still a bit more to do to complete this piece. It is great to have all the main hard work out of the way and get a better sense of what the final structure could looks and feel like. And now, only the fun bits are left to do!
Here’s how it came together…
Stage 1: The Frame
The first stage was to use a general purpose bike to get a sense of dimensions and scale. Then we cut a pattern for the side panels out of 5mm white corflute. This was double layered in alternating directions and the central seam was designed to interlock on the inside to help with rigidity.
Two sizes of recycled PVC piping we cut to make the square frame. This frame is what the side panels will had from.
My main concern here was to make the sides easy to flatpack down (for transport in a bike bag) and easy to assemble.
Of course weight, balance and manoeuvrability were key issues.
I didn’t want to the structure to be over-engineered or overly complicated to make. I had limited time, money and access the to workshop – so this meant being productive and innovative to get an outcome with the resources at hand.
As well as fashioning four custom-made hangers to attach and support the side panels, zip ties and gaffer tape were the order of the day to attach the base to the bike.
It was important to intermittently take the bike for a test run to be sure that it was still functional as a bicycle as well as relatively easy to use re: turning, overall weight, balance, getting on and off, safety, bump in/out transportability, and the like.
The last task was to make the turret and the barrel.
The front piece of the turret needed to be made of a stronger metal/resin material so that it could hold the weight of the barrel.
The barrel was carefully measured so that it did not go out too far (for safety and weight reasons), but far enough so the effect ‘barrel’ was achieved
The next challenge was how to attach this to the handle bars.
Stage 2: Eco T(h)ank base structure
Then it was time to head back home to Brisvegas for assemblage.
First step was to reconstitute the frame and the get the front of the turret on the handlebars – this took a little ingenuity. Claire ended up using a wire frame (used in fridges for wine bottles) and attached that to the back so there were points to lash zip ties to the bike – it worked a treat!
Then it was time to use 2mm black corflute to wrap around the side panels to simulate tracks (this effect will be developed further at a later stage) and to enclose the front and back of bike, whilst being mindful of how we get on and off the bike.
A few well placed large cogs of bike cassettes were screwed on meant overlay points were more rigid, helped with stabilising the structure and added a strong recycled aesthetic – which I thought worked really well.
And the final basic structure is complete!!!
The wheels turn freely and I can ride the bike unhindered.
The structure is light and versatile enough to be transferred to any kind of bike frame.
It still needs some decorations and external work done, but I’m very happy with the base structure!
Overall it took 3 days to make.
Thanks so much to Coolie, TK and Claire for their direct input, time, ideas and labour!
I really enjoyed doing this project as I got to use materials and tools that I have not used before. This was one of the main reasons for undertaking their project – to develop my technical skills and be a little bolder in what I envision and can produce – and I am delighted with the result!
The next post will show how we modified this base with a different (modular) top to make the Bio Bike Model 2: Your Future Thanks You.