Stefano Pagani and 3 OthersLila Hempel-Edgers
Calder Martin
Kalala Kiwanuka-Woernle
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The Sonicycle studio was given the task to create a bike that was a musical instrument that also looked cool and had the ability to turn on and off the sound.

Our group created a bike that when rode makes noises because of the number of instruments, but can also make music when it is stationary. A big part of our process was using our new skill welding to attach the instruments to our bike.

Our bike has a variety of instruments such as a drum, a thumb piano, wind chimes, spoke sliders and a wheel clacker. This allows the rider to enjoy music while riding and make music when they come to a stop.

We began the project by researching how instruments are made and how to make your own, then we looked at how people had combined instruments with bikes to make music. We spent about a week working on our own instrument and creating new ones. Our group then broke off into four groups to focus on their individual instruments to attach to the bike. While we were working on our instruments we also did lots of practice welding.

Our bike is made up of many parts because of the various types of instruments. The drum is a gear with a plastic circle screwed to it that also has a hand-brake that doubles as a mallet to hit the drum and make the sound. We have the wind chimes that are attached at the top tube and when the bike is ridden the hit each other making sound. The spokes sliders move up and down the spokes when the wheels turn making sounds, but also make really cool designs because of the centrifugal force. The thumb piano is welded to the handlebars and has a bar the stretches across the wooden box. The bar holds up levers with screw on the end and when you press them, they hit the keys, resulting in different notes from a scale being made. Last is the wheel whacker which is a piece with bike chains at the end. This is connected to a bike rack that has the ability to be raised or lowered resulting in the wheel being whacked and sound being made.

Each of us broke off to work on instruments that had already been prototyped or others had created and we improved them. We originally began with the idea of only being a percussion bike, but then we went off of that idea and ended up with instruments like the thumb piano. As a group we also spent lots of time on finding ways to make the whole bike an art piece and not just the music that was coming out of it. We focused on using pieces of the bike for completely different purposes and making it unique.

One of the main challenges that we faced as a group was working as a group. Because we were working on very different projects, it was very easy to go a couple days without communicating with everyone else. This became a really big probably though by the end of the project because people were wanting to put their instruments in the same place or projects not getting done because people didn’t know what others were doing.

Iterations :


Iteration (Wind Chimes) :
We began the process of making the wind chimes with the idea of having actual wind chimes and attaching them to the top tube. While working with the different bike pieces we realized that the gears made a pretty sound when they collided and we decided to make the gears into the wind chimes. After coming up with the placement and the order of the “wind chimes” we spray painted them silver and pink. Last, I hung up the wind chimes attaching them with zip ties and strung them through the zip tie with a wire.

Iteration (Spoke Sliders) :
Initially, I came up with the idea to attach bells to the spokes of the bike so that when the rider pedaled the bells would make noise, but after talking to my group we thought it wouldn’t work as well as I planned and we didn’t have any ideas on how to attach the bells to the spokes so that they could still make noise. We ended making the spoke sliders which are these little 3D printed pieces that snap onto the spokes. They’re really cool because when you pedal, they slide around and make noise, but if you pedal fast enough, you can’t hear them anymore because of the centrifugal force.

Iteration (Drum) :
Calder came up with the idea to create an instrument that was similar to a kick drum where you didn’t need to manually hit the drum. He first started out making a drum out of popsicle sticks and a mallet that was made out of a ping pong ball and wire. After, he found a brake gear and decided to base his project around that. He laser printed a drum piece that would keep the drum head  in place and refined the design of the drum head and attached more pieces such as the bracket. Later on in the project he focused on finding a solution to turning on and off his bike by adding a lever and cutting in have a nut and attaching it to the top tube of the bike.. Calder finished off his process of welding his drum to the front of our bike.

Iteration (Wheel Clacker) :
Stefano’s idea for the wheel clacker came from the card in the spokes sound concept, and combined that with the idea to create sound from the energy of moving the wheel. From taking apart the bike wheel he found that a bicycle hub could double as a bearing with many mounting opportunities. After experimenting with different ways to mount the hub he found that the luggage mount was the most effective. After mounting the hub and fixing chains to it, he worked on a way to turn the instrument on and off. He took a shifter off an old bike and used the cabling for it to lower the luggage rack, carrying the hub to make contact with the wheel resulting the hub spinning and making sound.

Iteration (Thumb piano):
There were many steps that I took and models that I made to complete my final project.  The first thing I did was making a cardboard model. In my cardboard model, I made a bike rack, a plate, and put tines on top of that. I had not made any drawings or planned anything out, so my finished product turned out a lot different than that prototype.  The next thing I did was making some drawings and start working on rhino.  On rhino, I designed keys and a box.  When I laser cut them, they were the wrong scale and the wrong shape.  The scale that I had made was a major scale, but it only had six notes so they sounded wrong.  I went back on rhino and fixed this problem by redesigning the keys to make a six note pentatonic scale.  I printed that and the new top out, and fit it to the rest of the box.  After that, I read about the materials I could use to make my bars.  Every website said that bars like these have to be made out of aluminum.  The aluminum bars arrived and I cut the tines out of those.  When those were finished and the holes were drilled into them, I had to figure out a way to mount them.  I settled on putting a nail through the hole and then putting a nut and felt on top of that.  After I slid the keys on, I put a lock nut onto the top to make sure that the tines could not slide off.  The last step was attaching it to the bike.  I welded a steel bar onto the handlebars and then screwed the box into it.  I added zip ties to fasten it more.