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One Man (Bike) Band

Sonicycles | Musical Bicycles

  • Our task was to modify bikes and make them musical. We spent a few days creating our own instruments in order to get a feel for the kind of work we would be doing. After our first few intro days, we were divided into groups and began work on our respective bikes. Our original sketches included a very long, intricate tube system that resembled a French horn. After we did our initial sketch, we came up with the idea of having a detachable bike seat that doubled as a clarinet. After some experimenting and drilling, we realized that the seat was not a viable way of producing sound. We decided instead to focus on the tube systems, and began considering the idea of building a xylophone into the frame of the bike.

    We started to firm up our ideas plan out our design. An idea that came up was a horn that had a mouthpiece that came out of the handle bars. This mouthpiece would only come out on one side, and on the other, a tube would lead into coiled pvc, or hose. We found out that the longer the tube was, the deeper the sound. Later, we decided that this may get in the way of other instruments. So we postponed the horn idea until we know what else we want to fit on the bike.

    We went on a field trip to GoodWill and purchased lots of items that could double as instruments. We began testing things out, brainstorming where to put our new objects. We ultimately agreed that we should mount a drum set onto the handlebars. We also decided to attach platforms to the back and front of the bike. This would give us more "real estate" and more space to add instruments. We spent the majority of that day sketching and planning.

    We began learning how to weld. This was important because a lot of our project involved metal on metal connection. After completing the welding tutorial, we stripped paint from the places on the bike that we were going to weld. We also prepped our bike for painting and priming.

    We then looked to start welding on to the bike itself. First, we wanted to weld a base platform to a bar that comes off of the handlebars. After this weld cooled down, we started experimenting with ways to attach our instruments. First up was our jar drum. We decided to drill a hole in the side of the frame, instead of welding it on. We thought that a system that could be adjusted may be better than the more permanent solution of welding. We decided to spray paint our bike frame. First we sprayed it with primer. Once that dried we put on our first coat of pink paint. Later that day we explored the possibilities of experimenting with LED's.

    On the second to last day to work on the bike we started off with the goal of finishing all of our instruments. We attached them one by one and now we have all of our instruments mounted on to the handlebars. Before we continued, we came up with the general, overlying, idea of what our bike could be described as. We came up with a junkyard bicycle with instruments that you could play as percussion and some that you can play similarly to a trumpet. We also mounted a lamp to the back of the bike that we will put an LED light strip in. At first we were going to use the regular light bulb, but we were advised to use the LED's because they are more energy efficient and therefore we'd be able to power it for longer. After this, we needed to solder the wires to the LED light strip and this was very interesting. After welding this seems similar but also very different. The process is similar but the way that it works isn't. Welding uses an electrical circuit to heat the metal to the melting point, and that is how it fuses. Soldering on the other hand, uses filler material to attach the two. Nevertheless, it is still a delicate process that required precision. One of the challenges with the wiring was that we wanted to run the wires through the part of the lamp that the original wire was running through, but it is very hard to feed them through. This was because the original wire was flat and the new ones were not. While a few of us focused on the wiring, the rest added the two horns to our bike. One of which has a coiled hose attached to a bent metal tube that runs towards the back of the bike. The other goes straight off of the front of the handlebars, and has a deeper sound, almost like a truck horn. The one that goes off of the back has a medieval fanfare horn type of sound. It took us a while to get to where we are now, but now that we finished we can all say that we are proud of what we came up with. Our bike was never super well thought out, to be honest. We had ideas here and there of what we wanted to have on our bike. A horn here a drum there, and things like this. It wasn’t until the last couple days that we reached a point of cohesion during which everyone was working towards one goal. That was when we became sure of our design. At first we were a little bit lost amongst all the possibilities, with welding in mind, as well as painting and extra finesse kind of details, kind of distracted us from what we needed to think of. What is the idea behind our bike?

    Our bike can be played while riding and while stationary. Using a combination of drums and horns, our bike achieves a unique sound and aesthetic. It has two drums and two horns. One of the drums was one of Jackson’s drums. It has holes in the top with copper rivets to achieve a snare drum sound. The other drum is a cooking pot It resonates really well, and is able to produce a sound that is similar to a steel drum. The main horn on our bike is a bent metal tube that runs along the side of the bike, and is attached to a rubber hose that wraps around the handlebars. You can play this while riding if you are able to ride with one hand and pull the hose out of the holster. It sounds kind of like a train horn. The other horn is shorter and you can play by leaning forward. It is much lower and has a fog horn type of sound. We also have a lamp that we took the original wiring and light bulb mount out and replaced it with arduino powered LED’s. We have LED’s on the bottom as well.

     

  • Our custom bicycle can be played while riding and while stationary. Using a combination of drums and horns, our bike achieves a unique sound and aesthetic. Our bike has two drums and two horns. One of the drums was one of Jackson’s drums. It has holes in the top with copper rivets to achieve a snare drum sound. The other drum is a jar that would probably be used for holding sugar or something like that. It resonates really well, and is able to produce a sound that is similar to a steel drum. The main horn on our bike is a bent metal tube that runs along the side of the bike, and is attached to a rubber hose that wraps around the handlebars. You can play this while riding if you are able to ride with one hand and pull the hose out of the holster. It sounds kind of like a train horn. The other horn is shorter and you can play by leaning forward. It is much lower and has a fog horn type of sound. We also have a lamp that we took the original wiring and light bulb mount out and replaced it with arduino powered LED’s. We have LED’s on the bottom as well.