Hi Wheel (non motorized) build from scratch

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle Welding, Fabrication and Paintin' started by TheOtherChris, Apr 23, 2014.

  1. TheOtherChris

    TheOtherChris Member

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    Not motorized but still a bike.

    My youngest son decided he wanted to build a high wheel bike.

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    You know, the old timer with the great big wheel in front?
    The correct name is an "Ordinary" which later came to be called a Penny Farthing bicycle.

    So... off we go...

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    The wheel will have cranks mounted directly to the axle so the hub assembly was turned to be 3 pieces which will be welded.

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    Hub flanges were mounted on the rotary table then drilled to accept 72 spokes.

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    An old 26" mountain bike is being canabalized for some parts. Like the cranks and pedals shown here.

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    The wheel will be about 47" in diameter. The rim is 1" steel channel. He calculated the spoke spacing based on the spoke length and hub diameter and drilled the channel for spoke nipples.
     
  2. TheOtherChris

    TheOtherChris Member

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    [​IMG]
    A friend had a HF roller so I took some blank dies and turned them to accommodate the 1" channel and then my son rolled the straight channel into a circle.

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    Then cut to length and welded to have a very big bike rim. (For scale, my son is 6 foot)

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    Next he laced up the wheel. We were going to make the spokes from welding rod but it was just going to take too much time so we bought the stainless spokes from a place in California that makes these bicycles. My son then laced up the wheel.

    I should mention that his first set of calculations were off by 0.50" in diameter which didn't leave enough room to properly tighten the spokes so he had to drill and roll another rim.

    The "tyre" on these are solid rubber (non pneumatic) just as they were over a century ago. The rubber is sold by the foot and it has about a 3/16" hole through the middle. We grabbed some galvanized fence wire and threaded it through the length of the tire.

    I really wish I had taken a picture of how we tensioned the wire in the tire but we got kind of excited to get it done.
    What we did was cut the tire about 4" longer than the circumference of the rim and then wrapped it loosely around the rim with the wire hanging out the ends and overlapping. Then we hooked one wire to the work bench and the other to a come-along and started to pull. As I winched, my son guided the ever tightening tire on to the rim.

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    We used a jig where the two ends meet to keep them apart so the wire could be joined. We used hi-temp silver solder to join the wire before cutting the excess. After joining you just have to "massage" the tire until the two ends come back together.

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    Until we ended up with a fully assembled and tired front wheel.
     
  3. TheOtherChris

    TheOtherChris Member

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    Forks and frame were next.
    We started with the mountain bike fork and cut the tubes off.

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    Then we took 1" (1/8 wall) tubing and turned the end down to the ID of the donor fork. Ignore the chatter marks. Nobody will see it anyway.

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    Then slipped one into each leg of the fork.

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    TIG welded the seam and drilled for the bearing carriers.

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    Bolted the wheel to the fork and all is good.

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    Decided to redo the bearing mount for the forks. They just didn't look right bolted to the side of the fork so we welded a mounting block to the bottom of the fork instead.
     
  4. TheOtherChris

    TheOtherChris Member

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    [​IMG]
    Also got the handle bars and neck sorted out. You can see that he was quite happy with how it was turning out.

    NOW he needed to get on with the frame.

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    He got the back bone of the frame rolled. He used a HF roller and it was fun to watch him radius that 1.5" 1/8 wall tubing. He was tired by the time he achieved what you see. We then used a 1.5" end mill to notch the end to match the head tube and welded it up.

    Now we just need to finish the back wheel set the frame length and add the seat post and step peg.

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    Rear wheel is mounted. We used the front forks from a little 10" kiddy bike. I turned a bushing to fit the steering tube to the frame and welded everything up.

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    Next we turned a seat post and welded it on. This seat was just for try out. (We will use the leather, triple sprung seat from my motorized bike for the presentation.)

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    With this much done, he just couldn't resist sitting on it.
     
  5. TheOtherChris

    TheOtherChris Member

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    With the bike complete, we have a video of him riding.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzZ0g4Q9fJw
    He did well and has even ridden it to school.

    It looked like so much fun that I decided to give it a try too.

    My first attempt went quite well so we decided to video the next one.
    Keep in mind that I am mid fifties and a bit over weight. :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcalPvWvZQs

    You can’t tell from the video but I came down hard on the bottom of my right foot and severely bruised my heel and stretched my Achilles. I probably would have been fine except I was wearing slippers instead of real shoes.
    BUT….as soon as I am healed, I will give it another go.
    (Hey, nobody ever said I was bright)
     
    #5 TheOtherChris, Apr 23, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2014
  6. GearNut

    GearNut Active Member

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    He/ you two, did an excellent job! I friend of mine has a few antique penny farthings and he rides them as often as he can. I tried riding one of the smaller wheeled ones and while everything went well, it is not something I want to repeat.
     
  7. Dan

    Dan Staff
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    Really cool! Purty work
     
  8. maniac57

    maniac57 Old, Fat, and still faster than you

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    Very unusual build! I like seeing things from the past still being enjoyed by a new generation.
     
  9. buba

    buba Member

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    Hello Other

    practice makes perfect in all things

    nice job!!!!

    hope your foot is healing up quickly...

    Best
     
  10. TheOtherChris

    TheOtherChris Member

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    Thanks for the kind words. He is a good kid and has been wanting to do this project for nearly 3 years so when he needed a Senior Project we decided to just DO IT.

    Foot is healing well and I should be back on the bike soon.
    In the mean time, I still ride my Panther.
     
  11. curtisfox

    curtisfox Well-Known Member

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    Wow! That's KOOOOOL. I just bought one of. Them. Tube rollers from HF while on my trip. Can't Waite to get home and try it out. Always love them old bikes,but don't think I will try one at my age, hope you heal well.........Curt
     

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