Wind art: A simple piece using an old bicycle wheel
I tried building a few pieces of wind art. The most successful creation was one of the simplest to build. This was my first attempt at using a bicycle part. It was quite quick to make – perhaps a couple of hours.
I cut a bunch of identical rhomboid shaped pieces of galvanised iron sheeting to wrap around the spokes to catch the breeze and make it spin. There is a slight bend in each to make them fit the spokes as the adjacent sides of each piece wrap around are not parallel. I thought I would have to use some additional fasteners to hold them in place but simply tapping the folds down with a hammer has been enough to keep them tight for over 10 years during some pretty strong winds.
I used an old hardwood garden stake to fasten everything on to. I used a metal tube on an earlier one I built with an old desk fan blade and it was quite noisy and swapping to timber made it quieter, so I went with that again for this one. I’m not sure I would do the same again. If I did use timber I would use thicker timber. Although this Australian hardwood is quite tough for size. Notice the lichen that is growing naturally on it. The tail is just another piece of galvanised iron sheet.
I made a bracket out of a short piece of angle iron. Two bolts hold it on to the timber.
The pivot point is quite basic. I don’t think I would use this method again even though it has worked quite well. I cut two pieces of steel that were the same width as the timber and drilled three holes through the steel and the timber. The timber is sandwiched between the two pieces of steel and held in place with two bolts through the outside holes. Grease was pushed into the centre hole. It turns on a bolt which rubs on the steel plates as the timber would wear out quickly without the steel. The whole thing mounts on a bolt that is fitted through a hole drilled in the end of a pipe end cap.
Every couple of years I top up the grease on the pivot point and clean and re-grease the wheel bearings. This keeps it running quietly.