Archives for posts with tag: windscreen wiper motor

As the deadline of the Illuminate event approached it was time to test and tweak the sculptures.

We added the drive bike to the bird using some ‘dropouts’ made from scrap steel plate and old angle iron shelving. Time to test the bird and it proved too big for the poly tunnel so we moved it outside to continue work– the weather was changeable so we worked under a slightly too small gazebo for some of the day.

 

The bird wings proved too heavy and kept throwing the chain from the gear as they ‘pushed’ the chain forward ahead of the pedal. This was remedied by the addition of a number of ‘muscles’ made from old inner tubes, strategically placed these ‘muscles’ countered the downwards force of the wings and allowed an even resistance to the pedals allowing control of the speed of the rotation and flapping more easily.

Everyone was thrilled that the bird worked. The flapping motion had a real bird like quality and everyone enjoyed pedaling and making amusing ‘caw-cow’ noises…


The Bird Moves a video by arbarus on Flickr.

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Our group of new artists joins us; ten young men from The Q Youth Centre in Failsworth accompanied by Natalie and Maggie.

The group instantly gets to work on their challenge – create a kinetic bird sculpture in just two days.

They split into teams and get to work on various parts of the sculpture: a lightweight mountain bike frame is stripped and mounted onto two wheel barrow frames to become the bird’s body, two saddles are found and connected by a complex arrangement of metal, nuts and bolts to a brake mechanism to become a moving beak.

At the same time the ‘fish team’ continue work and the body, head and tail are completed. Then the complex task of detailing the moving sculpture begins.

After lunch the bird’s wings are constructed from bed frame pieces connected by inner tube sections and jubilee clips to create flexible flapping joints.

The wings will be driven from the pedals and are connected by more bed frame rods and by the end of the day the bird has taken shape. It’s about 8foot high and has a wing span of about 16foot – a very impressive achievement from five hours work!

Another great sunny day means everyone wears sun tan lotion whilst working on getting the crank completed and moving.

The crank test (see video below) proves the movement will work so construction of the fish body, head and tail begins.


Grassroots 290312 fish moves a video by arbarus on Flickr.

The body section are made from twisted bike wheels of varying sizes, cut and reformed into ellipses. The upper head is formed from two more wheel and we hatch a cunning plan to create an animated jaw using a brake mechanism but leave this job for the next session as we’re expecting more young artists to join us.

The elegantly shaped front frame of a mountain bike marked X Trail – Special Bike seems an obvious choice for the fishes tail – joining it using front forks from another bike allowing it to pivot proves tricky but worth the extra effort.

Another amazing spring day with the weather feeling like summer combined with some new assistant artists meant that our creation moved on apace.

The frame we constructed last week was reinforced with more bed frame parts and the laborious task of fitting eight pedals between the spindles of five bike wheel took a good part of the morning.

After lunch the wheels and pedals were fitted to the reinforcing bars on the frame and the central crank that will power the fish finally came together. Great to see our vision come together and everyone was thrilled to see that the creation might just work!

Upright bars were prepared and T-sections cut from the bed rails to provide pivots and support for the fishes body sections – a kit of parts ready to assemble next session.

Two small scooters were fixed by their handle bars to the front and back of the frame to provide pivots and supports for the fishes head and tail.

The day finished with a real sense of achievement and we’re all looking forward to thursday and getting the body, head and tail added to the sculpture.

The second session at Grassroots was on tuesday 20th march and unfortunately some participants were unable to make it.

Darren suggested that we start work on our fish sculpture and we spent the morning planning how it might work. We wanted to use some of the bike wheels we’d ‘rescued’ as the basis of our mechanism as they are easy to work with, are light weight and have strong and reliable bearings.

We imagined the fish would move like a ‘Chinese Dragon’ puppet with it’s body constructed from a series of rings supported on rods linked to a drive mechanism. We came up with 2 options for using the wheels to drive the movement: horizontal wheels driving from the rim or vertical wheels supporting a crankshaft.

The rest of the day was taken up with the delicate task of constructing working maquettes to test our ideas with valuable assistance from Antony.

We discovered that the horizontal wheels system was easier to make but the motion they imparted to the body was not ‘fishy’ enough, the vertical wheels and crank was harder to construct but the movement was perfect!

A plan of action for our sculpture was slowly taking shape and our next move would be to start actual construction.

On thursday 15th March Noah and myself did our first session at Grassroots in Failsworth. Grassroots is a fantastic community allotment with an orchard, chickens, bees and much more, they’ve kindly let Salvage! and Art Bikes take over one of their poly tunnels to use as a workshop and some of their volunteers are taking part in creating art.

For our first session we met some prospective participants, told them about ourselves and our art. After a chat about the project we explored the canal to look for ideal locations to exhibit whatever we created as part of the ILLUMINATE! event.

Our main achievement was to come up with some ideas for kinetic sculptures that would be relevant to the canal and to Grassroots. Inspired by the canada geese that flew over us as we explored the canal and the fishermen we passed our chosen ideas are to attempt to create a ‘flying bird’ and ‘swimming fish’. We did a few sketches of how these might work and planned to make maquettes of them at the next session.

The switch was thrown (on a power-pack/transformer reclaimed from a discarded PC) and the machine lurched into life. It worked!

The crank slowly rotated pulling the strings and the flagpoles lifted and fell; applause and cheers from participants and observers alike!

Sadly the three youngest artists had to leave but all agreed they’d had a fun, challenging and unusual afternoon and were excited to have created such an strange work of art.

Luckily a number of onlookers stepped forward to get involved so we decided to add decoration in the form of origami cranes and flowers that some very young artists had created to the machine. A group of teenagers were also keen to get involved and I suggested that as the machine was now decorated and looked great the next addition would be something to make noise.

Using string we attached the lids of three damaged ‘moka’ coffee pots to make a clapping sound as the flags waved, we borrowed some cutlery from the gallery cafe and tied this to the flag poles too. The machine was switched on again and rotated a few times clattering and clapping. Unfortunately we’d all got slightly carried away with these noise making additions and the cutlery proved too heavy for the long flag poles, the string became tangled and the machine stopped.

After a careful minutes work untangling and untying the machine was ready to go again, slightly lopsided and with a pronounced ‘limp’ the machine proceeded to slowly rotate and the coffee pots clapped again.

All in all the first ‘Salvage!’ workshop was a real success, great fun and we proved that interesting and unusual kinetic art can be created in a few hours by a team of collaborating artists of all ages.

It certainly left me inspired and looking forward to starting some more involved creations as the project continues…


Gallery Oldham Workshop Feb 12th 2012 a video by arbarus on Flickr.

On Feb 18th I did the first ‘Salvage!’ workshop at Gallery Oldham as part of the Well Being Weekend. A number of different creative activities took place over the weekend and the ‘Salvage!’ workshop took place after lunch on Saturday.

The workshop started with a pile of junk, an old bike and some tool kit and I was joined by five young people and two adults willing to accept the challenge of creating a moving sculpture in just three hours. The plan was to make a flag waving machine (for the Olympics or Jubilee) powered by an old windscreen wiper motor from a scrapped car.

First one group of young people stripped the spokes from a bike wheel leaving the rim to form the ‘guide ring’ of the sculpture whilst the others constructed the ‘support tower’ from wooden stools reclaimed from a school. The tower was joined together using the removed spokes and cable ties. A second bike wheel was fixed horizontally between the stools to form a mounting point for the flag poles.

The flag poles were cut from waste waste pipe and hinged to the bike wheel using string, meanwhile another participant removed the pedal crank from the bike, removed the pedal itself and replaced it with the surplus wheel hub from the first wheel. Packing the hub with grease and replacing the ball bearings was tricky for small fingers in big gloves!

The crank was mounted onto the wiper motor and the motor clamped to the top of the tower in the centre of the ‘guide ring’ and everything fixed with lots more cable ties.

The complex job of threading up the sculpture was completed in collaboration by all participants and the eight flags poles lined up and suspended from the strings.

But would it work…