Wednesday, October 14, 2015

26" Wheels

On one of my recent posts Iain commented that the mountain bike in the photos really helped to give a sense of scale to the bridge, showing just how small it really is. He was right of course, but unfortunately I couldn't find a decent 4mm scale mountain bike that I could buy. All the bikes I could find were both old fashioned and fairly chunky looking, and if I'm modelling the bridge as it appears now I needed something more modern looking. What I did have was a selection of different sized brass and nickel silver rod and an internet full of pictures of mountain bikes. I also discovered that most mountain bikes use 26" wheels making it easy to scale a side on photo to the right size.

I spent about an hour working out which sized rod to use for the different parts and how I'd construct a model and then about three hours slowly taping small bits of wire onto a wooden board while they were soldered together. The result is this.


Obviously it still needs some cleaning up and then painting (and possibly a chain adding) but I'm really happy with how it's turned out. It's my first real scratch built, completely soldered, model (at least I can't think of anything previously) and while it was a challenge to build the end result seems to have been worth while.


Given that I'm fairly happy with the size of the bike it does mean that on my model the ground doesn't rise quite as steeply from the stream as the bike rests lower down the embankment than in real life, but still I think it does it's job quite well.

15 comments:

  1. Stunning, I don't know why but it makes me smile. It's perfect.

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    1. Given that the frame is made from 0.5mm and 0.33mm wire I don't have anything anywhere near thin enough to do spokes. Although even if I did I don't think my sanity would survive the attempt!

      Mind you if you look back at the photo I'm basing all this on, you can hardly see the spokes anyway so I'm happy leaving them off. The chain though is another matter which I might attempt.

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    2. A bit of fuse wire should do the trick for the chain. I have seen microscopic chain in old watches that makes me wonder who made them. Mind you that applies to the watches as well.

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  2. Aha! Superb! You have really excelled yourself now-...a single speed by the looks of it :-) I can imagine how difficult this was.

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    1. Yep, single speed. Cutting one tiny disc for the gear was hard enough. I did add the little drop down bit on the gears though where you would normally find an extra small gear on a mountain bike (I assume it helps feed the chain into the right place). It's one of the reasons I thought about adding a chain as that would make it more obvious what it was.

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  3. A wonderful piece of work Mark, love it !!

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  4. 26" wheels are now considered to be old hat these days I'm afraid, apart from at the cheaper end of the scale. The trend now is to use 650b (27.5") on enduro/trail bikes and 29" for cross country/racing. To add to the confusion there's also plus sizes in both types, which use 3" wide tyres. Then we move onto fat bikes, which still use 26" wheels but with 4-5" wide tyres, ideal for snow and sand.

    I ride either a rigid singlespeed 29er or an old 26" short travel full suss, but what I really want is a fat bike.

    (Good work by the way. The rear triangle has a GT look about it).

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    1. The fact that I know nothing about bikes has now been cruelly exposed :)

      I did come across mention of the other wheel sizes but couldn't figure out what was most likely, so thanks for the explanation. The bike I used as the basis said it came with 26" wheels though so I'm hoping the scaling was right, although even if they were 29" I doubt it would make too much difference to the size so I should be okay.

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  5. This is why I'm not too worried that the availability of ready-made products will be an end to DIY modelling. There will always be little projects like these, and people ready to take them on.

    A really impressive bit of modelling, you've captured the outline very well, I think. Must have been very fiddly, but the idea of taping the bits onto board is clever, thanks for the tip. BTW I'm relieved to see you spent three hours doing that part. Sometimes when I spend a similar amount of time on some bizarre little task, I wonder if I'm, well, strange :-)

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    1. Yes I think there will always be things you can't buy that you just have to make from scratch. I guess the worry is that as more is available to buy people don't develop the skills to build things themselves. Mind you I say skills, but in most cases it's just patience that's really needed. Yes it took me three hours to build one bike but there was nothing particularly skilful about it.

      Glad the idea of using wood for soldering was useful. I tend to use short flat bits that you sometimes find in packaging etc (maybe 3 inches wide by 10 inches long and 5mm thick). It's heavy enough to stay still and will happily soak up heat without bursting into flames! In fact the piece of wood was probably the most useful "tool" in building the bike!

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    2. Make sure your wood is wood though, MDF appears usefull as its nice and flat but the heat from an iron can leech out the resin from the board, contaminating the joint. Guess how I found that out!

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  6. Lovely!

    One of the 2mm fraternity recently did a Chopper bike and used a paint brush hair for the chain - maybe something similar here?

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    1. I can't imagine trying to do the bike in 2mm scale, it was small enough in 4mm! I think I can probably avoid trying to add the chain as on the diorama the chain is away from the viewer so probably wouldn't be visible even if I added it.

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