The swingbike is finally done! I started this project months ago with two BMX frames and previously covered the hinge design and welding. After I’d assembled it, the next step was to take everything off the frame and sand it down in order to repaint it. Underneath the gray paint I found an entire coat of pink paint:

This was primed and painted; 80’s style:

After the paint dried, I started putting it back together. Here is the hinge, fully assembled:

And a shot from the rear, showing how the bicycle folds. This is a lot of fun to play with while it’s being ridden:

Here’s the rear wheel, which I built, installed:

And here’s a shot of the completed ship. The front wheel is the first radially spoked wheel that I’ve built:

It still needs a few finishing touches, but I’m actively riding it now!

Radiobox prototype, beta version, finished

I’ve resolved a few problems with the initial design.

1. Added an LED power indicator light.
2. Added an ATO fuse holder instead of soldering the fuse directly to the power wires. This allows for fuse removal and replacement:

3. Added an external 1/4″ stereo jack, so that the audio cable between the amp and the iPod isn’t permanently attached to the amp. This simplifies removing the amp from the bicycle rack and makes it a modular unit without permanently attached cables dangling from it:

4. Replaced an internal MDF brace with a wooden cross-brace. This leaves more room for cables internally and reduces the chance that a cable will get snagged during disassembly. Sometimes it’s okay to use the wrong tools for the job — that’s a flat head screwdriver being used as a chisel:

Completed brace:

5. Replaced the jury-rigged internal battery braces with wooden block bracing. The wooden block bracing is more robust and simpler than the old metal bracket, which bent during use due to vibration:

6. Replaced the internal pine bracing with oak bracing. The oak bracing is much stronger, and speakers can be directly screwed into the ends of the oak bracing. MDF is not structurally strong enough to stand up to repeated disassembly and reassembly.

This is the end point for this version of the portable radiobox. The next revision – a totally different unit – will have several improvements, which are under wraps for now!

Portable radiobox prototype working!

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get back to bicycle projects. Moving, setting up the new apartment and then beer brewing season have a way of eating up time! But this weekend, thanks to a jammin’ stitch-and-bitch session, I was able to get the portable radiobox working. It’s not complete, yet, but I’m at least able to test it out!

I had to first paint the bottom coat. I’m using marine paint, which does an excellent job making concrete void (cardboard tube) water-resistant:

It does off-gas quite a bit as it dries, however. I ended up moving it into the garage to let it dry; it took about a week for the first coat to dry out. I sanded that, applied another layer, let that dry for several days and then painted a topcoat. I applied two layers of topcoat, let that dry and then the shell was complete:

Now I could get into the guts of wiring it all up! The wiring diagram is classified but here’s some electronics nerd porn:

I tried to limit the number of holes in the case and cut them carefully. Here’s the hole where the on/off switch mounts, and the battery charging port in place:

The battery fit perfectly and I found an angle bracket that worked to hold it in place:

A few hours of swearing, jamming things inside and cutting parts off the internal frame, and I had the finished prototype!

And here it is, mounted on the bike rack on my winter commuter:

There’s still some work to do. I’ve got to attach external RCA audio jacks instead of using a wire that runs out of it, otherwise I have to keep attaching and removing the audio cable from the bicycle frame every time I take the radio off the rack. The internal wiring needs some cleanup while I’m in there. I need to touch up some of the scratches I made when assembling it, make some minor adjustments to the internal frame which is a few millimeters too long, and add a power LED. While the parts are on order, though, I’m still going to enjoy using it!

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