For this project, I wanted to create something similar to the toothpick ping pong trail we saw in class. After brainstorming for awhile, I remembered a small motorcycle statue I purchased in Vietnam that consisted of nuts, bolts, and washers welded together.
Drawing upon this idea, I decided to use paperclips instead of nuts and bolts, and solder instead of welding. Similar to this motorcycle, I will be making a mountain bike. I envision it to have fully functional wheels and steering. I am going for an industrially chic look, so I’ll make a bike stand out of palette wood and more paper clips. I obtained a piece of palette wood but decided that it really didn’t look as good as I had hoped. Then, my friend mentioned that he has a piece of drift wood that he picked up when he was visiting Dominican Republic. Since the drift wood had a more interesting contour, I decided this would be a much better mantle for the bicycle.
For the project of creating a desktop sized mountain bike using paper clips soldered together, the process has been largely trial and error. Once I got the idea, I researched online, seeing if other people had attempted similar ideas. There seemed to be a decent amount of information regarding soldering paperclips, but this application seemed to be somewhat unique. Throughout this process, I continued to make a list of material and tools I would need.
I decided to base the design on the Trek Wahoo, which happens to be the bike that I ride. I printed out an image in the size that I wanted and would use it as a guideline for construction.
After spending 6 hours manipulating paper clips and soldering them together (which was surprisingly hard at first), the creation started to resemble a bike. For moving parts, I would have to create a bearing by wrapping the paper clip into a cylindrical shape, as shown below. This way, all articulating parts of a normal bike can be emulated.
After 6 more hours, the bike was complete. Using the printed out image was a great idea to get the proportions of the components correct.
Now, to mount the bike onto the driftwood. Since I wanted to add a glossy finish and protective coating on the wood, I sprayed it with lacquer several times.
I mounted the bike by putting a wood screw through the back wheel, and hanging the front wheel free so it can articulate.
Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it came out. The drift wood resembles a landscape that you might mountain bike through, and giving motion to the otherwise stationary artwork. The final product isn’t as mobile as I had wanted because it was difficult to get the soldered paperclips rotating in the paperclip bearings. Rather than an industrially chic look, I would consider this final product more of a futuristic metal-heavy dystopia. It combines natural elements (driftwood) with artifical creation (paperclips) that is common in many futuristic movies. My next goal will be to brainstorm another project idea for this class. I would like to keep the theme of upcycling, but add useful functionality of some sort. I won’t be refining this artifact, but I’ll probably keep it and have it sitting on my desk. When I look at it, it brings good memories of riding down a mountain.
Video presentation link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/kw3lsoogehgobuy/Video%20Feb%2015%2C%2010%2010%2033%20PM.mov?dl=0