We were tasked to find a way to upcycle something preexisting to be art or something useful for our first project in this class. I have a passion for indoor houseplants and wanted to make something that would fit this theme. Originally I thought of making a trellis for my plants but that wasn’t quite enough. I once tried to keep a bonsai tree but killed it within two or three weeks from under-misting. At the onset of the bonsai fiasco I was worried that I was too irresponsible to handle the little tree. I figured this project would be the perfect opportunity to rectify the situation by creating a tree that would be impossible to kill. I settled on making a bonsai tree out of bike chain. I was inspired to make this out of chain after seeing the following Instagram post by @chainbreakerwelding.
My plan varies from theirs as I plan to spiral the chain around itself and tack weld each individual link in order to keep the shape of the tree rather than running all of the chains in the same direction as they do. I have already acquired my chain and cleaned it and have plans to weld it up tomorrow.
prototype off tree base
This is a very cool and unique idea for a project! One suggestion, just make sure that the chain is cleaned VERY well prior to welding. Any grime or oxidation will cause issues with the welds. Do you have a plan yet for what the top of the tree (the leaves/branches) will look like? I can’t wait to see how this turns out.
Welding was my first choice and it has proven to be pretty difficult considering I am having to use a flux core welder which is not powerful enough. I wanted to try to use superglue to hold it in place in order to weld it but did not pursue this option. I think it will maybe be about a foot tall.
Jamie, this looks like such a cool project, such an awesome blend of art and engineering. I am interested in hearing about your experiences with welding the bike chain links in place, as I have very minimal experience with welding myself. Were there any other methods that you had considered to keep the bike chain in place, or was welding your first choice? From my understanding, bonsai trees can come in a variety of sizes. How big do you plan on making your tree?