Upcycle Progress: Bike Rim Tensegrity Sculpture

Continuing on from my previous post of making a tensegrity sculpture/table from bike rims and other bike wheel parts, I strictly decided to not use any external fasteners as it would add up to the sustainability and be almost purely upcycled. This self imposed requirement means using the bike spokes exclusively to bind all the rims together and result in a stable structure.

I finalized the design from one of my crude sketches and started with removing the tires, tubes, hubs, and spokes one by one on all the 4 bike wheels that I have. All of them had exactly 36 spokes and nuts each, which I sorted to utilize later.

Sketch for the selected form
The discarded bike wheels with their tires and tubes removed
The bare rims
The sorted bike spokes
The spoke nuts

In order to intersect two bike rims, I had to cut one of them, pass through the other, and rejoin the cut. It was joined tentatively using zip ties and super glue, I will fasten them together and this would be the only instance I would need to utilize external fasteners for the structure as per my requirement to minimize their use.

The sawed rim cut
Intersected rims
Joined using zip ties and glue

I started joining the two rims using the spokes while keeping the shape and distances stable.

Initial two rim structure

Once the two rims were almost stable, I added another rim at the bottom and joined it using the spokes.

Added the bottom rim and supporting spokes

Lastly, I added the fourth rim on the top and joined it with the spokes as well.

The structure was a little finicky, unstable, and moving very easily with a little force. The spokes needed to be tightened further to add stability so that the structure could bear the weight of a glass top and other objects due to the objective of making this structure into a functional coffee table.

The completed tensegrity structure

The next steps would be to paint the structure matte black as per the initial vision, and find stubs to act as the base and search for a round glass top or acrylic that would fit the diameter of the upper rim. I am searching for these materials at local thrift stores or second hand marketplaces.

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Upcycling Aesthetic: Tensegrity, Industrial and Modern
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Bike Rim Tensegrity Table

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