Post 2: Steampunk (Recycled Bike Parts) Upcycle Aesthetic

For the upcycle project I wanted to turn the old bike parts in my garage into a sculpture. I was inspired by a “zoo” close to where I lived as a kid. The Swetsville Zoo was a sculpture park where animals were created from old rusty cars and other metal parts. I always loved walking around the park as a kid. I think it is so cool to turn mechanical parts into something way beyond the vision the original designer ever had. At the time I never really thought about the name of this type of aesthetic, I just thought it was called rusty car sculptures. I guess now I could categorize it into steampunk. I still feel like steampunk is its own unique aesthetic focused more on futurism where this aesthetic is more about turning metal into animals. Until I find a more specific name for this style, I’m going to keep rolling with steampunk. Attached below is an image of a “ladybug” from the Swetsville Zoo.

Luci Westphal “”

The image above shows the collection of random bike parts I have acquired the last few years. I sorted most of these parts from components wearing out and me replacing them for new versions. I feel like all cyclists can relate to the feeling of not wanting to throw away your used gear because it cost so much when you originally bought it, even if it is now worthless. I am excited to breathe new life into these components because they have just been collecting dust recently. I am also excited to use the bike parts because working on bikes is something I love to do in my free time. I feel like this project will allow me to express my passion through the art.

I have tried to sketch up some initial ideas for the potential sculptures I want to make. The drawings are attached below. I think I have enough materials to make multiple sculptures. If I am really set on the steampunk aesthetic, the glasses with mismatched gear sizes for the bezel of the lens would be cool. I could use the bike spokes to create the arms of the glasses. My only hesitation with this idea is that I don’t have any glass or lenses to put into the frames. I think it would look weird if there wasn’t glass in the lens spot. I’m not sold on this idea quite yet but maybe I’ll make it if I have extra time. The other two sketches below are the other ideas I had for the sculptures. The first one is a guy with gears for a stomach, a bolt for a head, and spokes for legs and arms. I think it would be cool to try and make him look cute by putting ball bearings on his head for eyes. The final sketch is of a bird but it kind of looks like some weird shark. I’m still unsure if a bird or a fish would be cooler but I think that general shape is what I want to pursue for the other sculpture.

I’m planning to use epoxy to hold everything together, that way I can build it all in my garage. I don’t have the time to learn how to weld right now, and I think welding dissimilar metals (aluminum and steel) would be a hard challenge for my first time.


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Post 2: Steampunk (Recycled Bike Parts) Upcycle Aesthetic […]

  • I have never heard of the Swetsville Zoo, but it seemed like an amazing place to visit. I googled the place to possibly visit, but it’s a bummer it is permanently closed!

    I really enjoyed your creative process with first laying out all your collected bike parts and trying to sketch possible sculptures from there. Looks like a fun exercise to stretch your imagination. I wonder if there is a sub-aesthetic of steampunk that would better describe the aesthetic you are trying to achieve?


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