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after a few weeks of racing the trash man to the stash, I came
up with enough wheels to start building this prop.
First I stripped
the wheels from the bike saving the largest for the prop. The
idea struck be to use the existing crank gears, chain and sprocket
from the ten speed to act as the drive transmission. I also gutted
a defunct sewing machine for the motor.
Then I needed a way to connect the sprocket to the motor shaft,
so I cut a piece of aluminum angle stock and drilled four holes
in it. Two on each face, first pair for the cable thimble clamp
to connect thru, the others near the ends to mount to the crank
Next came cutting
out two discs of acrylic to sandwich the crank gears. Thru one
disc I drilled three arrayed holes, thru the other I made three
more holes plus two more holes to use to mount the angle stock
motor connector with. Making sure that the holes left the motor
shaft centered on the disc. This was all assembled with 1/4-20
x 1.25" bolts and lock nuts
sandwiching the crank gear and 1/4-20 x 3/4" bolts and lock
nuts between them. The motor connector was attached to the shorter
Next I drilled
a pocket about 1/2" deep with a 1-1/8" forstner bit
followed by a 5/8" hole the rest of the way thru a 2x4"
to mount the motor. Once it was mounted and tested, it barely
had the oomph to spin the assembly, plus it ran counter clockwise,
which wouldnt work with the sprocket wheel from the ten speed.
I bagged it and used a gear motor that was sitting idle. Much
better, lots of power......grunt snort grunt......
I then used plumbers strap to mount the motor onto the 2x4".
see image below
to get the idea.
Onto the bicycle wheel mounts....
Pretty simple, more aluminum angle stock, one end drilled to recieve
the wheel axle, then two holes in the side face and one in the
bottom. Use drywall screws to attach to the 2x4" end and
mount the wheel. Being sure to slip the chain in place before
On testing it,
the thing rocked! Perfect speed, but the crank was a hair off
centre. I will scavange a derailuer this year and add that to
get tensioned slack. In theory I would be able to adjust the speeds
as well. hehehe.
I mounted the motor and wheel
2x4" to a triangular bracket made of more 2x4"s, to
attach the whole thing to the trees or house or whatever.
The next item on the agenda was making more dummy wheels and mounts,
and installing them.
To install them,
we used 4 - 5" x 1/4" lag screws per bracket.
While installing them, we temporarily held them up to the trees
with strap clamps.
To get them
all level to each other we used a laser pointer and a level pointing
from the top of the first mounting assembly, once leveled, to
the next tree the the dummy wheel(s) would be mounted to.
In our setup there were four
wheels used, and masons line for the cable.
very elastic and strong. It helps to have a few ladders and friends
to put the line up. As you hook the line to each wheel, tape it
in place as a temporary measure, until you come to tie the ends
together. To connect it we used a bowline knot for one end.
Knot is one of the most used loop knots. This variant is most
used in the world. Probably due to its simplicity, security, and
its relationship with the Sheet bend. Keep the cross point
in step A between a finger and thumb and make a clock-wise turn
with your wrist. Without the loop in between, it is the same knot.
If the loop is expected to be heavily loaded, the bowline is,
in fact, not secure enough. There is a rule of thumb which states
that the loose end should be as long as 12 times the circumference
for the sake of safety.
The Bowline: "Lay the
bight to make a hole. Then under the back and around the pole.
Over the top and thru the eye. Cinch it tight and let it lie"
To tension it
we used a tautline hitch for the other end.
It was rather amazing how
much tension we could apply to this to get it taut. Once the line
was taut, remove the tape.
the ghost at the loop of the bowline. Basically the ghost was
a foam ball six inches in diameter, with a hanger attached beneath
it. Then it was layered with tuelle and gauze. Weighed perhaps
three pounds. The ghost will be different soon, made from a wig form
- so it has a distinct head on it. The head will have blue led
eyes powered by a nine volt, plus arms reaching out ahead of it.
This means it will need two mount points, ideally we want more
ghosts in the loop. The masons line seems capable of taking the
One of the nice
things about the setup, is that it can easily be made to run
other props and take advantage of the lighting associated with
them. It looked great whizzing by the ghost ring, the FCG and the
porch, which were all illuminated with black lights.
might change, we have a tarred netting line, supposedly minimal
stretch, and we have 1/16th" steel cable. Just gonna have
to experiment during the off season in the garage.
Since I scavenged
so many bicycles this year, and the potential to aquire more,
we will be at least extending the loop with additional wheels,
or adding a second run.
have been some changes with the drive assembly, Halloween 2002,
the motor crapped out 15 minutes before Halloween.
had other gear motors, but nothing with a drive shaft like the
previous one, so it was time to rethink the connection.
dancing ghost ring is being set up with a drive motor with a
tension traction drive (using a caster wheel) so why not here?
necessary to drill and tap the caster wheel (removed from the
assembly of course) to fit the shaft, and a threaded insert (to
act as a stop inside the the caster axle hole)
tapped, the caster is test fit onto the motor shaft, drilled perpendicular
to the shaft, removed, threaded, to fit a hex head retainer screw,
and reassembled. This hold the whole thing together, and prevents
any slippage on the shaft.
here, its time to build a mount rig for the motor. Piecing
together some galvanized "L" bracket and bolting it all
together and then bolting the motor to the carriage the motor has
a place to sit. One thing I have noticed previously (ghost ring
build) is that a tensioner is really helpful in maintaining
consistent contact of the drive wheel (caster) to the bicycle
wheel. To facilitate this a few pieces of "L" were cut,
2 bolted together back to back then bolted to the bottom of the
2x4 with the flat face upwards for the carriage to slide on.
third bolted to the 2x4 to make a slide slot, leaving about an
1/8" gap between the 2x4 side and the "L".
tensioner was added using a screen door spring, and another piece
of "L" bolted to the top end of the 2x4. The spring was
connected using "S" hooks.
power supply was mounted to the other end of the 2x4 mount, wired
up to the motor and tested for continuity.
to come when it warms up a bit and I re-install the drive line
(now 1/16" steel cable).