An old bicycle rim can be tuned into a wind spinner or windmill easily. The rim is light weight and the ball bearings packed around the axle allow it to turn easily even in low winds. The spokes in the rim are angled so that they can be made into vanes to catch the wind.
The materials needed to convert the bike rim into a wind spinner can be purchased at your local hardware store. If you do not have an old bike lying around, check your local junk stores and thrift shops to find one.
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Things you need
- Bicycle wheel with nuts and washers
- Steel corner brace, 8 by 1/14 inches
- 2 each 5/8-inch dock washers
- Hex lag screw, 5/8-by-4-inch long
- Box sealing tape
- 4-inch square post, 6 feet long
- Post-hole digger
- Power drill with 5/8-inch bit
- Socket wrench with 5/8-inch socket
- Carpenter's level
- 2-by-4 board
- Quick setting concrete, 10-pound bag
Lay the bike rim down flat. The pairs of spokes make a "V" shape with a space between each "V." Beginning 2 inches out from the hub, wrap plastic box tape around each of the pairs of spokes that make a "V" shape. Leave an open space between each vane that you seal with the tape.
Dig a post hole 24 inches deep in the spot you want the spinner to go using the posthole digger. The hole should be at least 12 inches across.
Pour 6 inches of gravel in the bottom of the post hole. The gravel will protect the wooden post from rotting and allow rainwater to drain.
Place the 4-inch post into the hole and place the carpenter's level against the post. Adjust the angle of the post until it is level. Brace it with a 2-by-4 board after levelling to keep it level while pouring in the concrete
Mix the quick-setting concrete in a 5-gallon bucket according to the instructions on the bag. Pour concrete into the post hole on top of the gravel. Allow the concrete to set before adding more soil to the hole.
Fill the post hole with soil until it is level with the nearby ground. Pack it down firmly with the 2-by-4 board. Add more soil as needed after packing to ensure it is at least as high as the ground around the hole.
Drill a hole in the centre of the post top with the power drill. Place one of the dock washers over the screw hole. Place the other dock washer onto the hex screw and push the screw through the hole in the short end of the corner brace.
Insert the hex screw point through the dock washer and into the hole in the post. Tighten the screw down with the socket wrench, but leave enough room so that the corner brace can move as the wind pushes at the spinner from different directions.
Insert the threaded axle of the bike rim into the hole at the top of the brace and lock it in place with the washer and nut. Now your bicycle wheel spinner is ready to turn in even very light winds.
Tips and warnings
- Attach a weather vane tail to the bike rim spinner to keep it pointed in the direction from which the wind is coming. The air pressure pushes the tail around away from the wind direction, and the wind turns your spinner.
- Always wear safety glasses when using power tools to prevent damage to your eyes.
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