ICE! FOR WHEELS?
Funny task this one
So uniqlo the japanesse clothing campany asked me to make a video around something cold to show off there heattech thermal shirt things. Now I,ve made a pact with myself now i'm getting these sponsored type videos that i will not not make videos for companys and products i would not buy myself or are total sh!(e but i have bought uniqlo hoodies before and the heattech stuff is good so they pass. Now on to the bike, strange idea i no but thought maybe this was the way the first ever wheel was dreamn't up so gotta be worth a go. Before i could think about strenght i had to make sure the freezing time was realistic as they asked for this to be filmed somewhere cold which turned out to be sunny canada but this ment not in a freezer we knew much about and in a 3 day window so wheels that take to long to freeze n good.
The wheel above took about 4 days to freeze in my freezer which although was pretty strong (and very heavy) was not the solution we needed so next obvious step was to reduce the thickness of the ice and deal with the strength issue later so i then made this.
These took about 24hrs To freeze but were more fragile so they needed something in them to bind them together. I no there is a method of putting sawdust or paper in the ice which gives strength but this raises the freezing time again as acts a little like an insulator which once frozen they don't melt as fast but also the ice looks dirty and not what i,m looking for as we want something that looks like a giant ice cube rather than a wet saw dust block. So i was sticking with just water as was easy to get hold of and looked good. now we need to add some strength so if they crack they still stay in one piece
So i added some mesh a bit like reinforced concrete, this kept the wheels together even when big cracks ran through them. It didn't stop bits chipping off them but thats part of what makes an ice wheel so strange haha. You can see here the moulds i made the centre of the wheel gets pulled down onto a rubber piece of matt to seal it against the base, then the sides are siliconed up so once frozen they can be peeled off and the wheel free'd as with the expansion you get while freezing water getting the wheel out without breaking it was a task in itself.now we need a bike
Well no need to go into detail but its a bmx choose with the frame widened to take the extra wide wheels. i choose a bmx because i could only make 16" diameter wheels as thats all you could fit in a freezer.its a strange thing to pedal as the crank had to be widened to clear the frame, you kinda look like how old ladies walk. so i have a frame but the wheels look a bit blocky.
So had the brilliant idea of making a kind of wheel lathe as making curves in each mould would be tricky to make and just be way more work but with the ice wheel cutter i could even choose different shapes by changing the shape of the blade. This thing worked amazingly well as it didn't chip the wheels and left them smooth and looking more like wheels.
Look what a loverly job it makes.
So with a bike and some wheels of to canada we went to ride it. We got choppered up to a glacier which was loverly but glaciers are not smooth at all so we spend an hour making a path which was fun. so the ice bike got its glacial ride but its most fun on an ice rink. you can do 360's n stuff but its just the unpredictability of the thing thats great as one minute you fine next minute your in a mess with you legs doing the splits. All in all ice wheels are not the future but was a fun task and canada was amazing. thanks uniqlo for the heattech on the mountain. here is some more pictures and a video (from sunday) of me making the wheels and bike. Enjoy