In this instructable I will illustrate how to make an eye catching bike mount for the self motivated urban apartment dweller. The idea for this project sprouted when I myself was in the market for an artistic, good quality mount. I came across the Fixa mount, currently available on Etsy. I really liked the design, but couldn't justify coughing over the $230 listing price, so I decided to make my own. Now having finished this project I'm very happy with the end result, and was able to incorporate my own design improvements along the way.
Approximate overall material cost for this project:
$45 (if you were to buy new high quality hardwood)
$10 (if you were to use reclaimed wood you had laying around)
• Approximately 3 square feet of 3/4 inch thick wood stock
• Two 3/8th x 3in bolts with associated washers
• Wood Glue
• High gloss clear coat (optional)
• Wax paper (optional)
• Two small hinges and associated hardware (optional)
• Wood stain (optional)
• Table saw (hand saw with a steady hand will also work)
• Router (optional)
• Hand Drill
• Palm Sander (sand paper)
• Adjustable Clamps
• Wrench and 9/16th socket
Step 1: Cut Material to Size
The first step is to plan out the overall geometry you would like your mount to be. This will be based on your esthetic preference as well as functional factors. Some things to consider are, protrusion length from the wall in order to give adequate clearance for your handlebars (widest point on most bikes). Another factor is the geometry of your cutout in order to properly accommodate your top tube. If you simply want to copy my layout, you're more than welcome. My initial sketch can be seen above (left clicking any image will enlarge the image to full size).
With your design in hand you can begin cutting the pieces which will make the body of your mount. I used an old closet shelf.
Step 2: Two Tone Side Walls
This step is optional. If you don't have a preference for different colored side walls you can cut all your pieces from the same board. This with simplify the project significantly.
I chose to make my walls from a light colored birch plywood. This was both for the effect, and that I had pieces of this laying around from another project. Since the ply I had was only 1/4in I had to laminate 3 pieces together to get the 3/4in thickness I desired.
Step 3: Create the Cutout for Your Top Tube
In this step we will create the opening which will hold the bike. This is done with a router, a steady hand, and multiple passes to achieve your final depth.
Step 4: Assemble the Body
Now your mount is starting to take shape, and you're ready to assemble the pieces. I began this process by first gluing the side walls to the center divide. After this had time to fully set I could then glue this entire H section to the bottom board. Once the H and bottom board had set I could glue the back board. I simply continued this process for the remainder of the pieces. If you are bold and have enough clamps you may be able to glue multiple boards in the same cure cycle.
Before joining each piece be sure to properly prepare each joint by lightly sanding and cleaning with a damp towel.
Step 5: Reinforce Your Structure
Once I had some spare time I decided do a quick analysis to see whether my instincts regarding the loading were correct. So I modeled the mount and simulated the loading configuration and constraints it would see in practice. With gratification I found my initial concerns to be correct. The multicolored image seen above is what is referred to as a stress contour diagram. The lighter colored areas indicate stress concentrations with red being the highest value as seen in the key to the right of the model.
All this means is that the areas on the model with colors represented higher on the key are experiencing a greater force per unit of area than the areas with colors represented lower on the key.
Taking this information and analyzing the stress contour diagram we can see that the stresses are being concentrated in two locations on the mount. The first is the lower radii of the cutouts where the top tube is being held. The other is the top portion of the joints where the side walls meet the back board. The first location is not concerning since it would require the side walls to fracture mid body in order for it to fail. The second location is much more concerning as this is a joint between the board fixed to the wall and the rest of the mount. To address this I decided to add corner braces to reinforce the top section of this joint.
The last issue to consider is the deflection the mount will see. Another way to think of this is how the mount will bend under the load. The stress contour diagram is also manipulating the model to give you a sense of what this will look like. With this in consideration you can clearly see how the back board is bowing about its center fixed holes. This deflection is exaggerated in the model so that it may be seen more easily. In order to address this issue I added a layer of 1/4in ply to the inner wall of the back board to increase the rigidity. Plywood is helpful for this because of its multidirectional grain structure (this piece was added before adding the corner braces).
Step 6: Design Improvements
This step is optional. You may choose to glue the top board on your mount as one piece (simpler method). Alternatively you can take advantage of the internal space of the mount for storage purposes by incorporating a removable lid. In the Fixa design their top board simply sits on the top of the mount. I decided to incorporate recessed hinges and an aluminum lift tab.
These hinges are readily available at most home improvement stores. The aluminum block I machined on a vertical mill. If you don't have access/know how to use a mill there are many other objects you could use as a lift tab; some quarters, or an old wine bottle cork for example, have fun with it!
Step 7: Drill Mounting Holes
In this step we will drill the mounting holes which will hold the mount to the wall. Make sure these are at a right angle to the top and bottom boards of your mount. The use of a Square is best for this, but you may also improvise. (note: If you are too far off the 90 degree axis you will not be able to install your mount at a level orientation and have both bolt holes align with the wall stud)
Step 8: Sand and Mask
In this step we will sand all surfaces as smooth as possible then mask the sidewalls in preparation for staining. Be sure to take extra time when masking as it is absolutely critical to providing a crisp clean line upon removal. I cannot stress this enough, stain is much worse than paint in that it will try to bleed through the tape and or flow under the tape through the wood. The only advantage you have, and the only reason I think this even worked for me, is that you are setting your line along seams. The wood glue is actually helping prevent stain from flowing through the wood joint and crossing your line.
If you purchased dark wood and are not using reclaimed wood you can skip this step.
Step 9: Staining
In this step we will stain the body of the mount. Don't rush this process by applying large quantities of stain in one sitting as it will only increase the likelihood of stain running past your masked lines. Stain dries relatively fast and rich color can be achieved in as little as 2-3 coats.
Step 10: Clear Coat
Now we are ready to clear coat and seal the entire body.
Step 11: Reasemble
Once you have finished applying your clear coat and it has fully set, you can reassemble your mount. This may take some light sanding so that your lid can open and close with ease, since the clear coat will have added some thickness.
Step 12: Pre Mounting Preparation
You're finally ready to see your work on display. The more hands you can acquire for this step the better. Have a friend hold your mount at different locations around your place until you've found just the right spot. Once you've figured this out have your friend hold your bike up at different heights to see what works best for you.
Once you have your location and height figured out have your friend hold the mount against the wall at this location with a level placed on top. While they are holding the mount open the lid and mark the wall through your mounting holes. Now your friend can rest while you pilot drill your holes. I highly recommend pilot drilling as the bolts are quite large. Once you've finished pilot drilling use your wrench to drive the bolts into the stud. Do this before you have the mount in place as it will take a fair amount of work to drive the bolts in for the first time.
Cut a piece of wax paper to match the size of your back board. This is not a requirement, but at good idea since the board will be pressed against the wall for an unknown period of time. Without this barrier the clear coat may fuse to the paint over its life span making it difficult to remove without damaging the drywall.
Step 13: Mount on the Wall!
Now that you have finished your dry run, you're ready to place the mount on the wall and bolt it in place.
Step 14: Test Your Rig!
Now your ready to see if it just looks pretty or will actually hold your ride. Give it a whirl, and it you followed my procedure you should have a stylish rack that will last for years to come. Enjoy my friend!