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The Bicycle Bubble Machine

by heinzdrei Aug 1, 2015
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The Child Abducter 3000!

It's a fantastic idea. I'm trying to print all the parts but I'm wondering ... Could the wind Wheel been printed without supports? Someone tried it?

Thanks in Advance for replies ;)

Thank you! It's been some time since I've done this, but I think I didn't have success without supports (not just without the supports, actually; the wind wheel was somewhat difficult to model for a complete beginner in OpenSCAD and it had a lot of printing issues at first). But then again, back then I used a rather badly calibrated DIY Kossel printer without any layer cooling and printers have evolved since then -- I've seen much better overhang printing with many more recent printers. I think if you want to be sure, best bet would be to slice it in some slicer that allows visualization of overhangs beyond a certain threshold; or, just try it. Good luck :)

Thanks, I'm just trying without supports and it seems that there is no problem!, I also printed the tank and I tested full of water more than 24 hours without any lack. My 8-years-old son and my 3-years-old daughter are going to enjoy a lot this bubble machine!

Mehr als genial...
Werd dieses Jahr wohl als Clown durch 5 Länder oder so fahren...
Das passt sooo gut...
Dank dir!


"grow smiles" klingt wie genau das Ziel, das ich mit der Maschine auch verfolgt habe - wie schön, ein Lob vom Fachmann zu bekommen, danke :)

Erst mal coole Idee, danke fürs Teilen!!
Kannst du vielleicht die CAD files auch teilen? Ich würde gerne versuchen ein paar Teile so umzudesingen, dass sie weniger/kein Support brauchen :)

Freut mich, dass es Dir gefällt, danke! Ich habe damals noch mit OpenSCAD gearbeitet und die Source-Dateien findest Du unter den Downlads. Ich fürchte nur, dass es ein extrem unübersichtlicher Quellcode ist - ich hab mir damals OpenSCAd irgendwie beigebracht und war in Hetze, weil ich unbedingt an der Challenge teilnehmen wollte.
Welche Teile möchtest Du ändern? Für den Tank hat schon jemand einen Remix gemacht mit weniger Supports. Der Rest brauchte glaube ich eh kaum was, außer das Windrad... Sag mir auch Bescheid, wenn ich irgendwie beim Verständnis der Quellen oder so helfen kann!

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Ja den Seifentank z.B. wo finde ich denn den Remix?


Den Ring in miroks remix benutze ich nicht (verklebt bei mir die Blasen), aber der Tank ist echt besser!

More stability, more rings, more bulbs, more fun.
by mirok

ok, cool danke! Das schau ich mir mal an !

Very cool. I could actually see myself doing that just because.... lol.


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What filament type do you recommend? Is PLA okay? PETG? Thanks!

PLA is perfect. For the tanks a very good layer adhesion is crucial, like with vases. With PLA I still get the best results, but you may be fine with PETG (I don't get adhesion as good as with PLA with it, however, but that may have been that particular spool)

This is so awesome!
Thanks a lot for sharing your fantastic idea!

Thank you! It makes me happy that people still appreciate this :)

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Any thoughts to making mounts with magnets in them for cars? I'm not sure about highway speeds, but i imagine for 20 or even 30 miles per hour it would be fine, with strong enough magnets of course.

I haven't tried, as I'm more the bicycle guy :)
There have been people asking about a motorcycle mount. I believe magnets would have to be really strong or you would have to find some way of stopping them from slowly being dragged over your car's rooftop by the relative wind ... I did think about some way of mounting them in the gap between a side window and the door but then didn't work on it any further. I think best would be if you had a luggage rack on your car, so you could mount the machine to it with some sort of clip and screws.

A luggage rack based design would probably be a better idea, although if one were to use magnets, i would add some thin rubber strips or something else grippy, and since we would be using strong magnets, i imagine the friction would be enough at lower speeds. I really like the door mounted idea, since you can keep a eye on it, and might not have to worry about it growing wings. That's a fair bit of redesigning though... eh, how hard could be?

I didn't follow that path with the window mount further. I initially had the idea because of the plastic cup holders you can sometimes buy that slide into the window gap from the inside. It might be hard to get this robust enough, as it can't be that thick or else it won't fit into that gap, which is even thinner in modern cars. I guess layer orientation would be very important: I'd suggest printing the mount on the side, so the U shape that's supposed to slide into the gap would lie on the printers bed, and use some tougher material than PLA ... but thinking about it, I really believe this will still be a risky design and may break at some point -- the whole tank thing when filled with liquid has quite some weight and a wind wheel is by purpose designed to have a certain drag against the wind.

If you have the tools, you might try to bend a U shape holder from sheet metal and adjust the tank design so it can be screwed to the sheet metal.

For a printed design, attaching the whole thing to the luggage rack would be the much safer way to go, I'd think.

Could you tell me the weight when you fill it with fluid? I sorta figured for the drag, forgot about the extra weight of the fluid, and now that we mention it, the vibration thats caused by it turning might also become problematic at higher speeds, although im hoping/assuming the soap would act as a lubricant. And i was thinking about printing this in either petg, since thats nice to work with, and won't melt on a hot day, or nylon, but thats just because i really want to make something that gets stressed tested with nylon. I have a friend with a wider gap in between her window and car (old car), so i could see it maybe working, although i think your right about it not surviving well, unless i use nylon... although the way she drives, maybe not even then.

I just filled one tank I still had lying around (mirok's remix actually, but that should be nearly the same volume) and found it wouldn't take more than 350ml fluid. Under the assumption that bubble liquid had roughly the same specific weight as water (can't test, don't have any lying around, however I think it will be somewhat heavier), that would be 350g. Slicing the tank for use with PETG (assuming a density of 1.38g/cm^3) slic3r gives me a weight of about 206g. To that, you'll have to add some for the wind wheel and wind wheel holder as well as whatever it is you mount the stuff to (for my bicycle version, I used a piece of wood). This will easily add up to more than 1kg. So if you go for the door window mount idea, you should consider some sort of a diagonal strut leaning against the car door -- if you cantilever that weight I guess it's bound to damage something.

Oh, and of course, please do this at your own risk -- I really hope that friend is a good friend :D

She is, and with the amount of work it would take to get this to go on a car, im now thinking of doing one half or one quarter scale, and redesigning the bubble wheel for that smaller one so i still get bigish bubbles, and maybe play with the tank so it lasts a bit longer at that scale, than just attatching (maybe gluing, maybe using some steel filament, need to test that) it to a welding magnet (i have a large STRONG one), which in turn should sit quite still on her roof.

I'm curious how it will turn out and I would be very happy to see the results or see a remix :)

Think about whether you really want to scale this down -- this was my first bigger OpenSCAD project, the code is embarrassingly messy and while in the beginning I tried to keep it parameterized, this soon wasn't possible anymore. If you go for a really big magnet, I'd probably just try the original design and alter it to mount it to the magnet ... Just my opinion -- I'm glad this machine still appeals to people and I'm looking forward to seeing your work :)

Thanks, i was originally think of scaling down the print and disecting the magnet (it's two big squares attached by arms so i can angle pieces if i wanted too) but i think i was over thinking/complicating it. I could use the magnet as is, tweak the clamps a little, and just attach everything to the roof. Maybe i'll make her stay in a parking lot if she decided to drive with it (doubly so since im not sure thats legal on a car). Either tomorrow or the day after i'll start playing with the clamps, and than probably see if i can get it on there. Once i figure out how stable it is and if there is another way to attach it, like say the luggage racks, i might post a remix. I'll definitely post when i make it though.

Wie viel Plastik verbraucht das insgesamt?

Auwei. Ist jetzt zwei Jahre her, ich hab keine Ahnung -- mir fiele jetzt nur ein, dass man das ganze nochmal probehalber slicet. Alles, was ich sagen kann, ist, dass die ganze Maschine von einer Spule kam, das ist also die Höchstgrenze ... sorry!

Ok werd Ich machen... Trotzdem danke für die Antwort!

danke für dein cooles Design, ich hab mir dein Blubberrad 'ausgeborgt' und für meine Bubbleblast (https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2438587) etwas abgewandelt. Ich hoffe das geht in Ordnung.

by froetz

Klar, deshalb lade ich die Sachen ja hoch :) Und danke für die Erwähnung!

I think the police will capture me and bring me to some madhouse if i cycle around with this ;-)

Well, I was lucky -- they were really nice when they saw us filming the video, didn't mind at all and just had their laugh :)
I asked them whether we could film a short scene where they stop and search me, but unfortunately they didn't want that.

Hey kurze Frage wozu dienen die Clips denn ich kann sie auf keinem Bild zuordnen danke =)

Die Clips sind für ein schnelles, unkompliziertes An- und Abmontieren an einem typischen Gepäckträger. Du kannst es ganz am Anfang meines Videos kurz sehen: erst schiebt man es von der Seite, leicht geneigt dagegen, bis die seitlich offenen Clips auf der einen Seite einrasten, dann drückt man die andere Seite runter, bis dort die nach unten geneigten Clips einrasten. Mann schraubt sie einfach passend zum eigenen Gepäckträger von unten gegen das Brett. Falls Du einen anderen Durchmesser benötigst, sag Bescheid!

Ich danke dir für die schnelle Antwort finde es ist eine super Idee =)

Danke! Hat mir viel Freude gemacht letzten Sommer und es ist schön, dass es immer noch Leute bauen :)

That just puts a really ,really big smile on my face ! :)

Thank you very much, then it served its purpose :)

Funny that you commented today: just yesterday I found your braiding machine on instructables and then on thingiverse, marvelled for a while on it and then decided, that me and the kids have been in desperate need of a braiding machine probably for ages without noticing it! I'll definitely try it, as soon as I have finished or abandoned my own project for the 3d printing contest :)

Oh my God.... Last summer I had this very same idea in my head. Some details were different, but the basic idea and structure was exactly the same! Unfortunately it never turned into reality, in spite of the fact that I had everything it would have taken (mind and education of an engineer, SolidWorks and a 3D-printer) . But you didn't leave it just to level of an idea but you made it real, Heinzdrei. Big hand for you!

Thank you :)
I wish I knew how to work with mature CAD-Programs ... I recently started with Fusion360, as it's free for hobbyists, and I like it, but I'm always impressed what real engineers manage to realize just in software. Thanks again, I'm glad you like it :)

Most definitely awesome.

Hi, can you put some pictures of the assembly? That way will be easier to follow your instructions. Thanks.

You're right -- I now included a link to the detailed instructions I posted on instructables.com. Please see here for: http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Bicycle-Bubble-Machine/ . I hope that helps!

Your design is amazing. The instructions also. Thanks for your time. My kids are thanking you.

Your design looks seriously similar to a 2nd year project I did on the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam) a little over a year ago. Could it be that you have visited an exhibition there?

Oh, btw, video here:

No, I've never seen it before, although it's cool! Haven't been to Amsterdam since years, but things like your installation remind me that I should more often go to places where there is a really active artist community :( I actually first tried to make my bubble machine without any belt or gears at all (see my blog link in the description), but it just didn't work good enough at slower speeds, which is why I came up with this design.

I very much like the idea with the added color doing aleatoric painting -- what kind of color did you use? I would have thought that any added color would impair the characteristics of the bubble fluid.

Thanks, it was actually the first design I made, not much iteration required.

The time spent on the bubble mix was a whole different level. I have used food coloring in the end, and a bubble mix with glycerine. At first I tried out a 'J-Lube' mix, but the bubbles were too cohesive, this caused the bubbles to stick to the bubble-blowing device too much and mess up the flow.. The solution had a good lifespan and would carry just the right amount of food coloring. In the end after running the machine for a couple of days at the exhibition, the whole paper roll became like a soup. Dystopia galore.

Thanks a lot!
I make little remix for easy to print, but I take off my hat to heinzdrei!

Thank you! I had a look at your modification to the tank and indeed, I should have thought of that :) Being able to print without support saves you the hassle of removing the support in the tank where the opening lies. Very good!

If you want to change the original project, it has two small notes:

  1. The underside of four holes should be conical. Since prints better and countersunk head screws compatible.
  2. Inside the tank, I added one horizontal bulkhead, for preventing failures, but it is better to make them two or three.

Thanks a lot for your tips, I will try to adjust the tank design -- and I'll see that I upload the OpenSCAD sources (I didn't dare to do this up to now, as I'm still very much of a beginner and the source is an ugly mess that probably no one will understand; maybe not even me anymore).

This tning - the best start of all that can be!
And do not hesitate!
OpenSKAD sources-could have saved me a lot of time.

Thank you for you kind words and the good tips -- I will upload the sources tonight after work, sorry for not doing this earlier.

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files are perfekt, projekt is awsome. thx allot man.
But pullys are Creative Commons - Attribution - Share Alike license. so your's is also Creative Commons - Attribution - Share Alike license!
You can't leave share alike away.


Thank you! I changed the license to "Crative Commons - Attribution - Share Alike", sorry, I did not think about this. Thanks for the hint!

Nice :D you sure brought joy to the kids

Where are the clips you reference in the instructions?

Ok, now uploaded

Damn, I forgot to upload them! I'm right now at work and completely snowed under, but I will upload them tonight (in Europe). Sorry!

If your luggage rack is not made of 10mm diameter tubes, tell me and I'll make adjusted ones. I did not yet upload the OpenSCAD source files as I am a beginner and they are terribly poorly parameterized :/

Just checked them, they are indeed 10mm. Thanks!

Oh and another note: before I made the clips, I fixed this with simple zip ties on the luggage rack. Not as elegant, but works for the beginning.

That is so awesome! Great idea.

I will be making this for sure to entertain my girls. what a neat idea and fun execution!

Thank you for the design!

Brilliant, innovative, and ingenious!

You might not be a store-bought "engineer", but that tank design is pretty advanced. You covered all the concerns nicely, and ended up with an elegant product. A+

Thank you! The tank part was not just a challenge, but the most fun part of it all -- it's so much fun, diving into technical problems and trying to solve them :)

I love the idea, here is more. Maybe try a full bubble wheel to reduce drag and add different bubble sizes?
Like this : http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:539019
Also having a funnel to speed up the air going thru the bubble wand would make it easier at lower rotational speed.


Thank you, those are very good ideas. I really like the full bubble wheel idea and will try this, as well as the different bubble sizes. I also thought about a funnel, but then noticed that after a good starting speed bubbles continue blowing at a relatively comfortable pace, so I didn't feel that big of a need -- but the funnel is definitely something I'll try. That's the best about all this 3D printing -- I just don't have to think about it for too long, I can just try it :)

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this is GREAT.

the kids running after the bike are like the kids in the "rat catcher from hameln" story.
i need to make this asap.
once i am in the park i will catch myself some more kids.

actually.. an austrian should probably not post such things on the internet.. ;)

thank you soo much!

you should get/make some UV bubbles and stick a battery powered black light on the back and do a video. pretty please?

Wow. That's a cool idea, I've never known about the existence of UV bubble fluid. Right now I'm completely broke after spending much too much on tinkering the last months, but I assure you: one beautiful day I'll try this :)

fun story: i just bought some hundered UV leds i have no use for.

do you want some for free?

PM me

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yeah!!! great work!!

Tolles design und wunderbare video.

Danke! Es tut gut, dass es Menschen gefällt :)