Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I have just completed a fleet of ‘Kaki Limas’ for the Adelaide based group, Tutti Arts.  Tutti is an inclusive multi arts organisation creating opportunities for artists with disabilities to make extraordinary art. The collaborative relationship between participants, professional artists and the wider community supports the development of talent across a range of creative disciplines including film and new media.

These are based on food carts that are a common sight on the streets of Indonesia and form the central part of a collaboration with a number of artists from Jogjakarta.  Over the coming months these Kaki Limas will be variously decorated and developed as sites for performance and action by groups of artists working collaboratively.  They will be presented in September of 2015 as a component of the Oz Asia Festival.  There will be quite a range of approaches to the decoration and alteration of the carts - so stay tuned for updates and shots of the final outcomes.

A big thanks goes out to  Standish Cycles Mile End and Bikecorp for their generous support in assisting with the supply of some of the bike specific bits and pieces.


The final designs are somewhat of an interpretation of the traditional Kaki Lima as a number of the commonly used parts such as the particular wheels are not as readily available in Australia.  They also need to be component based to assist in their transportation and allow as much potential in embellishment process. All of the panels are currently held in place by screws, making it simple to add doors or hatches of any kind. Pragmatically, they need to be able fit through a domestic door frame and also be more mobile than a conventional Kaki Lima.  A brake was another component.  These have been fitted with a single V-brake, as seen on many bicycles, and have the potential to be fitted with a second.

Henry Jock Walker is a local artist who will be working together with Scott Pyle on one of the Kaki Limas.  Jock has also been assisting in the construction phase. 

Friday, March 6, 2015


A fairly straight forward  lathe job producing a set of rollers that fit an electric motor.  These particular ones will be fitted to a set of stationary cycle trainers and run in reverse, generating electricity, rather than using it.  Look out for Jack Ladd's Leg powered cinema coming to a site near you soon.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


 I recently completed a bunch of wacky bike furniture and bar dressing things for a component of the Adelaide Fringe Festival venue, the Royal Croquet Club.  Here's a few piccies.

Friday, February 6, 2015


I've had this idea brewing for a little while and recently had the opportunity to get it into a more realised form.  The combination of bicycle rims and frame tubes seemed to make a good set of materials from which to make a stool.  I was especially keen to try and develop a design that revolved around 3 legs so that a complete stool could be built from one frame.  This would be pragmatic but also offer the chance to really retain the identity of a bike.

These stools use a 20" rim and are about 330mm high.  I also made a couple of more table like versions that use a 27" and a 26" rim, respectively.


Making a good jig to hold things in place whilst they are tacked together or generally worked on is always a satisfying thing.  Here are a few process shots of some of the steps for making the recycled bicycle frame stools that needed jig action.

 Step 1 involves holding the rim in a centred position with a suitable frame that can have other bits clamped to and around it.

Step 2 requires holding tabs in place, butted against the rim whilst being able to rotate the whole assembly and make some discreet tack welds.

A couple of steps on and it needed a bunch more clamping, positioning and manouvring potential.
A couple of other jigs for this project included a kind of resting jig that holds the finally assembled parts in place an allows access for welding inside.  I also finally got around to making a simple circle cutting jig for my router - pretty much shed techniques 101 - but I haven't done it before.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Rat glamour darling


I've been itching to birth one of these beasts for a while and the planets have finally aligned.  There are quite a few variations out there of how to go about it.  I chose to float a steerer tube forward of the seat tube and create a square frame that more or less maintains the seat tube angle.  Here's a bunch of build shots of the usual ratty jig - also made to pump out a few of the square frames for future experimentation.  It's made from all recycled tubing, repurposed from otherwise forgotten and discarded bicycles.  I made a kind of double ended joiner for multiple swing appendages which may appear in other variations.

Friday, September 12, 2014


I recently worked on a project with a fella who is a bit of a fabrication and toolmaker guru.  I picked up a huge range of tips and experience along the way and it has helped to guide my skills growth immeasurably.  I have mostly been keen to improve my TIG welding and I have definitely come away with a whole new approach.  All welding and fabrication requires hours of practice and honing to realize the best results and so I am excited to pursue a bunch of things that will yield practical outcomes and improve my skills.  This exercise combined a number a of skills focus elements as well as little problem solving.

The goal was to produce a guide that assists in holding a tube so that the end can approach an upright linishing belt so that it can be held square to the belt with nominal deviation.  Now that I’m staring to get a handle on treating TIG with the precision it is designed for, rather then swinging it like an axe, it’s nice to attempt some finer fusion.  

Wingnut modification for bolt head for clamping bolts – easy to hold turn with gloves on.  These actually work upside down to the photograph, as in, they tighten underneath the bed of the linisher.

Oh, and I may have got a little excited…  and made a box…  everyone loves a tool that comes in a box, right?...

Monday, August 11, 2014


After such a massive amount of energy being injected into the realisation of this fantasy it has been a pleasure to include it in an exhibition.  The overall show included a number of bikes, paintings and sculptures that explore various ways in which bicycles might be shifted to be considered in a more creative way and ways in which these things might help us to think about the world around us. 

Here are a few glamour shots of the bike, courtesy of Sam Roberts Photography. Of course it is important to note at this stage that the bike is most exciting when it is outside, doing its natural thing, rather than being motionless in a gallery. Those shots will come in due time.

The surface finish of this bike is a simple clear lacquer, allowing the viewer to see all of the metals' nuances and processes involved.  In terms of shifting the object into a sculptural consideration the emphasis here is on an honesty and directness in relation to materials. It will be great to build this up one day with a suite of juicy high end parts but that will have to wait for future versions and presentations.  The current build is courtesy of a generic urban single speed donor bike -pragmatic and cost effective with room for added indulgence.  

                     The bike becomes free standing courtesy of its easel attachment.

The easel component fits to the frame via a pair of bidon mounts.

    The easel extensions are fixed in place via grub screws.

                                                 Did I mention attention to detail?

                                      Upper BB floating around all on its lonesome.

Lower BB junction

Seat stays.  If you look really closely (assume a squinting stance in front of your screen) you can see the tiny ring of bronze where the stays have been extended.


This is a project that has passed through a range of phases to reach it’s current point.  It’s a basic riff on the idea of painting outside or en plein air, combined in this case with my fascination with the bicycle as a site for creativity.  You can check out some of the background and early versions of the project here .  The Easel Rider has become somewhat of a central reference point in a whole range of investigations that I’ve been pursuing over the last year or so.  Most of my outcomes have embraced a DIY approach that has a sense of punk and the backyard.  And whilst I certainly celebrate these politics and aesthetics I have always had a desire to see what would happen if I could find a way to execute some of these ideas to a very high degree of engineering.  I was recently able to negotiate some support from Arts SA to engage a highly skilled fabricator working in the bicycle industry to work with to realise this vision.  The following images and words document some of the many processes involved in reaching the outcome.

I chose to work with Jesse Geisler at the Bike Bar, in Melbourne.  Jesse is a man who is committed to accuracy and precision and has an approach suited to the challenge of realising a creative project.  I have know Jesse for a number of years through my own involvement in the industry and it is fair to say that he is a well-known for his uncompromising attitude.  Due to a number of external factors the turnaround time for the project became very compact, resulting in a couple of weeks of long and intense days of action to achieve our result.  Jesse’s workshop is a bit of a wonderland of exciting machinery and exotic bicycle components.  He is often engaged in frame repairs and preparation and has extensive experience toolmaking and a range of metal fabrication.
This project required a broad range of processes that I have had a mild understanding of in the past but no real hands-on experience so it was a huge learning opportunity for me.  Suffice to say, all of the processes were executed to a much higher degree of precision than is often the case in my shed.

After the development of a number of analogue and digital drawings we were able to arrive at a set of accurate lengths and angles to pursue.  Our tube selection included a range of conventional bicycle tubing components combined with some straight gauge chromoly tubing.  Most of the easel attachment has been made with stainless steel.  The drawing phase allowed us to compare conventional angles and angles of my prototypes as well as resolve dropout design.

The next step was to do a loose lay up of the frame which provided us with a more resolved understanding of the aesthetic of our tube diameter choices.

After mitering all of the tube junctions and the attachment of the upper bottom bracket the main frame was fixed in place on the table.  This approach differs from the conventional use of a frame jig which is limited in its parameters.  This particular instance required some ingenious extension of the engineering table on order to hold everything in place.

Once firmly in place each join could be tack welded.  For this build I wanted to use as much TIG welding as possible.  It is a process that I am developing my own skills in and one that I enjoy for it’s elegant outcomes.  I am attracted to the immediacy of the process that remains present in the finished aesthetic of the weld.  It is a process which has less ability to conceal short comings.

The particular angles of this frame required a bespoke dropout design.  Most often these are laser cut and then hand finished.  Being that Jesse is a purveyor of processes and machines considered obsolete by industry but still capable of high quality outcomes we chose to use a pantograph to cut the dropouts.  A pantograph is a type of machine that preceded laser cutting as a process and employs a series of linkages to drive a cutting head along a path which is determined by a template. The linkages are adjustable to be able to translate patterns or templates across a range of scale.  In this case we produced a version of the dropout in perspex, cut and finished by hand at a larger scale, which became our guide for cutting 6mm steel in our final proportions.

You can see the original mounted on the right and the facsimile in the process of being cut, on the left.

The dropouts then received a little tidying and finishing with the mill.

Below is an image of one of the finished dropouts.  Also pictured is a fork tip in preparation for insertion.  Jesse prepares his fork and frame tips in a way that includes a positive fitment of material rather than the common approach of simply inserting into slots filled with bronze.

Here are a few shots of the fork assembly process.  This is the steerer tube being fixed into the crown.  Those of you more familiar with common lengths might notice that this is quite uncommon.

This process involves the application of quite a lot of heat.  The heat bricks help to focus and maintain the heat required.  You’ll notice the presence of two torches here - one which is generating the largest part of the heat required, the other is applied in a more focussed manner.


Lots of heat.

The fork blades being slotted.

 Final fork assembly brazing.  Note the pink flux applied to the components to be joined.  


This image shows the process of extending the seat stays. Here they are held in the lathe and set to turn whilst heat is applied in order to braze the parts.

Indie watches all of the processes closely to ensure quality control.