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Believe it or not, this is a bicycle wheel (click on the image for a high-res version)

Things have been a bit slow at work lately, so I decided to expand on my 3D modelling skills and teach myself the intricacies of Grasshopper, a parametric/generative modelling plugin for Rhino which is a NURBS modelling program used extensively in architecture (my field) as well as jewelry and boat design.  Essentially, Grasshopper is a visual programming infrastructure that allows one to easily modify a design through parametric relationships.

The wheel that I have modeled here is based on a Phil Wood (natch) high-flange front track hub laced radially to a Velocity Deep-V.  I suppose I should have chosen a Mavic Open Pro if I really wanted to mash-up the old school bike standards with new school technology, but alas.

The image of the definition above represents a wheel that is 99% parametric: other than the profile of the rim (which I drew based on an image from Velocity’s website) everything else about the wheel is easily modifiable with sliders.  The spoke count, spoke thickness, flange height, flange width, hub width, wheel size and tire size are all variable.

Wheel With 32 Spokes


Wheel With 48 Spokes

I’m pretty sure that I have messed up the lacing a little bit, as I think that the holes on the left and right side of the hub would be offset from each other to ensure that the spokes are truly radial, but it’s really close right now.  I’m not very good with data structures, so I know that there is a much easier way to create a Grasshopper definition without so much repeating of commands.  I will be further refining this and will hopefully attempt to model other components of a bicycle until I’ve got the whole thing.  If you’re interested in the Grasshopper file, hit me up in the comments and I’ll figure out a way to post it for people to use and modify.

It seems odd that my first post for this blog would be about Paris rather than Boston, but C’est la vie. On July 1 I leave for a month-long program for my M.Arch degree in Paris. I will be living on the boundary of the 13eme and 14eme and the Périphérique (map!). I am getting toward the end of my Master’s degree (that I am earning from the Boston Architectural College-or BAC) and it was the perfect time to go away for a month, as I am currently unemployed. I’m obviously very excited about the architecture-related experiences that I’ll have, but just behind that is my anticipation for all the bicycle-related Parisian tomfoolery that is sure to ensue.

I hope to make extensive use of Paris’ new bike-sharing program, the one that the proposed Boston program is based on. I have read on the internet that you may need to have a credit card with a special chip in it (one that American-based cards generally don’t have), and that without one it may be between completely impossible and extraordinarily difficult to utilize the program (Times article). If that doesn’t work out, I’ve found a place up in the 8eme 18 Velo Vintagethat appears to sell some nice 70’s and 80’s steel steeds that should do the job (27″ wheels or not…) Otherwise it seems like there are a smattering of cheap bikes on Paris Craigslist that I could pick up for $100 and sell for that much if not lose a few bucks, in which case I get a bike to ride in Paris for a month for $25, sounds like a deal. It appears that in Paris they rock the Critical Mass schedule a bit differently than we do here in The Bean. They roll on the first Saturday of every month. Personally, I like that we roll on Fridays here (the last of the month to be specific) because there is generally a larger exposure of the mass to the rest of the vehicular-commuting populace. That being said, it will be really interesting to ride in CM’s that are so close temporally, if not geographically.

March 2017
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