How to Turn Old Soda Cans into a Working Electrical Motorbike Toy
If the video player is not working, you can click on this alternative video link.
If you are looking for a new project, and happen to have a few old soda cans lying around, you might want to check out this one. Using a little ingenuity, a battery, motor, some wooden sticks, and cans, you too can make this amazing working DIY motorbike.
Now let's get down to work!
As you can imagine, like any project of this nature, you'll need some tools and materials before you get started.
Materials and gear needed
- Sunboard sheets
- DC motor
- 9 volt battery
- Soldering iron
- Soldering wire
- Connecting wires
- Wooden sticks or skewers
- Hot glue gun
- Popsicle sticks/Ice cream sticks
Once you have all the tools and gear needed, it is time to get on with this great little build.
Step 1: Build the propulsion system
The first step is to take your popsicle sticks and trim one of them into two short lengths. With that complete, cut two cross members and glue the three pieces of wood together as shown below.
Next, grab one of your 9V batteries, a battery connector, a DC motor, and a micro switch. Position and stick the 9V battery to the wider bottom of the popsicle stick frame you just built.
Once done, position and glue the motor to the top of the battery as shown below.
With that complete, attach the battery connector to the terminals of the battery as needed. Then grab the switch and glue it into position to one side of the battery connector on the popsicle frame.
With that complete, grab your soldering iron, and solder the positive wire from the battery connector to one terminal of the switch. Next, take another length of wire (it is recommended you choose a different color to those on the connector) and solder one end to the other terminal of the switch.
With that done, solder the negative wire of the battery connector to one terminal of the DC motor, and then complete the circuit by soldering the third wire (in this case grey in color) to the last terminal of the DC motor.
With that complete, add a small plastic pulley to the main axle of the motor.
Step 2: Make the wheels
With the main drive system effectively complete, we can now move on to the bodywork and wheels of the toy bike. To this end, grab a pair of empty soda cans. Mark a band around the base of one of the cans as shown below.
With that done, cut off the base of the can along the topmost line of the band. Next, snip some vertical lines using a pair of scissors between the lines of the band all the way around the can base.
With that complete, cut out the base of the second can of the same dimensions as the first below the bottommost line of the band. Take the new piece of the can and push it against the first to form a twin-can wheel.
With that done, seal the two halves of the wheel using a strip of insulation tape or another adhesive tape. Once done, poke a hole through the very center of the can wheel for mounting on an axle later.
If desired, add a series of radiating lines using more strips of insulation tape, or paint by hand, on the inner hub of the can wheel. Alternatively, you can leave it as bare metal.
With that done, cut a short length of plastic tubing, and glue the wheel to it. Rinse and repeat to make a second wheel.
Next, either make your own or use a suitably sized pulley and glue this to one end of one of the wheel's plastic axles.
With that done, take some wooden skewers and cut one or two down to size to make a mounting frame (and axle) for the drive wheel. Feed one stick through the center of the wheel hub and then glue another two lengths to either side of the axle as shown below.
You will need to bore some small holes to the main support arms of the wheels to easily fit the axle piece between them. The wheel should be able to spin freely around the wooden axle via its fixed plastic tube so don't glue these pieces together.
With that complete, take a small elastic band and place it on the main drive wheel's axle. Next, glue the wheel support arms to the main chassis as shown below.
Then connect the pulley of the motor to the pulley of the drive wheel using the same elastic band.
With the wheel now connected, give the propulsion system a quick test run. When you flick the switch, the main wheel should spin freely.
Step 3: Add the wheels to the body
With the main parts of the rear of the bike more or less complete, we can move on to building the front. Cut a small length of a popsicle stick and glue it at a slight angle to the front of the main chassis.
Next, cut a small length of a wooden skewer and stick this to the top of the previous popsicle stick.
Next, build another mounting frame for the front wheel of the bike. Glue the arms of the supports to the horizontal piece on the bike's main chassis.
With that done, take the tops of one of the soda cans and cut out the middle plate. Leave the ring pull in place.
Snip off the top and one side of it, and then bend the remaining part into an L-shape.
Glue the piece into place on top of the battery and in front of the motor as shown below.
Rinse and repeat to make a second piece and glue that opposite the first on top of the battery.
Next, take a pair of old mini speakers and glue them together.
With that done, take size ring pulls and glue them into place to the pair of speakers to make a mock engine block. Next, glue this to the main bike chassis as needed.
With that done, take some pieces of a soda can and cut them into fairly thick strips. Glue several pieces together, and trim down where needed, to make a faux fuel tank sit above the engine.
Once complete, glue it into place on the bike above the "engine".
Step 4: Continue adding decorative features to the bike
Next, take some sun board and sketch out a small saddle design onto it. Cut two equally sized pieces, bend them a little to shape them into a bike seat, and then glue them together.
Next, paint the entire piece black. Once the paint is dry, glue the seat into place behind the fuel tank.
With that complete, cut another strip of a used soda can to make a wheel arch for the front wheel. Once complete, glue it into place above the front wheel.
Make a second wheel arch for the rear wheel, and glue that into place also. With that complete, take a length of soft metal, like solder, and bend it into a handlebar shape.
Make some handle grips from rolls of insulation tape, and stick these onto the arms of the handlebars. Once done, glue the piece on top of the front wheel supports.
With that done, find an old decorative gemstone (plastic or glass) and glue this into place in front of the handlebars to make a fake headlight.
With that done, take another piece of a soda can and roll it into a cylinder. Do the same for a second cylinder but with a smaller diameter. Hold the cylinder rolls together using pieces of sticky-backed plastic or glue them.
Next, insert the small roll into the larger one to make a fake exhaust pipe. Glue the piece into place on the main body of the bike.
And with that, your DIY toy motorbike is now fully built. You can continue to add more decorative features to the bike to your heart's content.
You may also want to consider painting the entire thing but that is completely up to you.
Now all that remains is to take it for a spin.
If you enjoyed this little DIY project, you may enjoy something a little more challenging. How about, for example, building a miniature working V4 engine?