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AtomicZombie Extreme Machines Newsletter for November 20, 2014

making mudguards

Making a pair of homemade tadpole trike mudguards using sink waste pipe

A bike builder shares her innovative solution


making mudguards During the winter, I have found that having trike mudguards is a necessary evil. The spray from wet roads is directed at you as you turn and constantly at your hands due to their position while holding the handlebars. My problem was trying to find a pair of mudguards to fit that looked the part.

Normal mudguards for bicycles are made to mount on the front forks and be supported on both sides and these looked wrong on the trike; supporting the guards on a single mudguard wire mount proved to be inadequate. This problem combined with the AtomicZombie thread “mudguards on the cheap” got me thinking about how to make some simple mudguards that look right and were adequately supported on one side, and to support the lights on the mudguard arms.

The mudguard arms were fabricated using 20mm x 3mm bar. The mudguard mounting ends were curved to fit the contour of the mudguards and at the other end the two bars were welded together to give strength. Then, short pieces of 22mm tube were welded to the arms for the headlight mounts. These were bolted to mudguard mounts welded onto the brake arms.
using a form to bend fenders
The mudguards were formed from blanks cut from 40mm floplast tubing (supplied in 2m or 3m lengths; it is relatively inexpensive at £3 per length). It’s generally used as kitchen sink waste pipe. The tube was cut in half lengthways about 33 inches long. This length was calculated as 21 inches for the mudguard and 6 inches at each end for binding to the wheel and as a handle to hold while forming the shape. The mudguard can be formed around a slick style tyre covered with a silver baking foil (the former) to reflect heat.

I found that holding the wheel used as a former in a workmate, and binding the first 3 inches of the blank to the tyred wheel with pvc insulating tape and a couple of cable ties. To get a good “pull” around the tyre, it is really a two person job; one to hold the heat gun and maintain the pressure to pull the blank around the former and the second person to ensure that the softened plastic tube can be held against the former as it cools. Care and patience are required to keep the blank straight as it is pulled around the former and maintain a constant heat without burning the surface.
making mudguards
Don’t expect a perfect mudguard every time. It took a few attempts to get a couple of mudguards, but don’t worry if the edges are not perfect as the finished mudguard will need to be trimmed. I found that using a pencil line drawn around the mudguard was the simplest way to mark it ready to trim it using a grinder and cutting disc.

Once cut and trimmed, the finished mudguard can be sanded to remove any “burnt surface blistering” before being filled with car body filler and sprayed using an acrylic undercoat. Then, a colour coat was finished off with a coat of clear lacquer for an added gloss. The finished item was left undisturbed for 24 hours or so to ensure the paint hardened and would not mark when handled.

The advantage of these mudguards is that they are extremely tough and durable. However, a lot of care is required to ensure that the mudguards are pulled squarely around the former with enough heat to allow the mudguard to mould itself around without burning too much. The disadvantage of the mudguards is the time taken to curve around the former to make an acceptable shape.
homemade guard arms
One of my next projects is to make a mould from a metal 1980s shopper mudguard and casting the mudguards in fibre glass, more on this later. I hope that these will become a saleable item.

Many thanks to Emma for this informative DIY project. You can read more about Emma’s mudguard project on the ATOMICZOMBIE FORUM.

AtomicZombie newsletters are packed with features and information for bicycle enthusiasts.

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