Hydraulic or air powered carousel horse, is it possible?

I have a niece who is fond of carousel rides, and I wanted to try to make her a fun ride.  Is it possible to have a hydraulic system (Like the ones they use in lowriders, perhaps...) or air pump be used to raise and lower a carousel horse while someone is sitting on it?  My initial idea is this... I turn a switch on starting the pump, and the horse slowly raises up about 1 foot... turn the switch off, and the horse goes back down, repeat, etc....  Anyone knowledgeable who could help me with this?  Thank you!

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Did you consider a motor for the job?
There a nice geared motor systems for tables and tredmills out there.
It is basically a worm drive that spins a long threaded rod, the rod sits in a nut on the moving part.
Very little power required, not too fast in speed and plenty of torque/lifting power.
Although the classic design calls for guide rails on the top where the horse is held on the rail with a roller - rail goes up, horse goes up.
Makes the build a more complicated though.....

Isabelle356 (author)  Downunder35m2 years ago

Sounds like a good idea... but I can't picture it... could you try to show me a picture of what you are considering? Thanks.

Many ways to do this but all complicated.

Make a horse with a wheel at the front that is off center.

let you niece peddle it round a central support.


1st problem get a horse.



An image to show what I had in mind.


Really not good at drawing, so take a pic from the web:


The motor drives the "screw" inside the actuator.
The actuator comes out like a hydraulic jack.
All you need is two limit switches and a bit of simple circuitry to make the motor change directions when hitting the limit switches.

FarmerKJS2 years ago

Hydraulics or Pneumatics can definitely work for what you are trying to do. You could use an arduino and solenoid valve to automate the up down process.

To make pressure you would need to either a air compressor or a hydraulic pump. Also you need the correct tubing to handle your pressurized air or oil. The most expensive part will be the cylinder. It can be Air or hydraulic.

Personally I would go for the Pneumatic route as you can get parts cheaper/easier. Although you cannot get as much control with pneumatics.

Pneumatics won't work well here at all. It's very difficult to get slow steady movement with it. The simplest way is with a motor and a gearbox, with an eccentric mounted on the end.


Isabelle356 (author)  FarmerKJS2 years ago
I'm thinking pneumatics would be a better choice for me. (After all, hydraulic fluid is flammable and I could have an accident/fire if something goes terribly wrong...) Could you guide me to the right equipment? I'm guessing an air compressor/pump would be one of the things I need to buy. Do you know a specific kind of tubing that would work underneath the horse? I plan to have the air compressor "Push" the horse/rider up, if that helps any...

Do you have an air compressor already most will work.

Also you will need a cylinder Take your pick http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_11?url=se...

Here is a valve you can hook it to a button or interface via relay with arduino http://www.amazon.com/Electric-Solenoid-Replacemen...

If you search pneumatic hose you should find something suitable.

As steveastrouk pointed out pneumatics usually go fast. A way to get around this would be to use a regulater

Hydraulic fluid would be very hard to set on fire.