The user divides the surface into sections with the marker, writes choices in those sections, and spins the wheel, effectively eliminating the burden of making difficult choices!
Not only was this a fun build, but it cost me $0 (due to the fact that I made a part of this in a machine shop at work), not to mention I got to use my new Dremel Trio.
Circle Cutting Drill Attachment
Power Sander (and sandpaper)
3/4" thick wooden board (approx 8"x8")
1/8" thick aluminum
Dry Erase Board and Marker
Misc. hardware (bolts/washers etc)
Bead Chain and eye-screw (optional)
NOTE: this is not a commercialized product, I came up with this on my own, so I'd appreciate all thoughts and suggestions!
Step 1: Cut Out the Body
The widest diameter it could cut was 5", so I went with that as the width of the base.
I cut into the wood slowly because attacking the wood too fast could loosen the cutting tool or damage the gears in the drill press. In this step I simply marked the outer diameter, because I would need the whole surface of the board available for the next step.
Step 2: Cut the Marker Slot
I used the marker as my template for dimensioning the hole. The length was about 1/4" longer than the marker, the depth was slightly past half the marker thickness, and the width was slightly less than the marker thickness. To cut it, I used my Dremel Trio, along with the straight-edge guide (to keep the hole rectangular).
After cutting slightly less than my intended dimensions and using the marker as a guide, I cut at the sides at fractional intervals until the marker could fit snuggly enough to stay put but loose enough to pull out easily.
Step 3: Dremel the Writing Space Depression and Cut Out the Body
Using the center hole that was made by drilling into the board to mark the outer diameter, I used it as a reference to dremel down the surface inside the rim, about an 1/8" deep. I'd dremel a full circle, and then change the guide's depth to cut smaller and smaller radii till the entire depression was smooth.
After dremeling, I put the board back into my drill press and finished cutting out the body.
Step 4: Make the Spinner Arrow
Basically, I found a template of a game arrow spinner online beforehand, and scaled it to size relative to the decision wheel. I then traced this shape onto a 1/8" piece of scrap aluminum in the shop, and VERY CAREFULLY (using work gloves actually), cut out the shape with a vertical band-saw.
After the rough cut came a bunch of filing and sanding to smooth out the edges.
Finally, I balanced it to find its center of mass, which I marked and promptly drilled through with a clearance hole for a 1/4-20 bolt. Then I found some misc. washers and nuts to space the spinner from the board surface.
Step 5: Sand That Sucker Down
I didn't sand down the depressed surface because the dry erase board would be going on top of it.
Step 6: Dimensioning the Writing Surface
I traced this template with a sharpie onto the dry erase, remembering to mark the center point as well, because I would need to drill through it to insert the spinner.
Step 7: Cut Out the Writing Surface
I used a 1/4" drill bit to drill through the center mark, and again made sure that the spinner assembly fit in comfortably.
Finally, I cleaned the surface with Lysol and a rag. (only because this was an old dry erase board and had marks on it)
Step 8: Insert Eye-screw
After drilling the eye-screw hole (1/16" bit), screwing it in, and attaching the bead chain (about 8"), I hung the decision wheel at my drying station in preparation for staining.
Step 9: Stain It
Step 10: Glue the Dry Erase Surface to the Wheel
Step 11: Attach the Spinner
I ended up using just one washer as a spacer between the spinner and dry erase surface, which was more than enough. I screwed the bolt down to keep the spinner loose enough to spin about 6-8 times around.
Step 12: Make Instructions (optional)
This was also a good opportunity to infuse some inside jokes into the present.
Step 13: Going the Extra Mile
I found some old piece of canvas as a backdrop, and the photos turned out really well (also looked like I picked the right stain).
When my friend unwrapped it, she believed for about 5 seconds that I actually had found this at some sort of 70's yard sale.
Needless to say, it was worth it.