Picture of How To Disassemble a Merry-Go-Round

The background: My small Iowa town wanted to dispose of its old, iron, enough-momentum-to-crush-bones merry-go-round, so they put it up for auction. A relative of mine put in the only bid. Being the handy ones, my father and I got the job of disassembling it, with an eye towards eventually putting it back together again somewhere new.
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Step 1: Remove planking

Picture of Remove planking

The wooden planking was in mixed shape. Some had been recently replaced, and some was rotting away. A Sawzall and a crowbar made quick work of it.

Step 2: Remove wood frame

Picture of Remove wood frame

The underlying boards were in remarkably good shape, considering the age of the thing. However, we weren't going to keep them. Two cuts with the Sawzall to separate them, and the square-nutted bolt through the pipe came off easily with a crescent wrench. That allowed the wooden frame to drop off. In the photo you can see the 2 "butterfly" pieces. Like most of the machine, they're good cast iron. There is another L-shaped piece that wraps around the outside of the joint and reinforces the bottom side. It has 2 knobs sticking out which helped it align the mitered wooden parts.

Whoever assembled this used the wrong size of carriage bolts, so the square heads of the bolts just spun around in the square holes in the casting. To get these old bolts off, I had to grab the round end of the carriage bolts with vice grips and use an impact wrench on the nuts.

Step 3: Bottom Hub

Picture of Bottom Hub
With the wooden parts removed, it was time to start on the pipes. First, we removed the bolts that ran through the bottom hub of the central shaft. They ran up from below through a hub, a bracket attached to the radial boards, and a casting at the bottom of the S-shaped pipe.

Step 4: Handrail/Crossbraces

Picture of Handrail/Crossbraces
There were little short pipes between the spokes, held together with a pair of castings. 2 bolts, and off they come.
This will surely come in handy when I want to ruin a kid's fun.
canida4 years ago
Good stuff! I eagerly await the reassembly Instructable as well. ;)
trailleadr4 years ago
Good read. The more I look around the less (as in zero) merry-go-rounds I see in the playgrounds being constructed these days. These poor kids today have no idea what they're missing. Sure maybe they were the source of broken bones, and occasional concussions. But the same could be said for just about any playground device. In my skewed opinion if you didn't have a broken/fractured bone, or a good lump on your head as a kid then you weren't having enough fun.
eosha (author)  trailleadr4 years ago
I agree entirely. I spent my childhood bouncing off of my environment; I've got the scars to prove it. It made me who I am. And for what it's worth, this old merry-go-round was replaced by a smaller, lighter, safer one.
The lighter one won't hold it's momentum as well though unfortunately.
Just forces the smart kids to teach the others about momentum, and get more kids on the thing.
That's cool. Glad to hear that they didn't have it removed with no intentions of replacing it. With regard to your other comment on liability. I guess I understand that but really there should be a liability disclaimer posted outside the playground that parents should be aware of. It's bad when the town is afraid to provide a place where kids can have fun at the risk of being sued due to bumps bruises etc. After all it's not like the town is obligated to provide a playground.
kcls4 years ago
So you get your very own merry-go-round? Awesome! I would love to own one of those.
Shadow13!4 years ago
We used to have a small merry-go-round in a local park until recently and me and some of my friends and family would still use it and we range in age from about 12 to 20. One time when I was much younger one of my brothers and I as well as at least 10 or 15 other kids were all pushing it around as fast as we could but then my brother fell and all of the other kids ran two more laps (over my brother) before I managed to get their attention and get them to stop. We still laugh about that time.
flyboy114 years ago
why!!!!!!! why would you KILL something beautiful?
eosha (author)  flyboy114 years ago
The city fathers were concerned about liability. Sad thought that may be. At least this way it could be reassembled. Better than the scrapyard, no?
Interesting. Are you going to also post an instructable of assembling it? I would love to see it.
eosha (author)  Tape-structable4 years ago
Quite possibly. However, it may or may not actually get reassembled, and I may or may not be the one doing it. If I do, I'll post it.
Brennn104 years ago
I found this Instructable awesomely interesting. It is not every day where you have the opportunity to disassemble a Merry-Go-Round, and I loved how you documented the entire process. Someone out there will be very thankful for these instructions! Nice work!