Make Your Own Flea Circus

Picture of Make Your Own Flea Circus
Make your own miniature flea circus.

Flea circuses have been around since the Victorian times when actual human fleas were used to perform circus tricks.  The flea would be harnessed with a small, thin piece of gold wire and made to do acts like pull a miniature chariot, type rope walk, sword fighting, and kicking a small ball!  Unfortunately for the live flea circus (and fortunately for us!) the human flea is virtually extinct due to our much cleaner ways.

The type of flea circus that I have built is called a "humbug" flea circus and all the acts are performed using hidden, mechanical means. 

Initially I wanted to make a  flea circus inside a small cigar box or wooden case.  In the end I went with a small wooden case as it was a little deeper than a cigar box.  Kind of wished I went with a little larger box as i couldn't fit everything I wanted into the small case that I ended up using.

The project itself was a real learning experience, and everything I built was trial and error.  I tried to take as many photos as possible but with the electronics it just became too hard to take photos of every step.  I have drawn-up some schematics which will help you through this section though.  Also I couldn't get the tight-rope to work well.  I left all of the steps though in the Instructable as i believe it would have worked if I had used a separate servo for the type rope.  

The flea circus can be built over a weekend with most parts being available on eBay or your local electronics shop.

Hope you enjoy – and happy making.

if the clip doesn't work above - try this one
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Jack Moran25 days ago

The backdrop really creates the circus!

Otterim6 months ago
is there any substitute for the 2 channel helicopter (remote)????
lonesoulsurfer (author)  Otterim6 months ago
Hey there,
I wouldn't even worry about that part. It just makes things more complicated and I don't really use the remote anyhow!. Just get yourself a continuous servo and a servo controller and that will do fine.
I was thoroughly entertained! Great project! I hope you paid the fleas handsomely?
Fn91725672211 months ago
It will be my next project, thanks to you.
thanks so much! Nice job!!
lonesoulsurfer (author)  Fn91725672211 months ago
Cool - thanks
juemad11 months ago
Type rope walking? Dude, TIGHT rope.
blueangelical11 months ago
I've never seen anything as beautifully artistic as this before. I love it, the posters, the act, the effect the video and even the music. Just brilliant, well done. Fantastic.
lonesoulsurfer (author)  blueangelical11 months ago
wow - thank you so much, really means a lot getting such great feedback.
violet4818711 months ago
How do you see the videos?
lonesoulsurfer (author)  violet4818711 months ago
The Instructable website is having issues showing you tube clips on mobile devices. i also included a link at the bottom of the clip which you should be able to use ok on a phone.
Vito41311 months ago
I don't know what a type rope is, maybe you were thinking of a tightrope? i think this is very cool and really creative I want to build this.
lonesoulsurfer (author)  Vito41311 months ago
Yep your right it should have been tight-rope, put it down to a "typing" error. Sorry bad pun.
lewisb4211 months ago
I would have loved this just for the history lesson, but then you hit it out of the park with a gorgeous finished product. Well done!
billbillt11 months ago
very cool
Pandroe11 months ago
That was pretty cool. The vids are the great!
blahboo3711 months ago
This reinforces the fact that some people are just genius when it comes to crafting... and then there's me.
lonesoulsurfer (author)  blahboo3711 months ago
Ah shucks...
Believe me, if I can do it anyone can do it!
Renard_Bleu11 months ago
Awesome. Gorgeous instructable, nice result and great commentary!
lonesoulsurfer (author)  Renard_Bleu11 months ago
Thanks so much. Really nice to get such great feedback.
NTT11 months ago
Absolutely beautiful! This is the stuff of childhood memories. The kids will love this :-)
lonesoulsurfer (author)  NTT11 months ago
Cheers - I'm trying to get my boys to go down the local market and put a show on!