Picture of Make a zoetrope or 20
Zoetrope means Turning Zoo or Wheel of Life.
I developed this kit as a way for kids to learn the basic mechanics of strobing images and get excited about animation. My first workshop was with our local science discovery centre's school holiday program. (Scitech!)
The kit had to be exceedingly simple and quick to make because I had to make at least 30 of them and, when my lasercutting deal fell through, I had to make them in a day.

There are so many variations out there you can really take your pick. This one is really easy to put together.
I had purchased bearings and bolts and all kinds of things that I didn't end up using. Hanging it with thread was someone's stroke of panicked genius that day. It's easy, hands free, and spins for much longer.


For the main barrel:
A1 sheet of black cardboard (you can use a smaller one and tape bits together)
  Scalpel/snap blades
Plastic plates (a little more than diameter of zoetrope barrel.. plates normally make for a good grip around the edge)
  Something to punch holes (punch+hammer, drill press, hot wire.. whatever!)
White paper for your animation (can use A1 or smaller strips stuck together)

For the stand:
Wire (>1mm)
  Wire cutters
Sturdy cardboard (2 x A4)

Long ruler
Clear stickytape/sellotape
VeryBadDogs3 years ago
Great project! My father received one of these from Playboy magazine when I was a kid (it was meant to sit on top of the record player), and I remember my brother and I had hours of fun playing with it, making our own strips to go inside it. I was just thinking about what a great toy that was recently, but it never occurred to me to build a stand to replace the record player - now I can pass this on to the next generation! (Without the Playboy-supplied strips, probably.)
EGiR (author)  VeryBadDogs3 years ago
Ha that's an intriguing story. Record player sounds like a great idea. Please do pass it on! It's a wonderful skill for a child to have - pretty versatile for the old abstract thinking as well.
Kiteman3 years ago

This is exactly what I needed for an activity I'm running soon!
EGiR (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
AWESOME. Just explain the different strobing technologies really well and make sure the animations are SUPER-simple. Also, beware the MIND-NUMBING amount of labour involved if you are making a number of them!! Good luck, Kiteman!