Introduction: Rock Band Whirligig

Picture of Rock Band Whirligig

This is a project I shared with my friends on youtube for the Whirligig Wars Contest 2015.

A whirligig is an object that spins or whirls, or has at least one member that spins or whirls. Whirligigs are also known as pinwheels, buzzers,comic weathervanes, gee-haws, spinners, whirlygigs, whirlijig, whirlyjig, whirlybird, or plain whirly. Whirligigs are most commonly powered by the wind but can be hand, friction, or motor powered. They can be used as a kinetic garden ornament. They can be designed to transmit sound and vibration into the ground to repel burrowing rodents in yards, gardens, and backyards.


This is a quite difficult project to make because it requires lots of very precise measurements and a really well equipped workshop, with lots of tools. I am going to give you some details of how I built it but really is a project that can not be transferred on plans. I will include a couple of videos though of the finished product and the "gear box". Hope you like it and inspire you.

Tools and materials I have used:

  • Band saw
  • Hand saw
  • Radial arm saw
  • Mitre saw
  • Planer
  • Jointer
  • Various size chisels
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • 6mm, 8mm and 10mm drill bits
  • Router
  • Sander with 80 and 100 grid sandpaper
  • Nail gun
  • Glue
  • 2mm copper wire
  • 25mm nails
  • Hole saws 45mm, 25mm and 20mm
  • Threaded rod
  • Wing nuts and bolts
  • Bearings

Here is a video showing the finished product and another one showing the gears!

Step 1: Making the Rotor and Blades

Picture of Making the Rotor and Blades

On the two first pictures you can see the rough plans I have made for the rotor and blades, I have used pine and 4mm plywood for the blades

I cut everything on the band saw sanded all the parts and glued all together as shown on the images above.

After the glue to set I used a rasp to form the wooden block and drilled a 8mm hole right in the center of it.

Step 2: Making the Base

Picture of Making the Base

For the base I have used two pieces 12 x 10cm (WxH) and a 45 x 15cm and glued them as shown on the pics. Before I glue them together I drilled two holes on the small pieces 3cm from the bottom. Those holes will accomodate the bearings and the shaft for the gears.

Step 3: The Stage

Picture of The Stage

The stage is also a 45 x 15cm piece of wood. I also used some 1.7 x 1.5cm stripes of wood to make the stage towers for the lights...

Step 4: The Instruments

Picture of The Instruments

The first instrument I did was the drumset. I cut a cylinder using my 4.5cm hole saw and attached two small pieces of wood to form the bass drum legs. For the tom toms I used a 2.0cm and a 2.5cm hole saw. Attached them on the bass drum with some glue and my nail gun. A 2.5cm hole saw was used for the floor tom.

I designed the guitars on a thin piece of wood and cut them on my band saw.

Some thin pieces of wood were used for the cymbal stand.

(I am sorry I can not provide many details for the exact dimensions but really everything I did on this project was not planned.)

Step 5: The Instrument Players

Picture of The Instrument Players

Also here everything is made freehand. I used a 2.8 x 3.5cm piece of wood for the players body and then some dowels to form legs and arms. I wanted the arms of the players to ba able to move so I did not glue the soulders on the body, just used some 2.5 cm nails.

Step 6: The Gears

Picture of The Gears

I have used a gear generator to design the gears,which I cut on the band saw. I have attached them on the metal threaded rod with some wing nuts.

Step 7: Using It

Picture of Using It

Once the stage was attached on the base everything was ready for painting.

Now we let the wind do the rest!

Thanks for watching and once again I am sorry I could not provide many details and measurements for this project. Hope I inspired someone to build their own!


ZombieWorkshop (author)2016-04-19

My man cave need one of this powered by a diesel engine, Great job

poelma (author)2016-02-20

Great Job. Love the Band. Nice Instructable, easy to follow and sparked my interest in making a Whirligig - will start much simpler.

fs woodworking (author)poelma2016-02-21

Thank you very much. I am glad you like it.

jlepack (author)2016-02-13

Well done

fs woodworking (author)jlepack2016-02-13

Thank you my friend

wartellc (author)2016-02-12

This is pretty frigen awesome.

fs woodworking (author)wartellc2016-02-13

Thank you very much.

About This Instructable




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