Introduction: Strawbees Ferris Wheel

Picture of Strawbees Ferris Wheel

This is a fun build that took about 30 minutes. We're making a Ferris Wheel using a Strawbees Construction Kit and a bunch of drinking straws.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

All of the materials used came from the Strawbees set which can be found at strawbees.com. The kit comes with a package of straws and a huge number of connectors. The connectors are available with1, 2, 3 and 5 spokes.

For this project, we used the following connectors:

  • 40 single
  • 12 double
  • 2 triple
  • 2 quint

We also used straws cut to the following specs:

  • 10 full length
  • 20 cut to 7
  • 2 cut to 50%
  • 10 cut to 25%

The only other necessary item was the scissors for cutting the straws.

Step 2: A Couple of Key Tricks

Picture of A Couple of Key Tricks

The two things you want to pay attention when building is the orientation of the connectors and that they are fully inserted into the straw. You want the straw to go all the way up to the hub on the connector.

For this build, you also want to ensure your hubs are either parallel or perpendicular to each other at both ends of the straw. If they are off by a little bit, you don't get a very sturdy build and you'll be forever adjusting things trying to get it working.

To ensure the straws are cut accurately, make the first one for each size your ruler for all the others. Don't switch pieces from one cut to the next or you'll find that small errors will accumulate. The 25% and 50% cuts are good approximations and if you're off a bit either way, the ferris wheel will be fine. The key is making sure all of the 25% pieces are the same and that all of the 50% pieces are identical.

Step 3: The Base

Picture of The Base

The base uses the full size straws, 1 50% straw, 10 single hubs, and two triple hubs. Build as pictured.

Note that the diagonal supports are using friction to maintain their positions. You'll be able to move them on both tends to square up the frame once the ferris wheel is mounted.

Step 4: The Wheel

Picture of The Wheel

The wheel itself is pretty easy too.

  1. Take all ten 25% straws and insert single ends into both ends. These should be parallel to each other.
  2. Put five 75% straws onto the spokes of each the quintuple hubs.
  3. Slide one of the 25% straw assemblies onto each 75% straw so that one hole is on each spoke. You'll press these down onto the quintuple connector spoke to lock them in place.
  4. Slide the remaining 25% straw assemblies onto each 75% straw just as you did with the first group. They're going to be locked in shortly
  5. Add a double spoke connector to each hub. As you add them, plug the end holes for the 75% straws with a single spoke connector.
  6. Lock the double spoke connector onto the outside ends of all ten ends.
  7. Lock the 25% straw assemblies to the outside ends next to the double spoke connectors.
  8. Add the remaining 75% straws to complete the perimeter of the wheel.

This is the time to make any minor adjustments to the connections to ensure the wheel is as regular as possible.

Step 5: Center Axle

Picture of Center Axle

Cap the top of the stand with single spoke hubs on both open straw ends. These will hold the axle.

Take the remaining 50% straw and add a single spoke connector to one end. This will be your axle for the ferris wheel.

Push the axle through an axle holder, through the middle of both quintuple spoke hubs and then through the remaining axle holder. Add the remaining single spoke connector to the other end. It should be parallel.

Step 6: Adjust the Struts

Picture of Adjust the Struts

Adjust the diagonal struts until the wheel spins unobstructed. If you find they are moving around too much, you can tape them into place.

Step 7: Add Passengers and Play!

Picture of Add Passengers and Play!

Add some passengers and have a ball!

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