About: I am engineer & hobbyist. “If you want to build a ship, don't start looking for wood, cutting boards or distributing the work. It first evokes in men and women the longing for the free and wide sea." Antoine d…


First of all, I'll give a little review about Ferrys Wheel´s history, and then a brief of different existing Photo Frame Ferris Wheel models.

Next, I'll explain the idea behind this project and an insight into the design process of this Photo Frame Ferris Wheel.

I’ll give you a guide to make all the wooden parts and plastic pieces printed in 3d.

In this instructable I’ll show you step by step how to give painted finish to the wooden parts and how to assemble them.

I strongly encourage you to share your own project when it's done!

Let's get started.

Step 1: Watch This Little Video...

Step 2: Ferris Wheel’s History

Because we are going to build a smaller model to enjoy rotating photo, I find it was interesting to know something of the history of Ferris Wheel.

Ferris Wheel’s earliest history dates back to approximately year 1600 in Bulgaria, Constantinople, England, India, Romania and Siberia.

A Frenchman, Antonio Manguino, introduced the idea to America in 1848, when he constructed a wooden pleasure wheel to attract visitors to his start-up fair in Walton Spring, Georgia.

The original Ferris Wheel was designed and constructed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. as a landmark for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The generic term Ferris wheel, now used in American English for all such structures, has become the most common type of amusement ride at state fairs in the United States.

With a height of 80.4 metres (264 ft) it was the tallest attraction at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois, where it opened to the public on June 21, 1893. It was intended to rival the 324-metre (1,063 ft) Eiffel Tower, the center piece of the 1889 Paris Exposition.

High Roller is a 550-foot tall (167.6 m), 520-foot (158.5 m) diameter giant Ferris wheel on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, USA is currently the world's tallest Ferris wheel.

The 210 m (689 ft) Ain Dubai at Bluewaters Island in the United Arab Emirates is currently under construction and will go on to become the world's largest Ferris Wheel when completed.

bibliographic reference:

Step 3: About Photo Frame Ferris Wheel

Nowadays the practice of printing photographs has become unusual.

Today we take pictures and send through our social networks. However, it may be a good idea to print some and have them in our homes.

There are many models of classic photo frames: wooden and metal photo frames, plastic frames, etc. Among many others, this beautiful design came up from “Ferris Wheels”, so we can enjoy the photos while the whell is turning.

In the following photographs, there is models made entirely of plastic, metal painted with retro or vintage style and there are also some updates metal models.

Step 4: The Idea

One of my sons asked me if I could help him prepare a gift for his girlfriend.

He showed me the model that exists entirely of plastic, which is sold by e-commerce in Chineses stores, eBay, Amazon.

Due to the current pandemic of COVID-19, dispatch and transportation times are very long and imposible.

I thought that in the web there could be plans or some instructions to make this model exactly, but I only found other designs:

Ferris Wheel Picture Frame by “John_wng” made entirely of plastic whith plans to make with a printer 3d machine.

Ferris Wheel Photo Frame by “Canvas of Dreams” made entirely of Wood and with plans to make laser cut machine.

So I had to design one, but I thought about doing it combining cheap wood with some plastic parts, so that the final model was nice and warm.

My goal was to make this project quick and easy to build.

Step 5: Tools & Parts


  • 3D printer
  • Scroll saw (alternatively CNC Router or Laser cut Machine)


  • MDF 3 mm.
  • Wooden rod diameter 6 mm.
  • Wooden rod diameter 10 mm (ribbed).*
  • Sandpaper.
  • Wooden Glue.
  • Epoxy Adhesive.
  • Matte or satin white spray paint.

(*) You can use smooth rod if you cannot get ribbed or just if you prefer this.

Step 6: Design Process

I enjoyed designing this project using Autodesk Fusion 360.

You can skip this step if you just want to print the project.

If you are new to the Fusion 360 environment I suggest you take a look at a few tutorials.

You can enroll in this class:

also, this youtube series gives a good beginner tutorial:

Although I designed everything in 3d and could have made all the pieces of plastic, I preferred to use plastic only for the joining pieces, the rest I projected everything on wood.

The design started with the individual frame for the photos (with the size of the photos of 10x7.5 mm), then I added all the other parts that make up the final design.

(update) Here >> link to download fusion360 files

Step 7: 3d Print Parts

All 3D printed parts in this proyect are very simple.

I printed with PLA, Layer Height 0.2 mm, Infill Density 30%, Print speed 25 mm/s, Built Plate adhesión BRIM line count 10, with zig-zag support.

Make sure to put them in the proper orientation to avoid removing a lot of support material and also be sure you are able to remove it.

Be careful while post-processing those parts, PLA it's easy to break them. You may also need to sand ridges and protruding material, as well as ensure that parts with through holes are the exact measurements, it depends on the accuracy of your 3D printer.

Step 8: Wooden Parts

To cut out the wooden parts a scroll saw is best.

If you have a CNC Router or Laser Cut Machine you could use the dxf files.

I have included plans with wooden pieces dimensions (rods and MDF), which are in different scales, but I have also included the same images in 1:1 scale (file name start with TEMPLATE word).

This 1:1 plans must be printed in its original size. Don´t set “Reduce to Printer Margins” at “Page Scalling”. All dimensions are given in millimeters (mm) if they without units.

You can cut out parts from the plan and stick it with a craft glue or spray adhesive, which leaves no residues when you remove it, to the wood.

To remove the paper from the wood you can heat it a little bit with a hot air blower.

To ensure that all parts fit well toghether, you should always cut to the line so that the black line just barely disappeears.

To glue the wooden pieces, wood glue works best.

Keep in mind that the wooden pieces that hold the photo have a small 0.5 mm recess that is designed so that the photos are fixed there, and can be entered from one side of each frame.

To do this manually, you can use a Dremel tool or similar, you can also do it with a small and flat gouge, or also to use a cutter, MDF is a very easy and light wood to do this milling, with great care and patience.

In the case that you have a CNC Router or you can order the work with one of these machines, the 0.5 mm milling will be easier.

In this project I use my own CNC DREMEL (by Nikodem Bartnik), I recommend it 100%, if you want to have one sometime :)

Step 9: Painting Wood Parts

The finish of the different pieces of wood is with paint.

For this, we’ll use white spray paint, preferably matt or sanitized.

The painting must be done following the usual advice, that is, applying the paint with the appropriate distance, avoiding getting the sprayer too close to the piece so that excess paint accumulates.

It is preferable to apply two coats, allowing the corresponding time to dry according to the paint used.

You can make a wooden matrix with holes that allow them to be inserted and make the painting process easier.

Step 10: Prepare for Assembly

At this time, we will assembly joining plastic parts with wooden rods.

First pre-assemble the structures and then proceed to glue wood and plastic with "instant contact adhesive".

To do this, pass a small amount of glue on the final surface of the rods and quickly insert it to the plastic part.

We will start with the main structure that supports the wheel axle:

  • Plastic parts #9 #10 #11 with #3 #4 #6 wooden rods Ø10.

Then we will prepare the two separate wheels:

  • Plastic parts #15 with #1 wooden rods Ø6.
  • Plastic parts #12 in the extreme of #1 wooden rods Ø6.

Tip: to facilitate the assembly of the main wheels, do not stick the plastic parts #12 to the wooden rod #1.

Step 11: Final Assembly

In this step, we will use wooden glue to assemble the six photo frames (#7). After applying glue and positioning both pieces of wood, use presses on top of paper to avoid dirtying the painted work, as seen in the photo.

Once this is done, we will glue two plastic pieces (#12) with epoxy glue at a distance of approximately 13 mm from the side edge of the frame (#7) see photo.

Once dried, we will pass the 6 mm wooden rod (#2) through the circular ring MDF (#8) and plastic (#12) and we will assemble the complete wheel, placing the plastic pieces (#13) at the ends of each wooden rod (#2) glued to the wood through of "instant contact adhesive".

For the wooden axis we will use the wooden rod 10 mm (#5).

Step 12: Review of Details

The spray paint may not have been perfect. Therefore, in this step we will check that there are no unpainted places. We can do touch-ups using the same paint but applying it with a small brush or cotton swab.

Step 13: Placing Photos

Each of the six frames allows the placement of two 10 x 7.5 mm photographs / paper.

You can select the photographs you want to place and make an impression in a photography store or do it with a color printer on illustration paper (preferably 100 grams or more).

As seen in the photograph, the images are entered in the photo frame on the left. The easiest is to place two photos at the same time in each frame.


  • that It is very interesting to combine pictures with printed inspirational phrases.
  • I also found it nice to combine black and white photos with color photos

Step 14: Upgrades

There are lots of things that can be improved on this project.

Here are a fewones that I have in mind:

  • Extend the whell axle and add a small crank to turn the wheel.
  • Add a small synchronous motor with low revolutions per minute (RPM) to automate turning.
  • Make a larger version to use 10x15 photos.

Step 15: Final Words

Now that you got here, I want to know you that I didn't want to make a cookbook.

I have shown you how to do this project and provide you with open-ended questions, so you can add your own ideas, and take this project even further. This way you can change the design to your own liking and then glue them together.

That's all for this project! I hope you enjoyed this instructable.

If you have any question ask them in the comments below!

I would also love to hear what you think about the project.

Happy making!

PS/Credits: Abstract photo created by por freepik -

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