Introduction: Giant Spin Art Tool Introduction

About: Cyclist, Tinkerer, Parade Float Builder, Teacher, Woodturner, Builder, Recycler.... Next project is a some woodworking for our South Plains Fair.

Today I am going to show how I created a Giant Spin Art Tool to make Spin Art Masterpieces on large sizes of foam board, corrugated plastic , paper and canvas. My guests can create a masterpiece in a few minutes and enjoy the fast process. The combination of tempura paint & paper is the least expensive and fastest drying format for children's' festivals. A longer lasting, more durable and color fast Spin Art can be made with craft acrylic paints applied to plastic, vinyl, and HDPE sheets materail

Originally, I constructed a bicycle blender that evolved into a Bike MS Spin Art Fun Tool to create Spin Art on unwanted LP records. Kids of all ages loved it and the records are quiet durable and often free. I use this tool to help me raise funds for the National MS Society, the Komen Walk, and the ALZ fundraiser. In order to keep the cost low I try to re-purpose, re-cycle and re-use every chance I get and am a frequent visitor to all the area thrift shops.

Here is a link to the Bike MS Spin Art Fun on KLBK TV in Lubbock

Here is a link to my Bike MS fundraising page.

I use a lot of hand and power tools. Be Safe and use this link & below to find out what you need to know to stay safe. Above all have fun.

Step 1: Build a Giant Spin Art Rig With Ceiling Fan Parts or Bicycle Parts - Major Parts List

Keep your eyes open and collect a few major parts to get started making this tool.

A good or used folding work bench like the BLACK+DECKER Workmate 425 30 in. Folding Portable Workbench and Vise.

For an inexpensive power source that is well matched to the task I choose to go with a used ceiling fan motor. A neighbor had one on Craigslist for $5. It was a nice gold one with 3 speeds and 4 blades was made in 2003. The husband assured me that it worked fine but that the wife just wanted a different style.

My only requirement was that the motor worked which it did. My next choice was to look around at the Goodwill stores in my community.

Ceiling Fans are direct driven mostly using single-phase Induction motor. Motors have winding's wound for 18, 20 or 22 poles, resulting in lower operating speeds (Most common: 18 pole). The rotor resistance is very high for wide speed control range using the stater voltage control. I ended up using 2 ceiling fan motors-one is a driving pulley and the second is the driven pulley. The bearing are quiet nice and smooth and will spin a long time with a little effort. The ceiling fan models with 4 blades will be easier to work with than the 5 blades but are somewhat less common.

A 4' x 8' x 10 mm corrugated plastic sheet ( "Coroplast" is one brand name ). I use second hand election signs that are available during each election cycle. A new sheet white in color like this may run about $70.

After the election, the loosing politicians will gladly give you the OK to go out pick some up at no cost from the roadside. Just don't leave a mess with the zip ties etc.

Another route is to go with a re-purposed bicycle hub with axle & nuts. The old style Hi Flange is a good choice if you have a friendly bike shop. May be able to get for free .

That's about it along with some short dry wall screws or similar, some Zip Ties, 1/2" Baltic birch plywood for base. 1 piece 2" x 4" x 30 for wood jaws

Step 2: Get Your Tools Together

  • Box Cutter for corrugated plastic -- or Jig Saw, Band Saw, Table Saw can be used.
  • Drill press
  • Hand Saw
  • Band Saw
  • Angle grinder with cut off wheel & flapper wheel
  • Rafter Angle Square, Orange, 7-In.

  • Pencil, pen, or marker

  • Titebond I wood glue
  • Momentary Power Foot Switch from Harbor Freight or a power strip with switch
  • Spade Drill Bits ,1/8", 3/8", 1/2", 1", 1 1/2"
  • Crescent adjustable wrench.
  • School Paper Cutter
  • Phillips Screwdriver
  • Yard Stick
  • Dry wall screws
  • One 16 penny nail
  • Claw Hammer
  • Ceiling fan down tube or 3/4" pipe nipple 6"

Consumables for running the Giant Spin Art Booth:

Materials to paint include:

  • Foam Board up to 24" x 36" Acrylic and Tempura Paints
  • Corrugated plastic or cardboard 18" x 24" acrylic and Tempura Paints
  • T shirts with fabric paints
  • Mat board, poster board, heavy paper work great with cheap Tempura Paints
  • Store Bought Canvas

Other consumables

  • Ozarka 700 ml Sport Cap Bottle or similar bottle and top for Tempura paint. Dilute 50 - 50.

  • disposable latex gloves
  • paper towel roll
  • water for cleanup
  • Tyvek or similar apron
  • Sandpaper 150, 220 grit

Step 3: Mount the Ceiling Fan to the Work Mate

It is very important that the hub, mounting base, and drill to supply the spinning be secure. Make this assembly plumb , level and square so that there will be no problems with it wobbling or coming loose. If your workbench has some kind of composite or particle boards for the work surface, replace them with some 2 x 6 southern yellow pine or good quality 3/4" plywood. With this new top, you can drill or V notch a location for the hub to be clamped in place.

1 Layout and cut 6 squares 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" from 1/2" Baltic Birch Plywood. I cut with a band saw.

2 Draw a big X on each from corner to corner again to find the centers.

3 Sand of debris from all edges with 150 sand paper.

4 Glue and clamp one stack of 2 pieces and another stack of 3 pieces being careful to make the alignment perfect. OK to screw together to make them dry correctly or clamp in work mate.

5 Take a stack of 2 pieces and drill a 1/2" D hole clean through. Go 1/2 way and flip then drill the other half with the spade bit to prevent chipping out. Slowly cut threads in the 1/2" threaded fan axle to us a second fan as a pulley.

6 Take a stack of 3 pieces and drill a 1' D hole clean through it. Use the 3/4" pipe nipple to cut threads in the plywood. When almost done, back off 1?2" in and add polyurethane glue and a few drops of water to glue the base to the nipple.

Step 4: Electrical Modifications to Adapt a Ceiling Fan Motor to the Giant Spin Art

This used ceiling fan came complete so here are the steps to make it use-able.

We will have to do some electrical work on the wires inside the fan.

1 Remove the light bulbs, glass light globes, and light kit. The light kit came off with 2 small screws and a Molex plug with 6 multicolored leads to the light and fan switch. I can reuse all these parts.

2 Remove the 4 or 5 blades with the screws. Save the screws for a mount later.

3 Remove the decorative 2 part shell. Mine had 4 acorn bolts & nuts.

4 Remove and save the drop down tube with the 2 retaining screws and pin. This tube looks to be 1" OD x 8" long which will match my 1" spade drill for the jaws. This part needs to be at least 4" in length minimum to work.

5 We will be mounting it "upside - down" for our purposes.

6 Pull the white, black and blue wires out and keep.

7 Make a sketch or take a photo of the wires on each side of the 7 way plug. Cut off the 4 colored wires 2" close to the Molex plug. Mine had 7 conductors with 2 slots empty. Mme had a red, pink gray & yellow wires to control the fan speed.

8 Make a coat hanger wire puller with a large loop for the pull end and leave straight on the other end for now. The video at the bottom shows how to do this.

9 Push the straight end through the hole in the motor that has no wires sticking out.

10 Secure one of the colored wires with a U from the coat hanger and pull through to the other side.

11 Repeat pulling the other 3 colored wired one at a time until they all come out the Pipe end of the motor. Use care that you don't pull the wire loose from where it is soldered to the internal windings. If that happens you may need another motor. The last wire I was pulling was the pink and it came loose.

12 Add lengths of wire if needed and run through the pipe. Reconnect the pipe with the 2 screws and pin.

13 Re attach the 4 colored wires with the correct size wire nut and black electrical tape. These control the reverse feature of the motor and slow, medium and fast fan speed,

14 Connect a 7 conductor ribbon to the ends in order to control on /off, speed lo med hi, and direction CW CCW from a distance. Use a 10 amp male plug for the hot, neutral and ground wires to plug to an extension cord.

15 Here is a great You Tuber showing how he uses a ceiling fan motor to build a potters wheel. I am borrowing this because it show a similar way to get the wires for the electronics moved to the other side of the motor by going through the hole in the center of the motor. Take a photo or make a drawing of the wires and colors before you cut off the plastic connector. They do not always match up with the same color. (Step 7 repeated)

Step 5: Build the Platform Starting With a Plywood Square Bolted to the Fan Motor

We need a way to connect the fan motor to a platform that different sizes of shapes & rings can be added to.

In this section we will connect the rotating part of the fan that used to bolt to the blade irons and blades to a base to hold our large foam board.

1 For the base, start with a square piece of Baltic birch plywood 1/2" x 12" x 12", locate the center, and drill a hole 1.5" Dia . Also cut out a small square and a

2 Blade Fan: I ended up using a motor that came with 4 blades. Ninety degrees for a square is a lot simpler than 72 for a pentagon. I made a square from mat board that was about 3" x 3" to find the centers of the 4 holes on the motor ring.

3 Five Blade Fan: Follow this step for a motor that came with 5 blades--Make a template for a Pizza slice with a 72 degree point and 8" sides that should work. Locate 5 holes on the 16" D circle 72 degrees apart with the Pizza template. Mat board and a paper cutter make this step easy. Here is a pic but I didn't use for this project.

4 Draw a big "X" to mark the center of the 12" square. Put the 3" mat board square aligned to the X and secure with a hammer and nail.. Locate the 4 holes to be drilled with a second nail.

5 Layout the location of 4 screw holes and drill 3/16" D though. Next, Use a 3/8 drill bit to make a countersunk holes so you can reuse the same blade iron screw to mount the plywood to the motor. Set the depth stop on the drill press so you don't drill to deep. You may want to create a paper template from a paper place and try out your specs to see if they will fit your motor and adjust as necessary.Also locate the vents in the motor and drill a few holes so air can get move. In the photo I used 1"drill

6 Cover the motor vents with tape and cut off the 1/2" threaded part with an angle grinder on the "top " side of the motor. All the wires should be going out the other side. Use a flapper wheel on the grinder or rough sandpaper to remove metal trash that can cut your hands.

Step 6: The Paint Catcher(s)

We have to have a way to prevent the Tempura or Acrylic paint from getting on people, products, food, drink, cars and anything else in the area. Always a good idea to set out a large tarp to catch drips.

1 One way is to construct a rotating drum 4" - 6" high to be attached to the base and move with the canvas. This can be made to create interest and possibly increase sales / donations. A round drum is a safer choice that a rectangle that would be spinning.

2 Another method is to construct a cardboard wall around the turn table and reach over with an extended arm to apply paint in the middle of the canvas.

3 Depending on the age of the intended audience, the Giant Spin Art Tool can be lowered closer to the ground as long as wind is not a factor. This should increase visibility and lowers the chance of a flying masterpiece. One idea here is to put the works in a 5 gallon bucket with a clamp or pair of C Clamps to hold the bearing perpendicular to the ground. The bucket can be secured to a square of plywood and rocks or weights added to make sure it does not move. Going one step further, this could be set up in a hole in the ground.

Step 7:

Step 8:

Step 9: Test the Giant Spin Art Tool

The time has come for a first test to see if your work will pay off or fly off.

Outside works best for me. Select a nice day with little or no wind. Do not try outside in wind over 10 mph. I found a spot with steel walls on 3 sides that I covered with election signs.

Wear old clothes and or an apron for painting.

Have a place for your spin art to dry planned in advance. Table top, clothesline, dishwasher rack...?

Practice using the Momentary Power Foot Switch connected to the ceiling fan motor and platform before applying paint to make sure everything is in order.

If you test inside, paint may get on everything unless precautions are taken in advance.

Hook up the power and get accustomed to the one push 'on' followed by one push 'off.' Can you operate the switch with one foot while standing on the other foot? You may want to practice the foot switch from a sitting down position or from where you will be while testing.

Set up the ceiling fan to run as slow as possible. How fast can you turn it off once it gets to full speed?

Position yourself in a safe area just in case something comes off. Of course don't have children or pets in the test area. Experiment with watering down tempura paints by diluting up to 50 - 50 with water. Mix well before applying and this will flow much better. Too much speed will fade out the paint colors and throw most of the paint from the canvas.

Step 10: Appendix - What Others Are Doing With Giant Spin Art

Spin Art Tips from others.

William Bowman, Giant Spin Art Machine - Peddler and Piddler

Brian John Spin painting Watch out for the corners....

Spin Painting #9 by Abraham De La Torre using a 36" greenhouse fan

Joker Spin Painting "Wicked" using a 24" box fan Spin Art Fun, Art Bikes, Woodturning, Fund Raising, STEAM STEM

Photo from Ride the Rockies - Where is my bike?

Build a Tool Contest

Participated in the
Build a Tool Contest