Introduction: Ferris Wheel Bookshelf/ Reading Nook(in Progress)

About: I'm a man of many hats. I'm an undergrad researcher, amateur carpenter, creator, and tinkerer. My main focus is material science and nanotechnology but I'm just a big nerd. I like to make things and share my p…

Kingdom Hearts has always been close to my heart(no pun intended) and as the release date of Kingdom Hearts 3 was getting closer my brain started humming. I was wanting to build something that could capture an ounce of that magic I experienced as a child. So I wanted to incorporate the other things that helped me travel to other worlds, books.

While this project is themed, you don't need to replicate it exactly. You should take the ideas such as building the barrel seat or Ferris wheel and run with it. If you can, take these ideas and build something amazing that is uniquely you. With that done, let's start.


  • 19 3/8th inch inside diameter and 7/8th inch outside diameter bearings
  • Three sheets of 4x8 foot plywood, at least
  • 6 feet of 4 inch thick foam cushion
  • Cloth for the cushions
  • Red, Blue, and Green phosphorescent paint
  • Lots of wood glue
  • Lots of 3/8th inch bolts
  • Childlike wonder and enthusiasm
  • 8 1 inch dowel rods

Equipment and Software

  • CNC mill
  • Fusion 360(or other modeling software)
  • Inkscape(Or Adobe Illustrator for you rich folk)

Skills Utilized

  • CAM and CAD
  • Laminating wood
  • Upholstery
  • Sanding and Painting
  • Miscellaneous basic woodworking

Current Progress

I've finished most of the design in Fusion 360, next steps are buying the materials and cutting everything out. You can stay up to date by following this Instructable(The most recent video should be at the top) or my Youtube channel. Thank you for stopping by!

Step 1: Designing: Overview

So when I started this project some time around the third of January, I started drawing it on paper. I started with dozens of gears, shelves in different positions, and originally there not being a reading nook. After a week I downloaded Fusion 360 and started making the 3D models. Yes, I've only been using it for a month. The final designs were made to be comprised of

  • A reading nook inside of a barrel
  • a Ferris wheel bookcase that rotates around the barrel
  • 8 shelves on the Ferris wheel each themed after a different kingdom hearts world using engravings
  • 3 planetary gears that rotate around a sun gear
  • Organization engravings on the planetary gears filled with phosphorescent paint

Design Breakdown

I've broken down the design process into two parts. Part One will detail the design of the frame and minimal painting or sanding. That Includes;

  • Barrel Seat
  • Ferris Wheel Frame
  • Seat Cushions
  • Rotating Shelves
  • Panels
  • Giant Gears

Part Two Will include objects using any extensive sanding, painting, engraving, and polishing.

  • Panel Engravings
  • Gear Engravings
  • Phosphorescent Paint Filling

Step 2: Designing: Part One

The first step was designing the structure.

Photo 1: I started out sketching by hand the basic idea. Simple, perfect.

Photo 2: I went absolutely insane with the compass (Creating this hell creature) and after my girlfriend hid my compass, I downloaded Fusion 360.

Photo 3: This is the backside of the planetary gear system. The support has 3 holes(3/8th inch) at the ends with a bolt(3/8th inch) through them. The planetary gears each have a hole(7/8th inch) where a bearing(Dimensions at the top) is placed. The bolt passes through the support and the bearing allowing the gear to rotate freely around the sun gear. The sun gear has no bearing, being affixed directly to the bolt with the hole in the support having the bearing this time, allowing free rotation of the gear support.

Photo 4: This is the barrel of the reading nook. Outside diameter 57 inches and 54 inside diameter. Its going to be 1.5 inches thick and will be made as 3 rings from 23/32 inch plywood cut and glued together with small ribs in between them.

Photo 5: Simply, its foam cushion. Going to upholster it and attach it directly to the barrel's ribs(unseen) using straps.

Photo 6: The Ferris wheel will be made from 23/32nd inch plywood. It has a 75 inch outside diameter and 69 inch inside diameter. It will be made into sections that fit together like puzzle pieces. At 8 points along its radius it will have 3/8th inch holes for bolts and at 8 other points 1 inch holes for 1 inch diameter dowel rods.

Photo 7: The Shelves are made of three pieces of plywood, the sides and base. The base is 18 inches long and the sides are about 6 inches long with 7/8th inch holes for bearings. Everything slides together and it glued in place.

Step 3: Designing: Part Two

I turned several Kingdom Hearts or Disney inspired art pieces into vector graphics using Inkscape. Ultimately there are 8 unique panels and 3 unique gear designs. This was pretty fun but after I hit 600 contours in Fusion 360 it started running very slow and I got an error message stating "RAM at full capacity. Stop. Stop. Please in the name of Bill Gates stop."

This is why none of the overall models have the designs on them. My computer would explode and a Fusion developer would cry after reading the error report that my computer would send off as a final desperate act of self preservation. Don't make a developer cry, don't model the vectors all at once.

Step 4: Manufacture: Part One (Nesting by Hand)

This, this makes me sad. The sketches are 4ftx8ft to simulate dimensions of my plywood stock. If you look closely you can see every painstakingly placed part but you can't see the hours of time lost to this one act. Pardon me, if I sound cheeky, when I'm frustrated I revert to my first language, sarcasm.

Step 5: Let's Start Milling

So, you're probably wondering why this wood has a shoddy paint job, well, it's simple, I built a couch a year ago and wasn't going to have a enough room for a second couch and 7 foot tall reading nook. So I disassembled it and its shoddy paint job.

This is the first gear, it will either be a sun or planet gear. I used the gear maker in Fusion to make it with a hole just big enough to fit a bearing so that it has ease of rotation.

Step 6: Engraving: Test Piece (For the Love of Anime)

I've never used fusion 360 or a CNC before this project, so I felt it pertinent to do some tests. So I used a 6 inch square piece of scrap plywood and put Spike from cowboy bebop on it. I ran the simulation, saw nothing burst into flames, and set to engrave it.

Due to the complexity and narrow width of the contours, the cnc only barely grazed the surface. From this I realized that I need to be careful how narrow I make my vector graphics, otherwise my engravings will not show up that well such as the third picture.

I hate wasting anything so I added glow in the dark paint into the grooves and scraped off the excess. It is now my new elegant wall art. Now, I could say that I knew it would have this cool rain effect but I'd be lying. So I DEFINITELY knew it was going to come out like this.

Step 7: To Be Continued....

Well, you've reached the end for now but if you want to see how this story ends be sure to follow my build and check out my videos.