Introduction: Moving Ferris Wheel

This is a simple moving ferris wheel I designed that could be a fun learning experience for children and adults! Growing up, I was always curious about what moving toys looked like on the inside. Therefore, I intentionally used clear acrylic so that users can see what goes on inside of the toy ferris wheel. Additionally, its gears are located on the outside so users may also see how the wheel turns. If you like this instructable, please vote for this instructable in the Toy's Competition!

I hope you enjoyed my project and thank you for reading my instructable!

Step 1: Materials

1. Plywood:

1/8" x 15" x 30" Plywood: 1 sheet of 1/8'' plywood for all parts of the ferris wheel except for the base.

1/4" x 15" x 30" Plywood: 1 sheet of plywood for the ferris wheel's triangular base.

2. Clear Acrylic:

1/16'' x 16'' x 32'' Clear Acrylic: 1 sheet of acrylic for the ferris wheel's base. This acrylic must be thin enough to be easily bent with a heat gun.

1/4'' x 16'' x 32'' Clear Acrylic: 1 sheet of Acrylic for the largest back gear.

3. Wooden 1/4'' Dowel: To make the small bars the passenger cars/cabins are mounted on.

4. Wooden 0.6'' Dowel: To hold the large, circular wheel and its gear.

5. Wood Glue

6. Hot Glue Gun

7. 1 Arduino Uno - R3 Board

8. 1 Servo Motor

9. Jumper wire pack: Will need black, yellow, and red wires

10. USB cord

11. Rubber Mallet

12. Heat Gun

13. Laser Cutter

Step 2: Design, Draw, Print!

I drew all my pieces on Adobe Illustrator, however, you may use different software if you prefer. After you finish drawing or gathering all your files, you are then ready to cut!

1. Gears: Drawing the gears can be tricky. But luckily, there are many helpful resources on the internet! Gear Generator was really helpful in creating the gears I needed. If you decide to draw your own gears, it is really important that the gears fit and work together.

2. Wooden wheels, passenger cars/cabins, wooden base: I have attached the file I drew here . Feel free to use what I have, modify it, or create your own! I used a laser cutter that required that I use 0.001 pt and RGB red as its stroke color for cutting.

3. Large Acrylic gear: You can access my file here.

Step 3: Sand the Wood

After laser cutting your pieces, your wooden pieces may be rough with burn marks on them. Sanding the wood with sandpaper with your choice of fine grits will make your toy feel smooth and be clean of burn marks. You do not need to sand your acrylic pieces unless you want your acrylic pieces to have more scratch marks and be less transparent.

Step 4: Building the Miniature Passenger Cars/carriers

Use wood glue to piece together the miniature passenger cars/carriers. However be careful! The pieces are small and need time to dry.

Step 5: Put the Wheel Together

For the large wheel, attach a 1/8'' wooden piece with 1/4'' holes in them to the 1/4'' clear acrylic piece with hot glue. Then cut your 1/4'' dowel into pieces of 1.5 inch length and glue them into the 1/4'' holes. Before you attach the other side of the wheel, string the passenger cars/carriers along the 1.5 inch dowels then close the wheel with the remaining 1/8'' wooden piece with 1/4'' holes in them. Lastly, glue the 1/8'' circular wooden piece (without holes) on top of the most recent wooden piece that is on the opposite side of the clear acrylic piece.

Step 6: Set Up Your Arduino Board and Servo Motor

Setting up the Arduino board and servo motor can become quite complicated. Here are some resources that I recommend:

Following this link, you can use "Sweep" in the servo library. Test out the code, and modify the code to adjust the speed the servo moves at! The attached photo is the code I used for my ferris wheel.

Step 7: Design the Interior

With leftover scraps, you can glue pieces onto the interior side of the base to ensure that the motor and board stays in place. If not, perhaps organize the interior of the ferris wheel to be clean and accessible in case you need to open it up to change wires or fix a problem.

Step 8: Put the Base Together

1. Screw the smaller gear and the motor together so that it fits between the bottom hole on one side of the triangular piece (triangular piece without square opening).

2. Use a hammer or rubber mallet to insert a 1-inch piece of the 0.6-inch dowel into the top hole in the triangular piece (triangular piece without square opening).

3. With 1 long, rectangular acrylic pieces that extend the exterior of the triangle base, use a heat gun to melt the plastic so that it may bend at the triangle's corners. Then, glue it onto the interior side of a triangle piece so that it serves as the triangular base's sides.

4. With other leftover pieces or hinges, design a small door that you can open and close with the remaining triangular piece (the triangular piece with the square opening).

5. Close the triangle box base by gluing the remaining triangular piece to the clear acrylic sides.

Step 9: Attach the Big Wheel to Its Base

Attach the wheel to the base by placing the 0.6'' dowel that is attached to the base into the middle section of the wheel so that it is allowed to spin comfortably. Make sure the big gear and the little gear matches up!

Step 10: Power Your Ferris Wheel!

Plug the USB cord into an outlet and watch the ferris wheel spin!

Toys Contest

Participated in the
Toys Contest