Introduction: Rock Band Whirligig

This is a project I shared with my friends on youtube for the Whirligig Wars Contest 2015.

A whirligig is an object that spins or whirls, or has at least one member that spins or whirls. Whirligigs are also known as pinwheels, buzzers,comic weathervanes, gee-haws, spinners, whirlygigs, whirlijig, whirlyjig, whirlybird, or plain whirly. Whirligigs are most commonly powered by the wind but can be hand, friction, or motor powered. They can be used as a kinetic garden ornament. They can be designed to transmit sound and vibration into the ground to repel burrowing rodents in yards, gardens, and backyards.


This is a quite difficult project to make because it requires lots of very precise measurements and a really well equipped workshop, with lots of tools. I am going to give you some details of how I built it but really is a project that can not be transferred on plans. I will include a couple of videos though of the finished product and the "gear box". Hope you like it and inspire you.

Tools and materials I have used:

  • Band saw
  • Hand saw
  • Radial arm saw
  • Mitre saw
  • Planer
  • Jointer
  • Various size chisels
  • Hammer
  • Drill
  • 6mm, 8mm and 10mm drill bits
  • Router
  • Sander with 80 and 100 grid sandpaper
  • Nail gun
  • Glue
  • 2mm copper wire
  • 25mm nails
  • Hole saws 45mm, 25mm and 20mm
  • Threaded rod
  • Wing nuts and bolts
  • Bearings

Here is a video showing the finished product and another one showing the gears!

Step 1: Making the Rotor and Blades

On the two first pictures you can see the rough plans I have made for the rotor and blades, I have used pine and 4mm plywood for the blades

I cut everything on the band saw sanded all the parts and glued all together as shown on the images above.

After the glue to set I used a rasp to form the wooden block and drilled a 8mm hole right in the center of it.

Step 2: Making the Base

For the base I have used two pieces 12 x 10cm (WxH) and a 45 x 15cm and glued them as shown on the pics. Before I glue them together I drilled two holes on the small pieces 3cm from the bottom. Those holes will accomodate the bearings and the shaft for the gears.

Step 3: The Stage

The stage is also a 45 x 15cm piece of wood. I also used some 1.7 x 1.5cm stripes of wood to make the stage towers for the lights...

Step 4: The Instruments

The first instrument I did was the drumset. I cut a cylinder using my 4.5cm hole saw and attached two small pieces of wood to form the bass drum legs. For the tom toms I used a 2.0cm and a 2.5cm hole saw. Attached them on the bass drum with some glue and my nail gun. A 2.5cm hole saw was used for the floor tom.

I designed the guitars on a thin piece of wood and cut them on my band saw.

Some thin pieces of wood were used for the cymbal stand.

(I am sorry I can not provide many details for the exact dimensions but really everything I did on this project was not planned.)

Step 5: The Instrument Players

Also here everything is made freehand. I used a 2.8 x 3.5cm piece of wood for the players body and then some dowels to form legs and arms. I wanted the arms of the players to ba able to move so I did not glue the soulders on the body, just used some 2.5 cm nails.

Step 6: The Gears

I have used a gear generator to design the gears,which I cut on the band saw. I have attached them on the metal threaded rod with some wing nuts.

Step 7: Using It

Once the stage was attached on the base everything was ready for painting.

Now we let the wind do the rest!

Thanks for watching and once again I am sorry I could not provide many details and measurements for this project. Hope I inspired someone to build their own!

Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016

Participated in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest 2016