Introduction: Make a Horse Carousel

A while ago I was sitting around wondering what to do with an empty CD container/carousel. Some containers look so well crafted you hate to throw them away. Since I don't have a 3D printer, I like to keep certain containers that, lend themselves to projects I have yet to conceive. No, I am not a hoarder, my house is just too small. Just kidding.

Back to the matter at hand. I love kinetic toys so I thought it would be interesting if I could turn this into some sort of kinetic toy.  Since this container was round I thought a horse carousel might work. Below are the steps I took to craft it.

Here is What you will need:


Empty CD Container
Two CD's that you don't mind destroying. .
Hot Glue and gun.
printed horses
Four wood dowels 3 inches in length. Approximately a quarter inch in diameter or slightly smaller.
and some tape.
Orange cellophane (optional)

Step 1: Getting Started

Find some pictures of horses online and print them out. I had to import the pictures I found into Adobe Photoshop and reduce them to 3 inches high before printing. I also, Taped a small section of cardboard on the back to add some rigidity.

Step 2: Cutting the Wood Dowels

Take a wood dowel with a quarter inch diameter or less and cut out four 3 inch sections. I used a dremel to cut it. I suppose you could use 4 long toothpicks if you don't have a wood dowel. The sticks rock candy comes on would work well.

Step 3: Gluing the Dowels

Drill four holes in a CD you don't want anymore. Place the holes at equal spatial distances at the outer edge of the CD. The size of the hole should be the same size as the four wood dowels. These will be your dowel holes. Place the CD with the holes on top of another CD. We will be gluing these CD's together so match them up as good as you can and temporarily clip them together with either a paper clip or clothes pin. Next, put a dab of hot glue on the tip of the dowel and insert it in the CD where you drilled the hole. Hold the dowel for a few seconds while the glue dries and cools. Repeat this step for the other 3 holes.

Step 4: String Holes

Moving on, drill four small holes in the CD, large enough for string to pass through. The string holes should be at the outer edge. Alternatively, you can connect the string to the base of the wood dowels if you like.

Next, Drill four small holes at the top of the CD carousel shaft, perpendicular to each other, like the four points of a compass. These holes should  only be large enough for string to pass through. I used larger twine so that it show up better in the picture.

Step 5: Attaching the Strings

Cut two sections of string about 20 inches long. We will trim these later. Pass the string straight through the holes at the top of the carousel shaft, like threading the eye of a needle. Next, place the CD on the carousel and then  pass the string through the string hole on the CD and tie a knot. Now your string should be going through the top of the carousel and tied to the CD at the outer edge, to one of the four string holes. The other end of the string should be tied to the opposite side of the CD but before you tie it make sure the CD is not resting on the bottom of the carousel, use a spacer like a 9 volt battery to keep the CD off the bottom, then tie your second knot. Do this again for the other two holes. At this point the CD should be suspended by the strings.

Step 6: Adding Horses

Next, tape your horses on. Should you happen to have a 3D printer you might want to print the horses. For that matter, you could print the whole thing. At this point, I thought the top was missing something so I glued on some orange cellophane that I had left over from a fruit roll. Naturally, this would look better with 3d horses but consider this as a proof of concept.

Step 7: How to Operate

Finally, to operate, hold the base and spin the horses all the way to the top then let go and watch them spin. I think a life size version of this in a park, might be interesting.

Optional modification, add a light emitting diode at the top of each horse and connect it to some magnet wire looped under the CD. Next glue a few neodymium magnets on the bottom of the carousel. If done correctly, when the horses spin the LED's should light intermittently when in range of the magnets, effectively turning the carousel into a mini electric generator. You can experiment with this and add your own modifications. See homo-polar motor for further modification ideas.


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