About: A retired electronics engineer -motorola. delveing into new craft ideas and contest entries.

MAKE THE SQUIRREL WORK FOR HIS FOOD-The wind will make him do it. This whirlygig can be made in 1 day from throw-away items.

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Step 1: Whirlygig Wind Mobiles Basics

Wind mobiles-- To make a wind mobile  all one needs is an  action item . This activity will repeat as long as the wind blows.
        We have published several whirlygigs in Instructables that utilize old bottles of plastic. Ref:nstructables by Mistic
All one needs is a rotating mechanism that translates  a propeller rotation into a reciprocal motion. This can be done with a rotating cam attached to the axle as we will shoe here. It can be any size that you want the object to move. In this case we used a one inch diameter cam. It could have been a 2 inch diameter disk thus giving a 1-1/2 inch up and down motion.
     The object to be moved must have a rotating member ,in this case the squirrel's body.It could be a rabbit  ,etc. cracking an egg.
It could be a lady milking a cow. It needs a repeating motion  to succeed .
     The object can be wood ,as plywood. In  this case we used a sheet of  left over gutter repair aluminum .026 in. thickness which we cut out with a shear.A coping saw can be used for plywood figures easily.
     The wind power converter is a propeller. A wooden propeller[ prop] can be constructed from thin wood . We used old drink bottles as a prop. This way we helped out environmentally. Any piece of wood as a 2x4 can be used as a hub for the props.
      The axle can be a problem . We have found some jumbo paper clips that we straightened out  to work fine. You  can use any steel item as a wire coat hanger. Some  hobby shops sell 1/8 in. diam. steel threaded rods and nuts[6-32] for axles.
      Linkage can be a problem connecting the cam to the figure. We used stretch string found in jewelry dept. of craft stores.We also have used stiff wire formed in a loop around the cam connection to work fine.  The string was used to also to stop the figure from rotating too far,this is not needed when using a wire linkage.See materials list .

Step 2: Materials

The list indicates the materials .Ref. figure.Item 1 to 17. Most material can be substituted from one's junk box. Ex. the wood cam can be a plastic rod. The 4-40 machine screws [item 4] can be 6-32 screws.
 Item 8  are crimps used to connect the loop for the cam. These crimps are found  in craft stores as jewelry crimps. One can used eyelets as crimps also.
Item 10- home made plastic washers can be cut out of old gift cards or credit cards.
Item 9   eyes- found in craft section.  can be painted on.
Item 12 old broom handle . cut off a 14 in. thick cam. Drill a 1/8 in hole in centerand a 1/8 in hole for the 4-40 screw or 6-32 screw.
Item 6 can be any plastic tube . We used a soda straw for the hub section of the axle. and a swizzle straw for the cam  straw separators.
Item 2- nail. we used an 2in. long nail , steel or aluminum. This nail feeds into a remaining 5 foot long broom handle drilled in the end with a 1/8 in. drill bit and a Dremel tool. The resulting upright is placed on a fence or pounded into the ground in an open area.

Step 3: Assembly

The figure--
      After cutting out the figures or using wood figures the parts are assembled.
Connect the two legs to the body. Use the washers as shown for keeping the parts apart  and easy to move.
Connect the legs to the long shaft body  using the screws or just glue them on.
Connect by gluing the hammer and the Nut and tree trunk.

The cam-
      Form the steel axle as shown with one end formed as a hook. This hook will be glued to the hub to keep the axle rotating with the hub.. The other en will fit into the cam.The end of the axle can be indented with a saw  to anchor the cam to it with glue.
See step one for this  layout. The cam can be  coated with lacquer to prevent it from absorbing  rain water.Epoxy glue is best here.
Use a piece of straw tubing on the cam axle and the 4-40 screw. Use  the 4-40 nuts as shown.

Cam to figure connector-
        We used  1mm.diam. stretch string here. Form a loop around the 4-40 screw and tubing and crimp loosely. then run about 2 in. length up to the hole in the figure and crimp it. {wire can also be used here  for a connector }.

Prop and hub.
        Use a 1-1/2 cube of wood. drill out the holes as shown. For the prop use 12 inch long bottles cut out  1/2 of a side.
Drill out a hole in the bottle caps for the wood screws. assemble the caps then screw on the bottles.
Make sure the bottles are rotated so that they will catch the wind  and rotate .Test with a puff of air.Assemble to the axle.

Tail- Cut out the 13in. long tail and wire it in with the paper clip wire. as  shown.

Step 4: Test It.

After assembly and painting the figure with any paint the Gig is ready for the out of doors.
    Check to make sure the figure is rotating up and down  so as to seem to hit the nut. We use a second string at the front of the body to adjust the back motion. Crimp the string at this point. This is not needed if you use a wire connecting rod to the cam as an alternate.
    Use a long  wood rod or broom handle ,pounded into the ground as the final support.

Now wait for a slight breeze- The propeller is properly adjusted to catch a breeze . If so then use some Goop glue and glue the cap to the bottle as a final adhesion at the edges near the hub. This construction withstood a 60MPH storm quite nicely.

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    3 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    An additional comment on the cam construction. I recommend that the Goop be replaced by an Epoxy paste form glue on the attachment of the axle to the cam disc. The revised device withstood heavy rain and 50mph winds here in Chicago.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I hope I make it to retirement age so I can do crazy cool stuff like this


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Early Instructables useful in making the propeller: by Mistic

    Recycled bottle whirligig space shuttle dated Jan.21,2010.

    Rotating whirligig .. may 2,2009

    by Mistic