The Dallow - Laser Cutting an Old Fashioned Trapeze Toy




I made this old fashion style trapeze toy in the image of my friend Matt for his birthday. You can make one to look like any person or thing you like!

Step 1: 1. Body Parts:

I first designed the body parts for the trapeze puppet in Illustrator then sent them to the laser cutter. You'll need a torso, two arms and two legs. I also added some glasses and a moustache that I glued on to complete the resemblance. You should include tiny wire sized holes where the legs and arms will join to the body.

Step 2: 2. Assemble the Figure:

Next take some wire and thread it through the left arm, shoulder and right arm and bend the ends so the pieces stay on. Do the same for the left leg, hips, and right leg.

Step 3: 3. Make the Trapeze Rig:

For the trapeze rig, you'll need two wooden dowels of equal length and one short piece a few inches long in the middle. About an inch form the top of each dowel you need to carve out a little notch on the outer sides of the dowels, this will hold the trapeze string in place. The idea is to make a lopsided H with the three dowel pieces, so nail the small piece in between the two larger ones a few inches from the bottom.

Step 4: 4. Stringing the Puppet:

Finally you'll attach the puppet to the rig on his trapeze string. The trick is to string the puppet so when it is standing on its head above the trapeze the strings are straight and untwisted, but when he is hanging right side up there is a twist in the string loop. This recreates the movement when you squeeze the dowels. Thread the string through the holes in the hands and knot it in a fairly tight loop. Pull the loop over the ends of the dowels so that it fits into the notches you cut in them.

Step 5: 5. Squeeze and Play!

You are finished! Now squeeze the dowels bellow your cross piece and watch your trapeze artist do his thing!

Trapeze Toy from Nono Solo on Vimeo.



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    6 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Really a great idea. Love it! Would like to make several for my granddaughter's kendergarden class (she is the teacher). Would it be possible to send me the AI or dxf file for the man?


    3 years ago

    its very funny i like play


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Like it! I still have an old one of these my Dad bought me very many years ago .. might have a go at making one. Could also use an adaptation of a 3D printed avatar...


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Skimmed title and looked at picture... For a second I thought this was about laser cutting your rather awesome Van Dyke. Carry on.


    Thats an amazing toy! So many intricate moves with so little mechanistry behind it. Baffling.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    The are so fun to play with,now i finally know how to make them :)