Author Options:

Simple homemade clutch for a flywheel toy? Answered

I love those old flywheel toy cars and pump tops, but they are getting too rare to disassemble and I'd love to know how they work! I understand the push part, like in a push drill. What I can't seem to find is how to get the wheel faster and faster with repeated pumps. There must be some sort of clutch that somehow doesn't need to match speed with the spinning wheel, and it must be simple, or they wouldn't have used it in those (originally) inexpensive old toys, I do remember that there was no ratchet noise. But I can't figure it out. I know this sort of thing used to be quite common, but I'm drawing a blank on the internet. Any help will be appreciated!
Many thanks!


you might check friction motor or windup mechanism such as in a music box

Many of these toys use a gear that sits in a slot, when pushed the flywheel "picks up" the gear and moves it to the top of the slot engaging with the drive wheels and powering the flywheel, when the wheels are not been driven the gear drops down allowing the flywheel to drive the wheels instead of the other way round.

I have seen some that simply connect wheels to flywheel directly stepping down the flywheel speed to suite the road wheels. Had to untangle one such from my child's hair once. Ouch!

Not sure how old yours are but in the ones I took apart as a kid there was no fancy clutch or similar.
I had two different types, might be the simple one was from china...
The first used a spring and lock system like on your fishing reel or bicycle rear wheel.
As long as the toy spinds faster than the push thread the locks fly past.
Is the push pin faster the pins can grab and transfer the speed.
The simple one only used plastic pins doing the same.
The really old ones however used a push drill mechanism as patented by the company Lorenz Bolz for that purposes in 1913.
Within their patents you also find the description for the music ones that play a song while spinning.

Its probably like the ones in a modern salad spinner.