Hand-cranked Ferris Wheel

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Project by DaleMaley posted 12-05-2018 05:47 PM 1106 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My grandkids play with my hand-cranked toys, and I take them to a couple of public events each year…......and the adults love playing with them as well!!

A month or so ago, I built a hand-cranked windmill or fan….....and the kids loved playing with it at Thanksgiving. I posted this project here previously.

Then I decided to build a hand-cranked Ferris Wheel. It would be similar to the hand-cranked fan, in that it would have a gear train of 5 gears going from a lower crank to the upper Ferris Wheel.

This project turned out to be more difficult and longer than I originally thought…...........but on Serial #1 projects there is a lot of testing and learning :)

I wanted to use the little wooden people, male and female, wood parts sold by Cherry Tree toys. I got the carrier design idea from an Internet search…....yielding an antique hand cranked steel Ferris Wheel. The size of the little wood people drove the size of the carriers….....and in turn drove the size of the Ferris Wheel.

I chose a 2:1 gear reduction ratio for the gear set, and I wanted an odd number of gears, so the Ferris Wheel turned in the same direction as the crank. The gears are made from 3/4” thick red oak and sawn on the scroll saw. The 2:1 gear reduction ratio turned out about right…......I could have gone to 3:1 as well.

The carriers are maple, dipped in mineral oil for the finish. I hand painted the little people using a small pointed artist’s brush, and a toothpick to crop a smidgeon of paint for the eyes. The rest of the model is red oak. I used Behlen’s grain filler on the 2 outer rims, to help fill any gaps between the 6 glued up segments that make the rims.

I made a Youtube video, which shows the Ferris Wheel in motion......

I had a lot of Trials & Tribulations on this project, you can see them on my woodworking web site.


-- Dale, Illinois,

7 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


6556 posts in 3074 days

#1 posted 12-05-2018 06:00 PM

That truned out very well and should keep many turning things going for a while.

Very neat project.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View DaleMaley's profile


520 posts in 3044 days

#2 posted 12-05-2018 06:05 PM

That truned out very well and should keep many turning things going for a while.

Very neat project.

- ralbuck

Thanks!! When I take my toys to public events, the adults have just as much fun as the kids playing with them!!

-- Dale, Illinois,

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

24974 posts in 3913 days

#3 posted 12-05-2018 09:11 PM

Very cool. I love it!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7668 posts in 1520 days

#4 posted 12-05-2018 09:26 PM

hope you dont encounter a law suit against you on first test when riders fell out LOL GREAT JOB :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View swirt's profile


5328 posts in 3780 days

#5 posted 12-06-2018 02:19 AM

Very cool. Well done.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4594 days

#6 posted 12-06-2018 05:24 AM


-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Woodtodust's profile


75 posts in 2645 days

#7 posted 12-06-2018 12:56 PM

Very nice project. Thank you for sharing the build details on your Web site. My daughter-in-law would really like one of these. With your permission I would like to give it a go.

-- Bill...Richmond Hill, GA--"83% of all statistics are made up."

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