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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm planning on a Carnival theme this year and want to build a Ferris wheel. Its only a prop and will be filled with 4' skeleton riders not humans. Has anyone out there made one and can give me any advice?

I have a rotating x-mas tree base that I am planning to mount horizontally on the upright arms. By using the Xmas tree base I can use lights without them twisting around the central shaft. The shaft will have 2 parallel wheels with openings to accept the arms. That way it can be dismantled for transportation and storage.

Each of the 8 arms will be 8' long so the the overall diameter will be over 16'. Of course this will have to be mounted a little higher so that the cars at the lowest point will not scrape the ground. The carts will hang from a wooden dowel and allowed to swing free so that gravity holds them down as the wheel spins.

The uprights will be a simple a-frame that will be decorated to match the theme. It will be attached to a wider base for stability and staked to the ground for safety. Just like a real ferns wheel it will have to be fenced off so that over excited TOTs don't run up and try to climb on.


I look forward to your input!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Little progress

Normally by now I am a lot further along in my Halloween build, but this year I lack motivation. Let me rephrase that, I've had too many other projects around the house to consider working on my hobbies. In a perfect world, someone else would take care of the "honey do" list and I could concentrate on the important stuff like Halloween.

So far I have only managed to cut to a couple of pieces and tried to figure out some of the spacing. I have determined that I prefer an 8 basket arm wheel over a 6 basket arm wheel. I'm also a GO BIG OR GO HOME kinda guy, so I've decided it will probably max out at around 19'. Luckily storage isn't a problem (at this point) but transportation is. Everything has to fit in the back of my small Toyota pickup to go to the warehouse. So the arms will have to come off. It should be interesting seeing this thing go together.

I'm thinking of going with a spider theme and cutting the arm to arm bracing in a spider web fashion. That way I can call it the Black Widow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I worked most of the weekend working out the mechanics of making a center axle and wheel to accept the arms of the Ferris Wheel so that it can be easily disassembled for transport and storage. I have cut 4 plywood circles. One each for inside and outsides of the 2 wheels. I then cut and mounted interior supports so that each side of the arms will slide into the wheel then be screwed down. It involved a lot of sanding and cutting, but they are together and the arms fit.

I also worked on the carts. First I measured the skeleton and made a model. The seat is 9" deep, 9" tall and 18"wide. Even though the TOTs will not be touching it, I spent a lot of time sanding everything smooth.

Next, I need to start painting and assembling the arms and base.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm thinking its going to be about 16 feet tall so doubt it'll make it under the bridges, but it would be fun to see going down the road! I'd follow that to see where it was going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OMG Screaming Demons is right. Its a Giant Tinker Toy!! I was always more of a Lego kid but making giant Legos is a pain in the rear (but I have thought about it for Halloween one year).

A lego theme would be fun. I could make giant boxes out of 2x2s and cover them with different colored cloth. or I could carve big lego walls out of styrofoam and we could all dress up like legos. I could make the round knobs on the top out of pool noodles cut down into short barrels. I doubt my older TOT's would get a kick out of it but the little kids would LOVE IT.
 

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I just thought I'd drop a quick note to say how much I respect, and admire, the willingness to not only think on a grand scale, but the follow-through to actually bring these visions to life each year.

I'm wishing the best of luck in this incredible endeavor, and I will be following along with interest.

I'm sure that I speak for many others when I say that I can't wait to see the finished product, and thanks for taking us along on this 'ride'.
;)
 

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Wow that's some really nice work there. I love your construction and paint colors chosen. Are you sure the motor from the Xmas tree stand will be strong enough for it? I liked your approach and have thought of doing something similar but not with real wood, mine was going to be more of a silhouette of one to keep the weight down. In fact bought a few of the stand last year on sale after xmas. Thought I'd use the other one for a spinning wheel with strapped assistant for a knife throwing act. Which stand are you using?

I can't wait to see more of your progress.

BTW now that battery operated light strands are more readily available it makes it easier to attach lighting to something that will turn and catch cords otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Took last week off work to build a Ferris wheel. I didn't get as much done as I had hoped. But i did manage to get the Pillow Bearings ordered from Amazon. Hopefully they will be in this week.

I dry fitted the base together. Glad I did because it turns out to be about an foot shorter than I need. As it is now the skeletons feet will drag the ground on the lower end. I thought I had accounted for this but wasn't enough. I will have to go back and replace the 8 footer with a 10 footer then cut it down to size.

I also dry fitted one side of the wheel before making the arms so that I could get a measurement for the cross bracing that completes the Spiderweb appearance. Each outer cross brace is 5' 6"and the inner is 2' 6". They are cut from plywood and will require a lot of sanding before they can be painted.

In my spare time and on the few rainy days I painted some shadow/highlights on the carts to give them a more 3-D look.

My Garage is looking a lot like Halloween. About this time every year I have to climbing over stuff to get into and out of the house. If you look closely at the pics of the garage you will see a large plastic trunk full of big white balls. These are outdoor light fixtures that I found at a church rummage sale for a $1.00 each. They have required a little cleaning and TLC but I hope they will look good with red lights on the tops of my poles!

Good luck every one!
 

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