Dave Ware’s “B” Ferris Wheel

March 14, 2014 · by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Erector Sets, Ware, Dave

I bought a partial B Ferris Wheel set at the National Convention auction. Thanks to a tip from Mike Devita via Bruce Hansen I painted all the red pieces with Dupli-Color Engine Enamel color #DE1632. I had been led to believe that 18 EZ’s did not make a true circle and that some overlapping was necessary. However, when they were joined together, they fit just fine with no overlapping. This was a plus since overlapping would have resulted in an unbalanced wheel. There were 108 holes around the circle so the 8 spokes needed to be 13 ½ holes apart on the wheel. To get the half spaces, every other spoke was attached to a center hole on the EZ’s which are spaced half way between the 108 inner holes. Each of the 4 spokes on the inner holes was made from a C and a B girder. The other 4 spokes that were connected to the center holes were made from 2 overlapping C girders that were made one hole longer than the other 4 spokes to reach the center holes. The resulting wheels were 34 ¼” in diameter.

I didn’t have BA hubs and AZ Bull Wheel Plates, so I substituted BN hubs with enlarged center holes to fit a larger axle. This axle was made from a 1/4” threaded rod. This allowed nuts to be tightened on each side of the BN hubs to secure them to the axle. Another pair of BN hubs were fasten together, drilled out and secured on the threaded rod with nuts to serve as a drive wheel.

The cabs were made per the originals, except that MD base plates were used for the bottoms as I was short on Q base plates. The roofs were attached with CH right angles. The roofs had to be carefully forced into a curve to attach them. Note the double curvature of the roofs.

I did not have BB segment plates, so I substituted 2 Ps and 2 MOs for each.

The inner 2 of these assemblies were drilled out to allow the axle to pass through and a patio sliding door bearing was attached to each to act as a bearing for the threaded rod.

The space between the wheels resulting from the FT spacers was 6 5/8” while the FU cab roofs were 6 3/8”. This meant that the screws holding the circle segments and the spokes stuck out and prevented the cabs from turning freely because the roofs hit the ends of the screws. After trying unsuccessfully to find places for the cabs that were away from screws, I put the cab axles through the ends of the four shorter spokes after removing the mounting screws. A P37 collar with no set screw and one with a set screw on each side of the cabs kept the cabs centered and the spokes pressed against the wheels.

Two of the cab positions were at segment junctions, so the outer screw of the junction also had to be removed. To compensate for this an I 21 hole strip was attached across the inside of each in such a way that the screws holding the I were just out of reach of the cab roofs as they swung. The FT spacers also were in the way of the cabs turning, so after studying the diagram in the manual, I moved 8 ot the FT spacers so that each one was 6 holes from each side of a cab axle. This left 15 hole spaces between each pair of FTs. One FT was put 8 holes from one of each pair and 7 holes from the other of each pair, being careful to maintain symmetry (and balance).

The rest of the tower and supports were made per the manual. I found that the square girders made from EXs and EYs could not be tightened as much as the C square girders. Too much tightening resulted in the girders beginning to bulge. Instead of a board, DP girders were used to form the base. The size of the base was set at 34 ½” x 12 ½”. The Ferris Wheel was driven by an A49 motor. A string drive worked because the wheel is balanced and because the string was tied too small, the knot was glued with Elmers, and when dry, the ends were trimmed and the string was stretched over the pulleys.

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