Posts Tagged ‘Ferris Wheels’

August 7, 2017 · by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Banks, Jim, Erector Sets, Models

Jim Banks' Skydiver

Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s I rode on tons of amusement park rides, and one that I always remembered fondly was the infamous “Skydiver”. Resembling a large Ferris wheel with rotating cars, the Skydiver was a rough and intimidating ride. Ride on this thing once and you’ll probably remember the experience for the rest of your life. I’ve never seen an Erector re-creation of the Skydiver so I got the idea to try and make one, thinking it would be a good challenge. I looked at real-life pictures of the Skydiver on the Internet to refresh my memory and provide a guide for how the eventual model should look.

First I prototyped the cars, trying to make them resemble the real thing, along with a small steering wheel on the center axis that the occupants tried vainly to control the out-of-control car. I was able to get the car to rotate on a 7” axle properly. Then I prototyped the large Ferris-type wheel, laying out all the pieces on the floor until I had a good idea of how things would lay out while fitting the 4 cars.

After figuring out the cars and Ferris-type wheel, I had to construct the towers. Since the wheel is larger than the traditional 8 1/2 set wheel, I had to make it taller by connecting two 12” MN base plates. This required extra supports using more 12” DP angle girders for structural strength and rigidity. I also beefed up the tops of each tower where a single “N” long double angle supports the full weight of the Ferris wheel and cars. If that N-part comes loose, it will rotate co-axially and everything will possibly come crashing down, so I added support with 3” MO angle girders and a few other parts and lots of screws. Possibly over-engineered but definitely strong enough to support the weight!

I had a bunch of extra 12” MN base plates so I used them to create the platform. After it was all together and the Skydiver wheel worked as planned, the last thing I did was add the loading and unloading platforms for all the brave souls that wanted to give this ride a try. I felt it adds to the overall effect.

The Skydiver was a colorful, visually pleasing ride, so I painted the MF base plates on the sides of each car blue to give it some color. I also used the red car trucks on the loading ramps, plus the red flat car trucks on the points of the Ferris wheel to add color.

I have to say I’m happy with how the project turned out. The action of the cars — rotating on axis as they moved in a Ferris wheel-type circular movement — mimics exactly how the cars of the Skydiver moved in real life.

View a video of Jim Banks' Skydiver Ferris Wheel
April 13, 2014 · by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Erector Sets, Models, Willard, Craig

Craig Willard writes: “This model was adapted from an original design of Bill Bean and Larry Worley. As we are all from the ACGHS I feel I had to try to copy and modify slightly what these gentlemen had done. The spectacular dimensions are listed at over 3 feet in diameter and 10 inches wide.  It took me just about 3 years to acquire, strip prime and paint (3 to 5 coats) all the parts for this piece. It is quite large and it runs very smoothly thanks to two A-49 Erector motors linked to each side of the Ferris Wheel and driven directly. The joy was building it but watching it is just as satisfying. I’ve installed 8 gondolas and additional EX and EY girders as well as a digitized sound unit of the amusement park sounds which really complete the effect.”

Craig Willard's Ferris Wheel
March 14, 2014 · by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Erector Sets, Worley, Larry

Larry writes: Over the Christmas holidays we had some house guests who wanted to see the Ferris wheel work. It was broken at the time and that was a little embarrassing. Well, I set out to fix it. While I was at that, I decided to keep the two motors, but add another drive axle. That makes the whole thing turn better now.

Then I decided to add some lights. After a little experimentation, I figured out a way to do it. I used a plastic blank from inside my blank CDs and attached a metal ring. It installed easily and wasn’t hard to adjust. I made the contact arm from Fiber Strips attached to a piece of spring steel.

It burns all the bulbs via a 6 volt battery hidden under the control house. I simply move the contact arm off the metal wheel and it can sit until the next time I want to run the lights.

This isn’t much, I know, but I am proud of it. Mostly proud that it is finally fixed.

  • Video of the Ferris wheel lights in action

Larry writes: I finally finished my B Model Ferris Wheel. It ran a bit jerky at first, but after a few adjustments and a good oiling it now runs smooth. I designed my version after the beautiful example that Bill Bean had created. I saw it when we visited his collection during the Dayton convention last year. I just couldn’t get that thing out of my head, so I built mine along the design of his. I had the usual problem getting the outer EZ’s to form a true circle at first. Then I remembered Doc’s tip on this problem and that really helped. The wheel with the eight gondolas is massive and a little heavy. I had to use two A49s to drive it. Of course, no model is really complete until the MX House is added.

Just to make it interesting to the viewer I experimented with various gearing and transmissions until I settled on these.

  • Video of Larry Worley's Ferris wheel in action
· by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Erector Sets, Ware, Dave

Dave Ware’s Carousel

Dave Ware writes: The horses for the carousel were made from a photograph of a real carousel horse. My wife traced them and colored them for me. Flashing lights were added to the base.

  • Watch a video of Dave Ware’s Carousel

Dave Ware’s Hand Operated Airplane Ride

Turn the crank and duck!

  • Watch a video of the Hand Operated Airplane Ride

Dave Ware’s Parachute Jump

Dave Ware writes: This is the model as revised by Gilbert in 1949. Use of the OI segment of 72 tooth gear allowed for a simpler mechanism. This innovation and the increase of the height to almost 6 feet made for a much improved model. The action was now completely automatic. Parachutes were homemade using silk cloth and swizzle sticks.

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

There is an inner track on this Ferris wheel which has a small car on it. As the wheel turns the car rolls backward because gravity keeps it on the bottom of the track.

The baskets are mounted on the outside of the wheel to clear the inner track. The wheel is raised to allow for this.

The car has a gear on the axle which spins 2 weights on the end of short strings. They strike wheels mounted on the wheels to make the musical sounds. Prewar wheels make the best sound.

  • Watch a video of Dave Ware’s Musical Ferris Wheel
· by David Gilbert · Amusement Park Rides, Erector Sets, Ware, Dave

This is my double size Ferris wheel. The wheel stands almost 4 feet high. Each side of the wheel is made with alternating E Curved and B straight girders; 13 each. The spokes are 2 lengths of C girders tied to a BN turret plate. Eleven EZ Big Channel Girders form a circle which is attached to the outer spokes to provide extra stiffness to the wheel. There are 8 basket seats. Each seat has an MH wheel on the end of its axle for decoration.

The inner red circle of CS wheel segments and the outer spoked wheel are locked to the axle which does not turn. The wheel, inner spoked wheel and commutator turn freely on the axle and are driven by a 2 BN, BT pulley fixed to the back BN turret plate which has long screws through it to fit into the pulley holes. The pulley is spaced out on the screws so that the drive string clears the wheel. A P37 collar and washer is used on each side of the hubs and drive pulley to keep them in place and reduce friction.

Eight light sockets (Radio Shack 272-359) are set around the wheel and are set to flash using a commutator from Brian Johnson. The mounting holes for the sockets were drilled out to fit Erector screws. A bare wire was soldered to one terminal of the socket and wrapped around the mounting screw. The wires for the other terminals are run down the spokes and tied together at the hub and then to the commutator.

· 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.

  • Watch a video of Dave Ware's Ferris Wheel
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