[Maker’s Notes] DIY Carousel


I often see exquisite laser cut artifacts made by foreign companies in Eslite Bookstores or on the Internet. I hope that one day I could make my own masterpiece! To make a nice piece of work, friction is the key. Although this version was just a prototype, I still decided to develop it in full size.


After modifying the prototype, the basic architecture is already similar to the intended final draft. That being said, there are some adjustments to be made including the following:

  1. Two changes in the moving parts. Using a set of shaped eccentric cams and moving parts to allow upward and downward movements, and the cams can be actuated by rack and pinion. It was difficult to laser cut a gear rack, but not a problem with 3D printing. The whole process became more complex, but the design allowed parts to move smoothly, which also reduced the friction between different parts.
  2.  In the first version, the revolving pillars appeared to be shaky. Because of that, an extra frame was added to limit its range of motion. 
  3. A Roof On top: Although it looked quite monotonous for a moment, it turned out better after some help with Illustrator!
  4. Strengthen the Structure: A wider central pillar was placed to support the roof and a gasket was added onto the rack and pinion stage. By doing so, wooden parts could withstand the force generated by rack and pinion.
  5. Easier Assembly: It was difficult to assemble some parts during testing due to the confined space. However, thanks to the interference fit, the assembly became so much easier.

The assembly took about three to four hours. Unlike the Ugears products that feature press fit and glue-free assembly, I put together the carousel using wood glue (Titebond), wood wax oil (Looben), instant glue (MxBON), and a small amount of lubricating oil to strengthen the structure and facilitate operation.

The assembly of the carousel.

Although the assembly was time-consuming and not dummy-proof, which required some fine-tuning afterward, it was still the first time I tried a project of this size. For this, I am quite satisfied with the result and proud of myself.



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