Monday, March 23, 2015


After completing the MACHINE last November I was sort of surfing the internet looking at things trying to get an idea for another project when I ran onto images of carousels. Hundreds of them and no two seemed to be exactly alike. That gives a builder a lot of leeway in incorporating ideas of his own. A very labor intensive project, yes, but I went for it anyway and four months later there is one sitting on display in the living room as seen below.
The above picture is a close up while still in the workshop.

I could go into a detailed rundown of its construction,but that would get real boring in a hurry, so I'll just show a few highlights.
The base or foundation was built out of 1/2" Baltic Burch plywood. The base holds the drive mechanism, the transformer for the lights, and the sound system.The entire rotating part of all carousels is carried by a single shaft in the center that supports a structure of wood and metal. Even the lower deck hangs from this structure.
There needs to be gears to turn the cranks that cause the animals go up and down, and they had to be made special for the job.

Below is a picture of the column for the model, with a slip ring that provides power for the lights. you also see the Bodine gear motor, drive pulley, and the belt. That yellow belt is out of an old clothes dryer.

The 24 animals were carved out of Baltic Birch plywood. The reason for using plywood is so the thin sections would have strength in all directions. A left and right side was sawed out for each one using the scroll saw and the two haves glued together. shaping and detailing was done with a Dremel tool using various shaped burrs. It was not a fast operation, it took a whole month to create the animals.
Painting was done with acrylic tole paints and then embellished with little plastic gems from the Hobby Lobby Store. There are over 1000 of those little gems on this project. That makes it sparkle.
About half way through the project, Darlene my bride of 61 years ago passed away after a lengthy struggle with dementia. In honor of her I adopted a family theme and decided to decorate the fascia with pictures of our family members. Rather than the most current, I tried to use the most happy looking ones. It required learning a new computer skill of sizing and cropping each face into an oval border. It was a slow process, and about the time I became proficient at it I was done.

And finally a video of it in action. By the way the amplifier for the sound system is designed for a motor cycle, and the music is stored on a USB flash drive. However it seems to work just fine for this application.


Anonymous said...

Great work Birk - I am sure that Darlene is very happy with it. You are the best.
John G

Remigi said...

Beautiful Work! Amazing!