Building a spinning wheel


Old 06-20-06, 01:58 PM
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Question Building a spinning wheel

Ok hopefully this in in the right forum. I want to build a big wheel, similar to the wheel of fortune but upright and similar to the "big 6" wheel in Vegas (Click here for photo).

I'm not looking for something really professional or to build something that wll last for 50 years, i just need something functional that spins easily and won't be really difficult to build.

I have created some basic drawings:

Wood seems like the easiest and cheapest way, so i'm going to need a large round peice of wood and long peice for the stand.

Whats the best way of going about building this and how can i make the wheel spin smoothly. Also i'm in San Diego so if you suggest a material can you also suggest where i should go to buy it. Also please bare in mind i'm a rank amatuer!

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Old 06-20-06, 03:46 PM
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It shouldn't be too difficult to do, even with basic tools. As you mentioned, you will probably need at least a half sheet of 3/4" sandeply, cabinet grade plywood. May cost about $20 at one of the big boxes or your local lumber yard. The stand will probably have to be built from framing lumber in order to be stable enough for someone to spin it (2x6 or 2x8 come to mind)
To make the wheel, you want to find dead center of your wood. From each edge, measure 24" and make a mark. This should be center, but if the wood is not cut precisely, the marks may need to be adjusted. Place a screw in the plywood at this point with part of it left sticking up. Using mason's line, tie one end loosely around the screw and make an overhand loop at the other end exactly at 24" when stretched out. From Boy Scout training, use a half hitch and it will be adjustable. Lay the board on a table or the floor, place a sharp pencil in the 24" loop and trace a circle around your board. Using a jig saw, cut it out and sand the edges smooth.
As far as it spinning smoothly, go to an autoparts store and purchase a wheel bearing, trying to keep it within 2" in diameter. With a fortsner bit that corresponds, or is slightly smaller than the bearing, drill a clean hole in the middle of the board, where you had your screw. Sanding the hole repeatedly will allow you to insert and drive the bearing and race into the hole. If you over drill the hole, don't trash it, as you can recover. Cut a couple of 6" diameter circles and drill a 1" hole in each one, and fasten them with screws over the bearing in order to keep it caged. You will need to find something that will work for an axle, so keep this in mind when you buy the bearing.
This will get you started, so post back if I can clear anything up for you, or add to this.
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