A carousel is an amusement ride with rotating seats. Carousels provide entertainment for children of all ages and are particularly popular at birthday parties or other celebrations. Most amusement parks have large carousels, and there are numerous companies that rent carousels for backyard use. Building your own carousel gives you with an affordable way to provide a great deal of fun for children at your next party.
Items you will need
- Four wooden boards 20 inches long by 18 inches high
- 48 steel nails
- Wheel spindle
- Electric drill
- Six 12-inch steel bolts
- Four lock washers
- Mechanical wrench
- Four 8-foot-long 2x4s
- 12 steel angles
- Two plywood sheets 8 feet long by 8 feet wide
- Measuring tape
- ¼-horsepower electric motor with drive wheel
- Wood connector
- Four wooden boards 5 feet long
Dig a hole 20 square inches in size and 30 inches deep. Nail the four 20-inch-long wooden boards together using two nails per side and place the wooden box around the perimeter of the outside of the hole.
Drill four holes into the backing plate of the wheel spindle and insert the 12-inch steel bolts through the holes. Suspend the wheel spindle above the hole using metal bars or additional pieces of wood. Fill the hole with quick-dry concrete to the top of the wood box. Make sure the 12-inch steel bolts are covered completely in concrete.
When the concrete is dry, fasten the four lock washers to the tops of the 12-inch steel bolts with the mechanical wrench.
Nail the 8-foot-long 2x4s together using two steel angles to hold each corner of the boards. Each steel angle requires two nails, so you will use a total of 16 nails to secure the 2x4s together. Place the wooden frame around the wheel spindle so that the wheel spindle is in the center of the frame.
Nail the two plywood sheets to the wooden frame using 16 additional steel nails. Cut out a circle 8 inches in diameter in the center of the plywood sheets so that the wheel spindle is exposed.
Attach the drive wheel of the ¼-horsepower electric motor to the spindle wheel with the 5-inch pulley strap. Make sure the carousel is located near a power source for the electric motor.
Bolt the circular wood connector to the center of the wheel spindle using the two remaining 12-inch steel bolts. The wood connector is a circular piece of wood with a hole in the middle and with four attachment branches around the side. The wood connector should sit approximately 1 inch above the plywood base.
Nail one end of each of the 5-foot-long wooden boards to the attachment branches of the wood connector. Nail or glue the other end of the wooden boards to the carousel seats. The seats should have wheels on the bottom so that they can rotate around the carousel's plywood base.
You can make your own seats for the carousel or you can buy accessories (such as ponies, cars and airplanes) from a carousel manufacturer such as Carousel Works.
You can purchase the electric motor and the wheel spindle from a junkyard or from an auto parts supplier. Make sure the bearings on the wheel spindle are in good condition.
In very cold climates, you should want to dig the hole 30 inches deep to increase the stability of the carousel.
Make sure the boards connecting the wood connector to the carousel seats are raised off of the plywood base. If the boards drag, they will create friction and prevent the carousel seats from rotating.