This project was inspired by two shows I saw on PBS the past few weeks. The first being Roy Underhill’s “Woodwright’s Shop”. The episode featured Roy making whirligigs. If you are unfamiliar with this show, perhaps you may remember it as “the guy who builds stuff out of wood without using power tools” show. The second show is called “Make” and features people making weird stuff out of junk.

I figured that I have a bunch of junk laying around and plenty of free time, so why not make a whirligig? Here is what I came up with:

It is a dog that wags its tail when the wind blows. I used a simple crank to transfer the rotational motion of a shaft to the up and down motion of the tail. It is built entirely with stuff I had laying around. Most of the wood was cut from leftovers from when my dad was framing his house. The sheet metal propeller blades and tail are cut from a piece of old ductwork. I had to buy a piece of brass rod for the shaft. The tail is a little flimsy, so I may re-design it using a sturdier piece of wood. Right now it is cut from a paint can stirrer.

This one is kind of a prototype to test and see if the propeller worked, and I am happy to report it works great. So, I think I will build more, making them more complex and a little more “finished”.

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2 Responses to Whirligig

  1. Dianne says:

    Are these going to be for sale on Ebay?

  2. Andrea says:

    Impressive! I think there may be a whirligig somewhere at PaPaws! Im thinking it’s painted red? I’ve been meaning to get up in the attic to send you a pic of that light… I try to avoid stairs at all costs. 🙂

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