36 April 2017
vintage sets are still available online and in antique stores
for a reasonable price. Some are in poor condition with
rusty parts that need some TLC, but occasionally you find
primo sets that are ready to use or that you just have to
get. Recently, I saw a beautiful No. 12 1/2 on eBay that I
was sorely tempted to buy. We’ll see.
Building the Ferris Wheel
Okay, enough of the reminiscing. Let’s get on with
how I built the Giant Ferris Wheel and added some
modern components to enhance it, like an Arduino
microcontroller. Figure 3 shows the end result.
After several months of searching online for a suitable
No. 8 1/2 set, I found a decent looking one for $150 on
eBay. When it arrived, I was a little disappointed because
the steel girders were dulled by oxidation; definitely not as
bright as they looked in the listing. However, after
spending the day with a package of #0000 steel wool and
a lot of elbow grease, they polished up quite nicely.
Figure 4 is a sampling of the restored parts. Notice
the cool lifting magnet in the upper center. Its resistance is
12 ohms and it operates on three batteries: 4.5V/12 ohms
= 375 mA.
Another favorite component in the larger sets was the
FIGURE 1. The Erector Set manual had dozens of illustrations of
exciting things to build like a beam engine or this Bascule bridge.
FIGURE 4. Here are several typical parts including a 5” girder,
5” curved girder, 3” disc wheel, and a cool electromagnet.
FIGURE 3. I recently built this motorized Ferris Wheel from a
vintage set and added flashing LEDs and a carnival sound track.
FIGURE 2. This set was one of their best sellers: the No. 8 1/2,
which I had when I was a kid and is still available on eBay.
Post comments on this article and find any associated files and/or downloads at
▼▼▼▼ ▼ ▼▼ ▼ ▼▼▼▼ ▼▼ ▼