Amaze your kids and yourself by making your own toy gyroscope. A gyroscope is basically a spinning wheel that is set inside of two or more circular frames. The spinning wheel will maintain its position no matter how the frame is tilted. A toy gyroscope can be made from toy parts available at most craft stores. Gyroscopes can be built to any size as long as it's well-balanced and all parts move freely.
Things You'll Need
- Spoke toy wheel
- 2 graduated rings
- Axle to match wheel
- Craft knife
- 1/2-inch long, hollow wooden dowel
- Rubber washer
- 18-inch string
Lay the wheel in the center of the two rings, ensuring a slight amount of space between the three pieces. Measure and mark the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions on the smaller ring. Mark the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on the larger ring. Measure and cut the axle to be an inch longer than the circumference of the smaller circle. Mark the exact center of the axle. Drill a small string hole through one end of the hollow wooden dowel.
Measure the circumference of the axle. Drill holes, slightly larger than the axle, through the 12 and 6 o’clock positions of the smaller ring. Slide the wheel onto the axle. Center the wheel at the center mark on the axle. Dot glue on the rubber washer and glue the washer to the wheel and axle. Allow to dry, washer side up.
Turn the wheel and axle to the opposite side of the wheel. Seal the seam between the wheel and the axle with a line of glue. Slide the axle through the hollow dowel with the pin hole pointing away from the wheel. Gentle press the dowel into the glue and secure the end of the dowel to the wheel. Allow to dry upright.
Slide the rubber washer end of the axle through the 6 o’clock hole of the smaller ring. Work the dowel end of the axle through the 12 o’clock hole of the same ring. The axle should spin freely. Washers can be used as spacers but should be balanced at each end. Use screws or glue to secure the rounded axle caps to each end of the axle. Allow appropriate drying time.
Hold the smaller ring vertically. Slide the larger ring horizontally over the vertical ring. Align the 3 and 9 o’clock positions on both rings. Connect the rings with a screw on each side and use washers as spacers if needed. Thread the end of the string through the pin hole. Wind and guide the string toward the wheel. Pull the string and allow the toy to spin on a smooth surface.
Tips & Warnings
- All parts can be lubricated with standard dish detergent to reduce friction.
- Photo Credit Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images