The Dale Maley Family Web Site


Hand-Cranked Woman is the Boss

I am always looking for different ideas to make hand-cranked children's toys. After finishing the hand-cranked Ferris Wheel, the idea occurred to me to take the Woman is Boss whirligig design, and convert it to a hand-cranked model.

Everyone likes the Woman is Boss whirligig, but I have not run it for several years.  The high winds at our house tend to tear up whirligigs pretty quickly. I supposed I should run some experiments with smaller diameter propellers, and see if that extends the life or not.  

Below is the hand-cranked whirligig design.

Hand-cranked Design

The old design has a 1/2" throw on the crank, or a total displacement of 1 inch.

I guessed that a 3:1 speed reduction would be about right for the hand-cranked version.  If I use a 2" gear on the crank, I will need a 6" gear to operate the Woman.  I had a 6 inche gear left over from the Ferris Wheel project, so I only had to make 1 new 6" gear.  I stayed with the 3/4" diameter shafting I used on the Ferris worked well for pinning the gears with 1/4" diameter dowels.

If I place a 1/4" diameter dowel, that is a 1/2" off center of the big gear, this will give the desired 1/2" throw, or 1 inch total travel.

I also put  1/4" diameter dowel on the rear end of the Woman.

I tried to use a 3/8" thick link bar with holes bigger than 1/4".............and it did not have the desired flexibility.  I then switched to a stout thickness of brass, but I got the pin distance wrong on the link. I assembled the man to the horizontal board, so I got an idea of the angular swing I needed.  I measured that 2.75 pin distance should work. I made a new link from thin gauge brass. I sawed through a 1/4" dowel cap, to make a spacer for the back of the Boss.

Finished Model

Model in Sketchup Warehouse

I put my model in the Sketchup Warehouse. It can be viewed and downloaded here.

YouTube Video

I had to make a YouTube video showing the prototype testing, and the finished model in action.

Closing Thoughts on this project

This was a fun project. The most difficult part was figuring out how to replace the whirligig brass rod crankshaft with the gear drive mechanism. The 3 to 1 speed reduction ratio turned out to be about right, based upon actual operation of the model. I used Anita's water based paints from Hobby Lobby. I also used water based red dye for the 1/4" dowel holding on the top gear. Since steel turns black over time, in contact with oak.........I used 1-1/4" brass screws wherever screws were needed.  This model should be fun for the grandkids.......and play with!