Explorations of the Sawmill Toy

My dad reintroduced my kids and I to a toy he had had when he was a boy. It has a few names: sawmill, buzzer, and Colonial Whirligig to name a few. It is usually made with a big button and a string. The string is looped through the button and you can make the button spin at the center of the wound up string. I thought this would make a good woodturning project.


41 ответов на “Explorations of the Sawmill Toy”

  1. Growing up relatively poor out in the country this was one of the toys I had.  I can remember bringing it to school and the city kids wanting one.  Years later the school that my kids were going to had a fair.  I made up about 30 of these using a large button and placed them in a zip-lock bags with instructions.  Sold all of them for $2 a piece and could have sold more it I had made them. 
    Love the stop motion.  Great video.

  2. Something that might get that noise going is to drill holes through the face of it, kinda like an old film reel, or a honeycomb. 

    I used to make these out of old buttons, and the ones with 4 holes made more noise than the ones with just 2. 

    I've always wanted to try making one of these hollow, but solid in the middle, like a donut of hollowness, if that makes any sense. Then, a hole in the circumference, like you did before, and maybe chamfer that hole. make the edges sharp. I think a countersink bit'd do the job. 

    I make flutes and ocarinas in my spare time, and I think you might be able to make something like a kinetic vessel flute. Just a thought. 

  3. Lovely little film, thank you.
    I think Mr. Cuervo is close. The whistles didn't work because the disk would throw the air away from the edge, like squirrel cage fan with no inlet.

    So: hollow disk with intakes in the center and outlet whistles at the edge. I'm imagining little valves on each of three or four whistles with springs of different strengths, so each whistle would begin to sound at different speeds.

    But now I have made the thing too complex. Probably a few ridges on the sides of the rims, rather than the edges, would do just fine.

  4. When I made them for my kids a hundred years ago, they are all grown now, I notched the edge so when lightly touching something it made a buzzing sound. 
    Nice stop animation, it's always entertaining. 

  5. Absolutely LOVED your animations!  How did you do themand howlong did they take to do?  Complete TU!  I played with these as a kid — you can get some noise with just a button going really fast.  In many cases your strings were too long.  I thought you were going to put saw teeth on your disks and have a new woodworking tool!

  6. Hi Frank, your videos are absolutely awesome, I've nearly watched all of them. Just a thought, perhaps refer to Mathias Wandel's "Air Raid Siren" video for some some inspiration to create a sound with this toy.
    Keep the videos coming, they're great.

  7. I am an expert on this thing :D. make handles on it and a much smaller rope about thirtyfive centimetres from handle to handle. Take half or third of the mass of your last one and make sharp edges for more buzzing sound.

  8. I'm sorry, but your particular model of 7-year-old if unusable as a means of shop power as it operated in the incorrect direction in its stock form. If the products packaging does not contain the phrase 'non-reversible', then you may be able to modify it such that it functions in a manner suitable for powering your shop. —IT support for Acme 7yearolds, Inc.

  9. oh! my dad told me in vietnam he made them with beer bottle caps by flattening them and used a nail to poke two holes, then he would "battle" his friends by trying yo cut each others string, winner cuts opponents string 🙂

  10. In New Zealand, we call them Porotiti, they have a wide range of spiritual meanings, cultural purposes, and about ten different names between different tribes. They were probably the most important traditional musical instrument for the Maori people! Ours are usually lozenge shaped.

  11. Making the holes for the string farther from the center, and making a handle the same with as the distance between the holes (so that the strings are parallel when not twisted) should help a great deal in both winding the toy up initially (swinging it) and getting more speed transferred to it when pulling on the handles. Shorter strings for shorter arms well help prevent sucker punches and slip chins 🙂

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