The Cephalopod Fairground Ride

Once you get caught in the grasp of a sea creature of the molluscan type such as a Cephalopod, no matter how much you wriggle and try to set yourself free, just like with an Octopus or a giant squid, it’s eight giant suckering tentacles won’t ever let you escape.

I liked this idea for a new play on the popular and ever present Octopus fairground model in theme parks and funfairs everywhere. But to be fair I had already built two Octopus fairground rides with Meccano through the years with the first one being just a very basic model many years ago. Much later I built a far more sophisticated version which I called The Kraken, sporting arms that moved up and down while simultaneously rotating. This was also fixed to a bridge which rose to a tilted position, changing the angle of the ride experience. That model was powered with three separated motors and gears system and it gave me much satisfaction to see such a complex design work so beautifully.

I have been busy creating several different models in recent months one of which was another dabble at an Octopus themed ride.

In this new version there is a central motor and gearing system underneath the main toothed gear bearing moving the central pivot to swing the arms up and down, it works just as I hoped doing a great job at just the right speed. I then needed another motor to engage the large toothed gear to rotate the rid and I first tried two different unsuccessful options which both proved not to be powerful enough due to its very heavy weight.

My final option was to fit a motor that I had built for another large model which had several reduction gears powerful enough to move this heavy structure, however being over 7” long I had to change the already completed base increasing its depth to 8” so as I could fit the motor and gears in an upright position to engage a large pinion into the toothed bearing gear on its wheels.

I decided on a colour theme and constructed the model mainly out of blue, yellow and red parts. The passenger compartments are fitted to the Cephalopod’s arms and they rotate freely in sequence with the tilts and rotations. I designed them to be easily detachable for ease of transportation especially when exhibiting.

The two separate movements of the ride can operate at the same time or one at a time in different directions and also in reverse mode. The only thing I failed to incorporate was a way to cover the model’s riders with a squirt of ink.

The Cephalopod is a dangerous and unpredictable beast of the deep, but at the funfair the eight legged metallic freak is looking on land for who it is going to terrorise.

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