Making A Wooden Zoetrope

Zoetrope, or “life turning” is an interesting animation toy. I made mine from maple and plywood and while it was a bit of a challenge, the end results are fantastic.

It you want a toy that is hard to stop playing with, then this might be your next project!

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49 thoughts on “Making A Wooden Zoetrope”

  1. Why not gouge the inside on the lathe first and make your cuts second? That way your not on edge wondering if and when it's going to blow apart on you.Hey and this is coming from a guy who hasn't used a lathe since the 8th grade.

  2. That animation you've got there is actually the VARY first attempt EVER at the motion pictures we know and (sometimes) love today. And yes it was played using a zoetrope 🙂

  3. All I could think about is how cool it would be to have a fully functional zoetrope as a lamp shade, awesome work though peter!

  4. You could make the horses into stickers and put them around the outside, then you will not need a loght and it wont have to be hollow either!

  5. at first I was like wtf is a zoetrope but once you put it on the lathe I was like oh its the animation "wheel"

  6. wouldn't it have been easier and safer to do the turning first and then cut the slits with the bandsaw? also i think painting it black helps with the illiusion

  7. Very nice project! Reminds me of a modern take on zoetrope… subway advertising. I was in Beijing recently and saw full motion ads displayed along the subway walls as the train zipped past. Each one lasted about 10-15 sec. Amazing technology. Here's a link to a vid I took in the train in Beijing and another to an article covering the technology and company behind it. Cool stuff!

    beijing subway –

    article –

  8. I was super confused until the end bc I had no clue what a zoatrope was. I thought it was like a yarn bowl or something lol

  9. If you are still playing with this you can find any gif on the internet and use 7gif to output all frames to file with a click of a button

  10. OMG every time I watch these videos with a mug of whatever… i'm afraid some of the shavings would fall in! lol!

  11. I don't know why but I got into the habit of making circles with my mouse around video corners

  12. You may not realize it, but that image is from the first successful movie of a horse running. Before that group of photos, no one really knew the way a horse galloped. It led to movie cameras that we use today.

  13. I’m here commenting because I’ve been watching your videos since the beginning and I think this is my third time rewatching them because your content is so good!!!!

  14. Old video, I know, but curious if it wouldn't have been easier to make the slots after hollowing out the block?

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