How to Make a Model Water Wheel

Written by jennifer holik
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How to Make a Model Water Wheel
Building water wheel models teaches how people used them to power machinery. (water wheel in Prague image by Fyle from

People have created and used water wheels since Roman times. They have employed water wheels to pull water from mines, to grind grain and to run billows for Chinese iron makers. Three main types of water wheels have been developed; two vertical wheel models and one horizontal. Most model water wheels feature the vertical wheel design.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Wooden skewer
  • Flat-top push pins or a hot glue gun
  • Ruler
  • Protractor
  • Scissors or box cutter
  • String
  • Egg carton

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  1. 1

    Draw a line 2 inches from the edge of cardboard down the short side. Divide the 2-inch strip into 1 1/2-inch segments for the paddles of the water wheel. Use the protractor to create two 6-inch circles on the cardboard for the sides of the wheel. Cut out the circles.

  2. 2

    Print the water wheel pattern (see Resources) and cut the pattern out along the solid black lines. Use the pattern to trace the base of the wheel on to the cardboard. Cut out the pieces.

  3. 3

    Mark one of the wheels at 40 degree angles for the paddles. Glue the paddles to the wheel. Attach the other side when the paddles are dry. Skewer through centre of the wheels with the wooden skewer.

  4. 4

    Build the base with flat pins or glue. Start by attaching the support beams to one side of the base. Attach the other side of the base. Rest the wheel on top of the base.

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