Adding a little FREAK to the world


Welcome to my humble attempt to explain how I built a Flying Crank .  The original instruction can be found on the web site of the Inventor Phantasmechanic’s.  There are a LOT of pictures on this page to show what we were doing. 


During the building of this FCG I will list how I’m during things step, by step.   I’m writing this page as a go, so if you have any questions please email me at

First built in 2000, the Flying Crank Ghost was used in our Coffin Shop.

List of Material

  • (8) eight feet Aluminum 1″ Angle Stock (Note: you will have some extra)
  • (1) one flat piece of Aluminum  11 1/2 inches long.
  • (1) one Dayton 2L006 Gear Motor (Note: this is a 12V DC motor. AC motors are available but they are twice as much money for the same about of torque)
  • (4) four bolts 1/4″ x 1 1/2″ course thread
  • (9) nine 1/4″ inch nuts
  • (1) one 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ bolt
  • (2) two each 1/2″ nuts and shake proof washers (if you don’t want to use shake proof washers then use Nylock Nuts to keep things together)
  • (1) one 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ Exhaust Manifold Stud dual threaded
  • (1) one 1/4″ locking nut
  • (3) three 1/4″ flat washers
  • (1) one 1/4″ fender washer, drilled with 3 extra holes
  • (4) four each #10-32 nuts and shake proof washers
  • (7) seven each eye bolts 1/4″ x 3″, with nuts and shake proof washers
  • (3) pulleys Fast Eye Type for use with 1/8″ or 3/16″ cord
Cut your Angle Stock in (6) six pieces:

  • (2) two @ 20 inches (middle rails)
  • (3) three @ 16 inches (front rail, arms)
  • (1) one @ 12 inches (back rail)

The arms can be longer or shorter if you want.  The longer the arms … the wider the ghost.  The arms are not pictured.


Drill (2) holes in each piece.  Now this sounds easy …. but you have to think of a couple of things.  How the finish support will hold your motor and make sure everything is centered.

Below is what my frame looked like, without the frame arms.

The center rails are pointing up to “cradle” the motor.   The 2L006 is 3 inches wide, so my rails (from side to side) is 3 1/4 (OD) inches (this leaves room to play).  Now all measurements are outside (Outside Dimension) of the rails for the reference points. To calculate where the centers to drill the holes was kinda simple.  For example: the front rail is 16 inches, take that divide by half equals 8 inches.  8 inches is true center.  Ok … now where do the rails go?  We know that the outside of the rails is 3 1/2 (OD) inches … so half of 3 1/2 inches is 1 3/4″.  From true center measure both directions 1 3/4″ and you know where the outside rails need to be.  We then clamped the rails, then drilled where a bolt would go through both.  Clamping was a little tricky.  The clamp needs to hold a thin edge or one piece and a wide edge of another. I guess that if we had a block in there it would have been easier, but then we’d have to drill through the block also.

Drilling of the holes is not brain surgery.   As long as a bolt will go all the way through and hold both pieces you’ve done your job correctly. Mvc-671f
Here is a view looking down the middle rails so you can see how everything is bolted together.The construction is simple.  A bolt through the top, then put a nut on, then the middle rail, then the last nut. Mvc-672f
That is all that is needed for the motor mount frame.  So now let mount the motor.   The 2L006 motor has #10-32 threaded stud sticking out of it on the same side as the crank.   We put some black grease on the ends of the studs and set the motor where we wanted it to be on the frame.  The grease leaves a stamp to let us know where to drill the holes.  The motor should be at least 3 inches away from the front rail.  We drilled 1/4″ holes.  The holes are bigger to allow for human error in center punching and drilling.This is the bottom view of the frame.   The motor mount is very simple.  We used shake proof washers instead of flat washers Mvc-674f
Next we added the arms to the frame.  This picture doesn’t show it very well, but we used 1/4″ eye bolts to secure the arms.  The eye bolts are pointed up to secure the frame to the ceiling.Here is a side view so you can see the eye bolts better.  Again we used shake proof washers instead of flat washers. Mvc-675f.jpg (58236 bytes)Mvc-679f.jpg (38089 bytes)
Next we attached the pulleys.  We un-did the eye of the eye bolt and placed the loop of the pulley on the loop of the eye bolt.The pulley needs to be able to swivel.  So we drilled the hole in the arm 9/32″ (slightly bigger then 1/4″).We put a lock nut on the eye bolt, then a flat washer.  Put the eye bolt through the arm, then put another flat washer then lock nut.This allows the pulley and eye bolt to swivel without un-threading. Mvc-677fMvc-676f
You need to have 3 pulley assemblies on the frame.Pulleys # 2 & 3 are hung off the arms (theses are from the arms of the puppet).  Pulley #3 is hung from the back rail, between the center rails (this one is for the head of the puppet).Note that the picture doesn’t show it, but 2 more eye bolts will be placed at the ends of the back rail.  (I forgot to buy them)The FRAME is now done! Mvc-680fMvc-681f
Now for the crank that is hooked to the motor on the frame.   This is a work of art!  Tom did a great job on this.  This was a unique upgrade to this prop. Here is a picture of the crank assembled and one disassembled.We started out with a piece of “t” bar (scrap that was around) , sawed of the “t” part.  The “t” gave us a great center reference.  The bar is 11 1/2″ long.  The crank hole is 1″ (center of hole) from the edge.   The hole is drilled 1/2″.  Then you have three swivel location holes.   We drilled them 9″, 10″ & 11″ from the same edge the crank hole is from.  The swivel holes are drilled with a #7 bit and then threaded to accept a threaded stud. Mvc-682fMvc-683f
The crank pivot is made out of a 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ bolt.   We sawed the head off, then drilled out the shaft just deeper then the shaft on the motor.  The hole is drilled at 5/16″, the same as the motor shaft diameter.   A hole is drilled and tapped #10-24 for a set screw.  The pivot is attached to the crank with 2 nuts and shake proof washers.  The assembly goes nut – washer – crank – washer – nut.  Tighten!  The pivot is attached to the motor by slipping the pivot over the motor shaft then tightening the set screw. Mvc-686f
The moving pivot is a little more complicated.  This is the part that all the ropes hook to … so it has to be able to rotate or everything will bind together like a big ball.Note: We pictured 4 extra shake proof (2 large, 2 small)   washers that it turned out we didn’t need.Remember that the crank arm is threaded to accept a threaded stud.  We used a 1/4″ x 2 1/2″ Exhaust Manifold stud.  We threaded a 1/4″ nut to the middle of the stud.   The assembly of the moving pivot is nut – shake proof washer – stud (screwed into crank arm) – nut – flat washer – flat washer – fender washer – locking nut.   Tighten… BUT don’t over tighten or the fender washer will not rotate.  We also sprayed it with a light coat of oil (I used 3M machine oil.  I use this same oil in my sewing machine).  The fender washer will rotate easily so that the ropes do not get tangled up. Mvc-688fMvc-689f
Here is a small .mpg with the crank moving.You can see that the crank has plenty of clearance from the frame. Test Video (Click to play)