Bigger Wheel

Craft & Design Workshop
Bigger Wheel


Too big for your old Big Wheel? Get back in the race by building an adult-sized trike from plywood.

Jon Cantin, a self-taught designer in Perth, Australia with a passion for CNC fabrication, scaled up the classic kid mobile’s design to fit his frame and support his weight. “I want this to be strong, functional, and cool!” The finished project, about 5 feet long by 3 feet wide, uses no hardware — only “a herd of cattle hooves worth of glue” — to assemble its 237 parts cut from 10 sheets of plywood.

Cantin tinkered through design challenges using mental calculations and Autodesk software so he would only have to build the trike once. As his ShopBot Desktop CNC router limited the size of pieces he could cut, the design incorporates overlapping tiles so the front wheel could live up to its big title.

In a series of posts on his website, Cantin talks through the thought processes behind the design, the challenges of building it, and what could be improved next time. The site sells plans for this and other rad projects and freely offers advice and inspiration about CNC skills and entrepreneurship.

6 thoughts on “Bigger Wheel

  1. Eric says:

    Better have a handbrake or this doesn’t count. Hard to find a Big Wheel with a handbrake anymore.

    1. Jon says:

      Friction from a wooden handbrake is a great way to start a fire when
      your entire model is made of only wood and glue… hence why I didn’t
      add it to the design though it was part of the initial concept for sure!

      After it was build there was enough friction from the back
      wheels (wood on wood) that you aren’t going anywhere fast with this thing anyhow.


  2. Nathan Guice says:

    I work in HDPE sheet stock quite a bit in designing for playgrounds. would love to build one of these in that. It’d be heavy and expensive, but would eliminate much of the friction issues.

    1. Jon says:

      Never thought of that, great idea… will build another once I get my full sheet router for sure and will pick something better than cheap off the shelf plywood.


      1. Nathan Guice says: this is one of the more elaborate HDPE projects i’ve done. A Stereoscopic viewer with anaglyph and polarized filter viewers (for viewing the TV). HDPE is a great material to work in. it’s very durable, machines great, takes hardware and tooling very well. Solid color, and chemical resistant. If you don’t mind the cost (ranging between $250-$300+/- USD per 4’x8’x3/4″ sheet). To save weight and cost, you could probably mix it with some plywood in key areas.

        You’ve definitely got me thinking about building one.

  3. Bruce Clark says:

    It looks like it has square axles????

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Gregory Hayes is a helpful being who has lots of fun. He makes most of his living as a photographer and writer, and occasionally tweets @mootpointblank.

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