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Falkirk Wheel

3D model description

Welcome to the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland; the only rotating boat lift in the world. It features Celtic-inspired, double-headed axe arms, which hold two water-filled gondolas to carry boats. It took 8 years to plan, design, and construct between 1994 and 2002. The Falkirk Wheel connects the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal for the first time since the 1930's when 11 navigation locks were removed.

Hundreds of thousands of people visit the Falkirk Wheel each year and now you can enjoy my approximate 1/500 scale model from your 3D printer.


Using Blender alongside photos of the wheel that I found online, I modeled a moveable assembly composed of 17 printable parts. I took care to ensure that all parts could be simply printed without supports and assembled without additional connecting hardware. All that is needed is a 3D printer and filament.

The rotating arms hold gondolas that maintain an upright position using gravity. The model is spun by hand by pushing on the arms, or twisting the knurled shaft stub that extends through the back support. This shaft has the ability to be modified for a gear reduced drive. A worm drive modification in the downloads contains replacement parts for adding a stepper motor.

3D printing settings

No supports needed

Print scale 100% of .stl model size.

See video for assembly guidance.

Settings for my printer and filament:

PLA, 180°C

Infill 10%

Layer height 0.2mm

Part list:

-Wheel front arm + shaft.

-Wheel rear arm.

-Gondolas (x2)

-Wheel base.

-Wheel's front support.

-Wheel's rear support.

-Central gear.


-Aquaduct supports (x4)

-Aquaduct base.

-Water inserts.

  • 3D model format: STL





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