Rocking a Chair with a Wiper Motor


At right is Gus (some call him "Pops"), and he's our cemetery guard. The problem is, he's not very good. Hundreds of trick-or-treaters get by him each Halloween. He just sits in his chair with his feet propped up on a stump, rocks back and forth and snores all night long. It's like he's dead to the world.

The following is a "how-to" for making a chair rock so you can create your own Gus or whatever you want to call him. It's a fairly simple project and a great introduction to using a wiper motor in your haunt.

To eliminate any confusion, this is not a "rocking chair" but a plain old cheap plastic chair that rocks back and forth. It uses a Saturn wiper motor driven by a 5 volt power supply. Click here for more info on the wiper motor. Most of the parts can be obtained from your local hardware store/home center. I use a full sized 4th class "Bucky" skeleton.



This is a picture of the mechanism we'll be making. It consists of a plastic chair, a "T" shaped piece of wood, a wiper motor and an aluminum bar to connect the motor to the chair. It should cost less than $35 for everything.

Following is a parts list. You can click on any of the pictures for a larger image.


  • One wiper motor (see this page for sources)
  • One each 6mm x 10mm screw and 1/4" (or 6mm) lock washer (for attaching motor to bracket).
  • One 5 Volt, 2 amp (minimum) power supply (see text for more details)
  • Two 2 1/2" wood screws
  • One 3 1/2" to 4 1/2" range, hose clamp (for holding motor to mounting board)
  • One each 3/4" x 1 1/2" x approx. 18" wood, 3/4" x 3" x 19" wood (base of rocking mechanism). Hardwood works best
  • Two each 1 1/2" x 1/4" flat head machine screws, 1/4" tee nuts and 1/4" lock nuts (for attaching the chair to the wood)
  • One 16" x 3/4" x 1/8" aluminum bar
  • Two each 2" angle brackets, #10 x 1 1/4" flat head screws, #10 nuts and #10 washers (primary motor mount).
  • One 5/16" x 1 1/2" bolt, two 5/16" nuts and three 5/16" washers (for attaching aluminum bar to motor).

You'll also need a plastic "patio" type chair. For convenience, I used a chair we already had. The modifications to the chair are minimal and it can be used the rest of the year as a regular chair.

Additionally, you'll need hardware and possibly a piece of wood to attach the aluminum bar to your chair. See text for details.


Next....The construction details

  Halloween Home last updated 11/2013