Saturday, September 8, 2012

Transforming Trucks

This is the first of several designs in the Transforming Toys book I received two years ago.  I thought I would have more done by now but I am happy to have one.  The basic concept of this toy set is a bunch different size blocks with various patterns cut into them.  They all have the same center hole drilled into them big enough for a 3/4" threaded dowel to go through.  There is a wooden nut for each end of the threaded dowel to hold the vehicle together.  My eldest son helped me put some of them together.  It is age appropriate for him but not for the youngest.

This is the pick up truck
 The wheels attach like a tinker toy.  The book said to use a thin kerf table saw blade and a jig.  I used a band saw.

 Here is the Coupe
 Tanker truck
 Log truck
Think of all the possibilities with all these pieces.  I would say the possibilities are endless but the threaded dowels are only so long.
It was not a difficult project, but it was a good project to learn some things about the precision of the transforming toys. It also got me use to the lay out of the book.  I am not one abut following the instructions much but on the more complex toys I tend to be following the instructions more.  For those that are interested the main wood used is Poplar. The accent wood is walnut  and the dowel and nuts are maple.  Now on to to the lessons:
  • When centering a hole on the block measuring from one side does not cut it.  I was off by about 1/32 of an inch.  Just enough to offset the blocks when they are put on the dowel.
  • Dowels at the local hardware store are not the dimension they say they are.  They are about 1/32 -1/16 of an inch over sized.  This is enough to not work in my treading tool.  Very frustrated with this because it means that I have to go to Rockler to buy the dowels.  Here is my feeling on Rockler:  They really like their stuff.  It tends to be on the pricey side especially their lumber.
  • Double check the dimensions in the book.  For the most part they were right.  One critical one for the length of threaded dowel was too short for the tanker.  The other was the length of the wheel axle.  More of a frustration than a show stopper.
  • Making threaded dowel is more work then just turning a tool around a dowel.  The grain on the dowel is also important.
Kids are having fun with in and that is what counts.

On the "sand it till it looks right" toy, here is the next step:
Does it look good? 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Who Needs Geometry?

Schools is just a waste of time, right?  Everything you see in the picture I learned in my 9th grade geometry class.  Yes, I am a geek.  Yes, I aced the construction chapter of geometry which is the mess you see in the the circles.  For those of you who were wondering, geometric constructions are ways to divide, make angles, copy, and make parallel and perpendicular lines with a compass and ruler. Sometimes it surprises you what you use from school.