Monday, September 8, 2014


 The grader had a few more issues than I wanted.  The first and most disappointing was the blade did not work.  The lift worked just fine and it rotates.  In the design, I failed to realized I had only a single dowel keeping the blade vertical.  So when the blade pushed something, it would just flop back.  It was solved by a couple of brad nails.  I have fixed the drawings and everything works well now.  The other disappointment was the size.  It was huge compared to the other two pieces.  I took about three inches out of the overall length. and some out of the height.  It is still a pretty wide piece of equipment. 
The overall dimensions are 16 3/4" long, 10" wide (blade), 7 1/4" tall.  The material is poplar and finished in shellac.



The excavator is my favorite of the three because of all the moving parts.  I am truly grateful for 3D modeling systems.  Without one I would not have been able to design all the moving parts so that they fit together without interference the first time.  This is the only one that requires metal hardware. There are other ways of making the unit spin but lazy susan hardware seemed the most logical and easiest.  I also had to pre-finish most of the parts.  The best part of the excavator is there is a way to move the bucket.  I was not all that pleased with the range of movement of the arm and bucket but I can pick up M&M's and dump them in the dump truck.  That is good enough for me.
The assembly was not all that bad.  I was worried about parts breaking or not lining up. It could not have come together easier.  I am trying something on this.  I hope it works but I do not know.  There really was not a good way to glue in the dowels.  So I cut the dowels 1/4" short and then filled in the space with glue.  I am hoping this works, time will tell.
I felt that the excavator was a little small.  So in the plans I grew the tread a quarter inch and made it wider by a half an inch.  I think this will make it look bigger.  I also changed the cab to look more like the dump truck. I was not really pleased with the set on top roof.  These are reflected in the revised drawings and not on the prototype.
The excavator measures 24" long 7 1/4" tall and 6 1/2" wide and is finished in Shellac.

The Dump Truck


This is the first of three projects that I just finished.  I was really excited to start and finish these toys because they are my design!  I have always like to design and so this is a natural step for me.  I have decided to break up each project in its own post.  The first will be the dump truck.
This was probably the easiest of the three but it had some challenges.  It is made out of poplar and oak dowels.  I consider these prototypes so I used a lighter and softer wood.  I used basic power tools and was impressed how easily it came together.  My favorite part of the dump truck is the cab.  I went through about three designs before I realized I could make it hollow.  This made it much lighter, not as many glue ups, and looks a lot better than the solid cabs that I have seen.  The dumping mechanism is the same as the first dump truck I designed.  I also added a lip so that things will actually stay in the bucket when transported instead of falling out.  It is sturdy and not easily broken.  My kids stand and sit on their toys so I knew that I needed to make it durable.  The dowels are both for decoration and strength.  I changed the cab side drawing a little because if the back and top are a little thick, so  the edge can be seen through the window.  So I gave myself a little more factor of safety.
The finish is Shellac and the truck measures 17 1/4" long 8" tall and 6" wide.  It is a good sturdy design for the 3-8 year old child.