Monday, February 8, 2016

Car Carrier

This is probably the single largest toy project I have done.  To be honest I was excited to start working on it and it did not disappoint me when it was finished.  This was supposed to be for Christmas and unfortunately I did not finish it in time so it is now a valentine gift.  I wanted to do a sleeper truck in the semi truck line and I think this stemmed from that desire.  I needed a trailer to go on the back.  It is a rather large toy the truck is 17" long and the trailer is over 25" long. 

So the sleeper cab started it all.  It came out how I wanted it.  The requirement that I has was the sleeper door had to open.  Hardest part of the design was figuring out how the door would stop and not swing both ways.  It honestly took me a long time and several iterations to move the back in 3/8" to use the back of the cab as a stop.  Sometimes the simple answers are the easiest and most often overlooked.  The overall design follows closely to the other cab design just longer.  I have made a few of these so it was not too bad of a build.

The carrier was a little different story for the design and build.  I wanted it to  be able to move and I had a vision of what parts should move and how.  I wanted the little ramps to move and I wanted the back section of the upper ramp to lower down.  the thought of having the entire upper section rotate 90 degrees down felt like cheating to me.  I also wanted the posts to be able to support the upper section without being reinforced.  Some of these presented challenges others were abandoned.
Having the  back section move up and down was a challenge, but after designing the front end loader, I had some pretty good ideas. Making sure the parts had enough of a radius became the hardest part.  However, I did learn that I do not have to radius everything.  There is a block that I originally had a radius that proves to weaken the dowel joint. If I take off the radius it is fine.
The ramps were relatively easy to do however it did take a little bit of had work and a rasp so that they would move up and down.  I was a little worried about the cutout in the raising and lowering arm.  It is stronger than it looks because it is all in line with the grain.
Now there were some compromises that were made with the design.  I figured if I angled the support rails in such a way I would only need two pegs per support rod to keep the upper level ridged.  That did not work out.  There are two support rods that have three pegs in it.  It does not detract from the look at all. 
The other design feature that I missed was the grooves in the rails where the tires roll on.  The original design called for 5/8" deep by 7/16" wide.  I had a 3/8" rabbeting bit for my router.  To make the groove that I wanted, I would need to buy a new nonstandard bit.  I am all about finding a reason purchase new stuff, but I need to be able to design for common tools.  It was a good and quick change in the design.
I posted this to facebook to get feed back on the design and I received a lot of good comments and I would like to address some of them.  There was an overwhelming response that the wheels on the trailer need to be larger.  I tried putting it in the design and it moved things too much.  I could go to two larger wheels instead of three.  I am still mulling through the wheel design.  I also received a lot of comments that the support rails looked like popsicle sticks.  I can make them square without a problem.  The last comment was having the trailer over hand the cab and adding another car.  I ran with this idea for a little while.  Then I watched my kids play with their toys and realized they use the cab to push the trailer around.  If the trailer was overhanging the cab, it would get in the way of the kid pushing the toy.  I have shortened the chassis of the cab so the trailer is closer to the cab so it doesn't look so distant. 
It was a lot of fun to build.  I hope my kids enjoy it as much I did building it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Scroll Saw Cars

I am not sure were the idea came from to come up with a car carrier but it was a little bigger than I imagined. It all started with the cars.  I wanted to have a little more detail in the cars than in the trucks that I have previously built, so it did them in layers.  I struggled to maintain my goal of having only standard 3/4" thick lumber, but it just was not going to work.  My restraint was the width of the car carrier at 6".  This made the cars 4 1/2" wide.  Then it was going back and forth between images and drawings until I was satisfied with the image. 

Here are the design concepts that did across the all cars and then I will get into the specifics.  The first is that I really do not like to sand so I tried to make parts that were difficult sand not line up.  All the insides of the cars (sedan is the exception) have parts that do not line up so I did not really have to sand things flush.  I used 1/8" holes to line everything up.  10d brad nails are just under 1/8" in diameter so it makes them an excellent choice to use as alignment pegs. I do not recommend using them if they are coated in glue or slightly bent.  They do not work as well.

 The Sedan

 Probably the hardest to sand.  All the seats line up.  I tried hard to put fenders on it and the more and more I tried the sillier it looked.  I wanted the big proud look of a luxury car in this design and it was not going to happen.  Beside the fact that it was a pain to sand it turned out alright.

The Sports Car

This was one of the hardest to design.  The sports car had a lot of curves and needed to look good.  in concept and drawing it looked good but I did not know what it would look like in reality, not bad.

The Beetle

Fun little car to make.  This is probably the only car that I did not change on the fly.  The hardest part on the the beetle was the bumpers.  I think i power sanded them off.

The Pickup Truck

I had to make a pickup truck.  It is actually designed after my old Tacoma but Toyota probably does people to know that.  The bumpers were again a problem. Main complaint was the small wheels.  The plans know call out for the larger wheels.

The wood is poplar and several people have commented on the color variation.  Unfortunately that is the beauty of poplar and the poor planning of the woodworker.  I use poplar because I really cannot beat the price of $2.25 a board foot for prototyping.  If  I was to make this for a client the cars would be out of a more durable wood and I would match the colors/grain better.
All the cars were designed with 1 1/4" wheels.  This size fit the beetle but looked horrible on the other three.  I was able to change the sports car and sedan in time, but it was a little late for the pickup truck.  Part of the looks good on paper, looks bad in real life.
I designed headlights on everything but the sports car.  Once I had them built I decided against trying to drill for headlights.  Planning wise, I should have done it at the begining.  I was not willing to risk ruining these for some holes.

Here is a little on how I designed them. I knew the width which meant that I had 6 board thicknesses/layers that I could work with.  I started drawing the side of the car.  Once I like the drawing I saved it then copied the design onto another drawing.  I modified that drawing into the next layer making sure to maintain all the dimensions of original side drawing and hole locations.   Then I moved to the next layer using the same technique.  The last thing I did was the fenders.

This project took a lot longer than I had expected.  The goal was Christmas now it is Valentine's day. Hope the kids enjoy it.  All cars are 4 1/2" wide and are between 7-10" long.  They are decent size and easy to grip with the window cut outs.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Step Stools or Time Out Chairs

So I got the step stools/time out chairs completed.  These are going to be for Valentine's gifts for my sons.  Each of them have there name carved into them.  I used a CNC for that part.  I was going to post pictures with their names but for internet safety I am posting the one I did with no name.  My wife may use this one for me.I used a CNC machine to make the template and engrave the names.  The rest was done by me and power tools.  This would be the first time I did through tenons.  I may not do them again.  It is not that they were difficult, I just did not like the look and when I screwed up, it is very noticeable.  I screwed up plenty.

The wood is maple and African mahogany.  It was the first time working with African mahogany.  If machines well with the gran but against the grain it behaves like a brittle poplar.  Stain is my go to shellac and I put on five coats.  I am a little worried about the step portion.  I never sanded the the top figuring the grain raise will provide traction. The step is about 8" from the ground and the total width is 12".  Fun quick build.

Now the question is what trouble can my boys reach now?