Triton tools is putting on a design competition (ends May 31). I put in my redesigned cradle. We will see what happens there. I looked over the rules and there was no age limit. It surprised me because the awards are a table saw and router. The interesting thing about the competition was the groupings. Top prize was the master level, then the same prizes for beginner, intermediate and advanced. The group that surprised me was the kid’s project. My cradle was entered in the intermediate group. I talked to my oldest about it and we decided that we would make a car launcher. Over the last few weeks we designed and built the car launcher. He did most of the work and I did the write up.
Once he approved the plans we started cutting. It took a lot longer than I thought it would. I will say that I was a successful parent on the project. He had to mark all the holes and lengths. He also had to cut through half the board before I helped. I set up the drill press but he drilled the holes. He assembled it. We had to make a few adjustments to the plan along the way, and it works.
The project was basic at the core, I still learned from it while enjoying time with my son. All wood could be purchased from a big box store. The axles need to be purchased at an arts and craft store. I did nothing to prep the wood either. I have been holding off on using hand tools because I do not know how to set them up. I fear if I set them up wrong or they are not sharp, the bad experience will deter me from using them again. I will say, the box store saw and miter box is not very good. I learned that even simple designs need to be adjusted. I thought a bottom was needed and it was not. I tried put a switch so that when pushed it would fire the launcher. That did not work. My oldest like the project and enjoyed building it.
I hope that this is the start of some “build it yourself” projects that I hope to develop. That is next year.