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Posts: 171
Reply with quote  #1 
Hi all,

I took the liberty of putting this here because I think the concept is more of a tip rather than the actual project.

I wanted a simple toy for a young child around four years. It had to be quick and easy to draw, cut and assemble and be able to be made in large(ish) numbers since I sell them online and at hand craft markets.

Step 1

So, I scribbled the basic plan on the back of an envelope - you can use sketchup, any CAD software, drawing program or whatever. It doesn't matter - just get it down before you forget [wink]

Step 2

Once you have settled for a design, draw it out on a suitable material for a template. Here, I'm using 6mm MDF because that was to hand. You can use any material - old CDs, thick cardboard, plywood. It doesn't matter but think about how many times you may want to reuse it.

I usually scribble any relevant info on the template - what material the project should be cut from, any special instructions and a 'X of Y' statement so I know how many components there are to the project.

These are all then bagged appropriately and stored in the relevant drawer in my template tower seen elsewhere on the site.

I also write in my notebook any special info on jigs that I used or needed or any other special instructions that are to much to be scribbled on the template itself.
You may chose to use you computer and draw up your designs then print out and stick direct to your work.

It all depends on what your are making and how proficient you feel with your method of choice.


Step 3
Next, draw around the templates on to the timber/wood/lumber you intend to use for your project.

In my case I wanted to make five planes so I drew enough components to make five planes.
The wings were marked out on the 19mm pine and the fuselages on the 35mm pine.


Step 4
Using the appropriate tools, cut the components out. In my case I used my Excalibur scroll saw with an Olsen PGT Double Skip Tooth #5 or 7 blade for cutting.
I don't use tape or special aids to cut my wood - as you can see, I didn't even have my glasses on. [wink]

Yeah, lines are sooo overrated. [biggrin]

Step 5
Notice that when the correct blade is used for the job (or the correct router bit or bandsaw blade etc etc) the end result is nice and smooth with no further sanding required except to knock back the edges which may be a bit too sharp for youngsters as well as for us oldies - don't ask me how I know that!

Yes, that's my thumb in the piccy for reference purposes (not photoshopped). [wink]

Step 6
Now may be an appropriate time to apply the finish of your choice before final assembly. Be careful not to get glue on areas that need to be finished or you can get streaks.

I generally use a clear finish olive oil/beeswax/lemon or peppermint oil finish or sometimes Danish oil depending on the age the toy is aimed at.

When you have finished with the finish (!) assemble your project and voila! You're ready for your next sale.

This concept can be applied to just about any project - break it down into smaller, more easy to manage nibbles and it won't be so overwhelming.

I hope you found this useful. Download a few of the plans here and start your own template collection [thumb]

john lewman

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Posts: 2,874
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi Doc,

Thanks for the great post and for sharing your really cool design for a wood toy airplane. I love the simplicity of the assembly and finishing. This is a wonderful toy and rugged enough for rough and tumble play. I like your photo work. It is good to leave the backgrounds as you did in these photos. It provides a sense of realism and scale. And the tips on patterns and sawing are useful to us all. To quote a designer friend of mine, "Wow, what a tasty treat!"

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Posts: 1,179
Reply with quote  #3 
What a terrific post. Thanks for sharing.
I am a firm believer of templates, eliminating the need to print, paste, attach, remove again and again.
Your templates are exactly what I do, make notes on them, drill small pilot holes to able to push a nail thru or a sharp awl for marking the location, etc.
It is a lot easier to trace when making multiples, drastically reduces the prep time and jumps you right to the fabrication stage.
Yes, lines are over rated ... they are a guide line, not a rule to be followed on most pieces.
Some are important like the opening for the mounting of the wing to the body but the rest are general.
I have mentioned the "KISS" concept numerous times in a few of my articles. "Keep It Simple Stupid".
Works for me and appears to be working for you.
Love to see your stuff and methodologies, keep them coming.

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Posts: 335
Reply with quote  #4 
Looks like a winner Doc ... And a Squadron of planes to take on the wrongs of the world and make them right. Three Thumbs up!!!
phantom scroller

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Posts: 876
Reply with quote  #5 
Great idea Doc I make my templates from laminate flooring then router around them, there just the right thickness to run the wheel around and easy to stick the double sided tape to the wood.
Thanks for the plane design love it simple but looks great.


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Posts: 171
Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for the comments folk [thumb]
John, I'm usually too embarrassed to leave the background in because it shows how messing my toy workshop is with projects everywhere and my coffee cup featured in each background [frown]
I am working on having a small setup just for photo work but this is on hold because this is busy season here at the moment.

Udie, I'm so lazy I just can't be bothered redoing something again so I like to spend heaps of time getting the templates right so I spend less time when it comes to producing the product.
With my notebook, some piccies and my templates it seems to make a simple setup that works for me.

I am hoping to consolidate them all into an ebook at some stage but that's more wishful thinking - lazy kicking in again, methinks [comp]

Don, not enough wooden toys in the world to right the wrongs - that's why we need more toymakers [wink]

Thanks Roly, I use a router on some of my items in the same way. Really handy and quite efficient for doing bulk production work ie anything more than one of something [smile]

Ken Martin

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Posts: 988
Reply with quote  #7 
Wow Doc Nice Share
   Even I can do this one.  It is so important to share the way you did, because there are so many of us new people that can use all this help.  Most times the KISS method is the best.
This looks like another project for my "Smiles for Miles" Kids.
Between John and Cynthia and the rest of you smart guys I am building up a great idea list.  
Thank you so much, and keep posting because I love seeing your stuff.

Kenneth W Martin

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Posts: 171
Reply with quote  #8 
Ken, the joy of these sort of plans is that they are basically a shape with wheels.
Youngsters will enjoy it whether it is a car, truck, bus, penguin or whatever shape as long as they can pick it up easily and push it around the floor, sand or grass.
Like you, I, too enjoy seeing other people's work.


Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #9 
Nice post,thanks for sharing.

Posts: 118
Reply with quote  #10 
Great simple design and perfect to make for craft shows. I will look into following this design and think they would look good in different colours.
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