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Posts: 1,617
Reply with quote  #1 
Anyone who uses MDF care to comment on it durability. seems to me that smaller parts would break very easily.
Advanced techniques are the basics perfectly applied.
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Posts: 118
Reply with quote  #2 
I find that if you have to go thinner than 6mm and drill a hole the MDF gets weaker do these parts in Ply or Pine.
Ken (kenFM)

Posts: 153
Reply with quote  #3 
Yeah, it isn't very durable in smaller thicknesses but in full or double thickness? It will last for years since many cabinet doors and other items are made from it....

It doesn't have a grain hence why it isn't very strong in small pieces. With that being said, pine isn't either. You have to watch your grain direction for things like a propeller for a plane. You want the grain long not short. If you run it short it'll snap off immediately.

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Reply with quote  #4 
BadBob - Interesting question and all I can say is I find using MDF just fine for most components. 
   Most of the plan sets offered by are based on common wood types and thicknesses available with durability a primary concern.
    MDF Seals well, paints well, low cost, easily available and gluing on decorative parts has not produced any problems for me.
   Yes some designs do have breakable parts, let us use one of the jeep plans for example. Whether the windshield is made from MDF or plywood it remains a breakable component. Nothing we can do about that. Even if you take a close look at the Peterbilt trailers I made with the plywood hinging wheel assembly, if dropped a number of times, they could break off also.
   Some component builds can be strengthened using hard woods and plywood, but it really depends on the end user. Are they still in the crash and bang phase of their toy playing or have the reached a level of being a little more gentle in their play attitudes.
   When modifying the plans with your own personal extras, breakable parts are a concern not only for play but for sales. Parents, when looking at your toys will take in consideration the age of the child and how they play. Putting on all kinds of extras just might hinder the sales. 
   As you can see from many of the WTN's (Wood Toy News) articles and member posts of their projects, MDF satisfies most the toymakers needs  with wonderful and durable results.
   I hope that this little post helps you build confidence in giving MDF a try.


Posts: 243
Reply with quote  #5 
I wasn't going to respond to this thread, I think Udie hit the nail on the head. But I'm gonna chip in. When you are building a toy car, for example, you need to think about the end user, and it's intended purpose when considering materials and design. Is this sports car gonna be raced around the living room floor at a hundred miles an hour for two hours straight, then take a flying leap of the top of the stairs, moments before bedtime? Or, will this car sit on a lawyer's desk as a decoration. Take my SG roadster for example, it was designed for hours of hard playtime. Some design features are missing, like a windshield. The toy is 9" long, and weighs close to a pound and a half, thanks to the solid hardwood construction. Sure, I could have made this car out of mdf or pine, but I stick to hardwoods like maple, oak, poplar, and even ash. Part of my mission statement is to create toys that stimulate the imagination, take a beating, and last longer than childhood. I don't blink when I charge 35 dollars US for one of the SG's, and my customers can sense my confidence in my product. Sorry to babble too long, but my point is that the material needs to match the design, and the end user's needs.

Jeremy Talbot
Little Al's Garage
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