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BadBob

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Reply with quote  #16 
I don't think I would use aluminum. I'm not against using it. If done right I don't see any safety issues with it. Aluminum just isn't a good fit for my shop.

My one safety concern about using PVC pipe is the size of the hole. No round hole in any toy should be small enough that a finger can get stuck in it. If a child gets their finger stuck in a round hole it can cut off the blood circulation and possibly cause the loss of a finger. Kids are going to put their fingers in a hole. If PVC pipe or any small tubing is used on a toy there needs to be a plug in the hole so it is not deep enough for a child to get their fingers caught in it.  This means that the pipe/tubing must to large or short to get a finger caught or filled with a plug.  I got this from the testing document published by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. I have almost stopped using round holes in toys because of this.

I would not hesitate to use PVC a toy if I had a suitable safe use for it that wood wasn't good for. One of my grandson's favorite toys is a bucket full of short 3/4 inch PVC pipe and a bunch of fittings. I made this for him after watching him fascinated with some PVC pieces he found in my Aquarium junk box. He is four now and has been playing with these since he was two. PVC has sharp edges but this is easy to fix with a bit of sandpaper. He doesn't put them in his mouth. Never has that I know of. Is it safe? All of our water flows through PVC.

Working with PVC provides some challenges. It's slippery so you need to be extra careful to hold it securely. You can cut it with a saw but I don't do this unless it is too big for the  PVC cutter. The PVC chips go everywhere when cutting it with a miter saw. There must be son static electricity. The PVC chips stick to everything.

PVC cutting tools are cheap. Harbor Freight sells one that works well so long as you are careful to keep everything straight and square while you are cutting. The Harbor Freight blades are soft and the edge bends quite easily, With careful use, it works well.  It costs $6.99 for the Harbor Freight tool. Better quality tools run in the $35 range.

Gluing PVC to PVC requires a solvent-based glue. It cures very fast you only have a few seconds of working time. With PVC pipe, I like to dry fit and mark all the parts so I know where to align them. A Sharpie pen works great for this. I have never tried it but I don't think PVC would work well with wood glues. You will probably need to use epoxy to glue it to wood.

Will I use PVC for making toys? Probably not. Using PVC would add complexity to the build. More parts mean it takes longer to build and costs more. If you're selling your toys you will need to sell it for a higher price. There might be some reason to use it but I today I can't think of one.



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john lewman

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Reply with quote  #17 
I deeply appreciate all the in-depth input on using aluminum and PVC. These are materials for children age 3 years and older. The materials cannot be used for teethers and toys for infants and early toddlers who might put the toys in their mouth. There is a possibility that material dust might be clinging to the toy parts and could be swallowed. Aluminum dust and PVC dust can be dangerous if swallowed.

That said, there is a variety of aluminum products in a kitchen and PVC is used for water pipes. 
BadBob

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Reply with quote  #18 
I think PVC and aluminum are about as safe a material as you can get. I paint toys. The paint is more dangerous by far than aluminum. Both aluminum and PVC are probably safer than many kinds of wood. Most woods are toxic to some extent.

I like the look of the PVC exhaust. If I were to use it I would simply put a dowel in the PVC that was 1/4 to 1/8 inch shorter than the pipe. That way a child can't get their finger stuck in the tube and you would still get the same visual effect.

If you going to sell toys you must think about all of these things. I think about them every time I give something to my grandson. If it has holes in it I guarantee he is going to put something in it. If not his finger it will be something else that will get stuck and the finger will go in after it. He is 4 years old.




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Frogbucket

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Reply with quote  #19 
Wow John your models look really cool and since you will be allowing people to choose what materials they use to make them you have "covered all the bases" as they say and people can use their common sense when it comes to making them in regard to children playing with them......
gazz

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Reply with quote  #20 
If all wood is used an idea for replacing the PVC pipe would be to use a piece of wood the right depth cut a hole in the middle with a forstner bit and a hole saw for the diamiter, to replace the aluminium withe thin wood paint it silver with a high gloss finish to make it look like aluminium.
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