Animal Train

Wooden toys are one of those things I particularly enjoy making in the workshop.  The whole quality thing, the tactile thing, the longevity thing, the imagination thing (as opposed to all bells and whistles being built in), and not to mention the satisfaction of watching a child genuinely enjoy and play with a toy that you have made for them.

Some of the toys take quite a bit of effort to make, and as a one-off, that is never a drag.  It is also very rewarding to be able to donate toys to other causes, and in those situations you want to be able to make as many as possible, and as quickly as possible so coming up with a duplication method is very valuable.

There are many different ways that parts can be duplicated – stacking, router table template copying are probably the most common.  I have the advantage of the Torque Workcentre, so for this project I chose to create a duplication template.

Instead of cutting the patterns for the animal train out of the intended timber, I chose 6mm MDF.  It has the advantage of being dimensionally stable, easy to machine and shape, and cheap.

Once the shapes were cut out, I stuck them to a 19mm thick MDF board using carpet tape. Flipping the board over, then holding each pattern against the copy pin in the table while the router with a matching router bit cuts a new track.

The resulting tracks makes creating duplicates of each object very easy.  The board is again turned over, and one of the paths is captive on the copy pin.  Whatever timber you then want to make the object out of is attached to the upper side, ready for routing.

For this project, I am using New Guinean Rosewood.  Carpet tape is applied to not only stop the board moving, but once the object is cut free, the carpet tape keeps it from bouncing into the cutter.  I also used a couple of screws in non-essential areas to ensure the board could not slip during the cuts.  The patterns up can see under the board were lightly cut into the upper surface making it easy to align timber to the pattern, and in particular ensure the grain direction supports the weak areas of the pattern.

After 2-3 passes, the items are cut free.  These are then taken to the spindle sander for a quick post-machining touchup.  Given I am making these out of a decent timber, I will come back to give them a much better degree of finish.  There is some waste areas between the patterns, but this is not wasted timber.  From here, the offcuts make their way to the drill press where I cut wheels out of the offcuts with a Carbitool wheelcutting bit.

I still have some work to do to finish this train, but at least you can see here where it is heading.

The benefit of making the copy template means I can now easily produce train after train in whatever material I want.  I’ll probably make the next set out of MDF and paint it appropriately.

Moo.

 

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