When daughters where born and as soon as they could walk I made them a toy each, both got a hobby horse (see my instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/Hobby-Horse/ ).
We now have three children and our son is old enough to have his ride. Although the girls love riding their horses up and down the garden, I was having trouble deciding on a toy until I found a simple wooden motorbike while on holiday. Decision made Tom was getting a rocking motorbike.
The first thing to do was to take a couple of pictures of the original to help with proportions. I split the bike into it component parts and drew up a set of templates in scale with the pictures previously taken.
Step 1: Templates and Initial Model
The templates all fit onto a couple of A4 sheets – I started with squared paper fixing a scale from the photos – this didn't work so I decided to take the main measurements and draw the templates freehand, these where refined until I was happy that curves where correct. I then photocopied the originals and made a miniature model to ensure that the parts would work well together “This also resulted in a model that one of my daughters could have for there dolls”
As you can see the model was made up in off-cuts of MDF and just glued together. From the model I decided that the front wheel arch was too square so I adjusted it on the original templates.
What I could not tell was the size of the slots in the rocker supports – this would depend upon the thickness of the final material used in the full scale toy. Now that I was satisfied that the templates would produce a good toy I enlarged them on a photocopier, I did this about four times until I reached a suitable size for the finished toy. I set this size using the inside leg measurement from my son (not easy to do when they don’t want to sit still, I then added a little to allow for age.
What this gave me was multiple sets of templates that could be used to make versions of the same toy for children of different sizes in the future. I transferred these templates onto a spare piece of hardboard, putting the smaller ones in between to save on material. I cut out the templates using a band saw for the rough cut and a jigsaw with a fine blade on the detail.
Step 2: Laying Out the Parts
With all of the templates cut I then laid them out on the timber and drew around them, trying to get the pieces as close as possible as I was using spare wood and had none to waste. I then cut each part using a Jig saw.
I had also marked the center for the wheel template with a small drill hole, this let me to place the template onto the wood and drill directly into what would be the center of the wheel once cut out. This hole was later used to drill the larger one for the dowel axle. It does not matter what the size of the axle is as it is not seen, the only limit is the size of the supporting strut and the front forks.
With the wheels cut it was time to start on the forks and rear struts. I chose the easier rout and went for the struts first. These where cut from the same board as the wheels using the templates. I then used my cross-cut saw to form a recess in one side of each strut. This would let the wheel to spin once assembled. Once I had smoothed the three parts of the rear wheel assembly I glued the struts in place, holding them using quick grip clamps and then drilled holes all the way through and inserted dowels to make sure that the struts could not move. I had already made the holes for the axle, so now only had to position the wheel and use the grip clamps to push a dowel al of the way through. Once done the ends of the dowel where fixed with a spot of glue
Step 3: The Seat
The seat was made in the same way as the other parts using the templates, once cut the edges where rounded over using a router. To secure the seat to the body to the bike I used a combination of dowels and glue blocks.
Firstly I marked a centre line on the underside of the seat and drilled three holes to take the dowels. I then used dowel points in the holes to mark the positions for the holes on the body of the bike. This done it was a simple matter to glue and clamp together. While the glue was setting I cut some glue blocks to provide extra support and glued them in place – I used a couple of pins from a nail gun to hold the blocks while they set.
Step 4: Front Forks
The forks of the bike where cut from a single block using a table saw It was at this point that I was able to work out the spacing between the forks as I now new the thickness of the bike body, at the same time I removed most of the material from the corners to ease shaping later. Once cut I sanded the piece and drilled the holes for the handlebars and axles. I then cut a length of broom handle for the handle bars and sanded it until it just went through the hole I had made, this was held in place by putting a dowel pin through the front. The finished forks where attached to the bike using the same dowel pins used on the seat. Once attached I turned the bike upside down and attached the front wheel and the rocker supports.
Step 5: Rockers
Had I have thought about it I would have used my router with a long bit and a template guide to cut the rockers, but instead I did it the hard way using a jigsaw to cut each of the two rockers, I then clamped them together and used a belt sander to ensure that they where both the same size and shape. As the rockers would be under quite a bit of stress in use these are the only parts that where fastened in place using glue and screws
Step 6: Lights , Motor and Finsh
With all of the main parts made it was time to make the lights, these I carved using an electric chisel.
First I copied a circle onto a piece of MDF the same size as the front of the lamp, the wood was clamped over this and I used the chisel to remove the material until I could just see the circle. I then carved the rest of the lamp by eye until I found a shape I liked.
Note that before I started to carve I had first cut the correct angle for the lamp to attach to the bike using a crosscut saw – this would have been dangerous to attempt once the parts had been shaped.
The lamps where sanded and held in place with dowels.
At this point I though that my original design was missing a part that made it look like a motorbike, so I decided to add a motor.
I cut a piece of paper to fit onto the part of the bikes body where I wanted the motor to go. I then drew a rough shape for the part re-drawing until I was happy. I made two one for each side cutting the pieces with a jigsaw and carving them in the same way as the lamps. These where held on using glue and dowels as with the lamps.
The last part to put on was the foot rest this was a piece of broom handle larger than the handle bars and was held in place with string until the glue had set.
The finish for the bike was a combination of stain, yacht varnish and child safe paints and resulted in a toy that looks old fashioned but is bight enough to grab the attention of a two year old. Tom loved to ride it for a long time. My daughters also tried it out, but where a little too large for it so now they just put their dolls on it to let them have a ride.
Hope you like this and look forward to your comments
If you like this take a look at my other instructable (so far) a Hobby Horse
Of at my web page: http://handycrafted.jimdo.com/