If you want a fun and easy 1 night project that will make any kid happy, this is it.
This push toy was a favorite of my kids 30 years ago. I didn't expect it to last as long as it did or to be played with as much as it was. I think they liked it because it let their imagination run wild.
Step 1: Parts and Tools Needed
2x4 20" long
1/4" dowel 18" long
4 wheels 1 1/2" dia
I used a scroll saw, drill press, disk sander and a palm sander. This could be built using more or less power tools, this is just what I have so I used them.
Step 2: Attach Paterns to 2x4
1) Print pattern, I made it in 2 parts so they can be printed on my printer.
2) Attach patterns to 2x4 using spray adesive or glue stick.
3) Trim the excessive pattern so it will not interfere with cutting.
Step 3: Drill Holes
1) Drill the holes BEFORE cutting out the profile, it is easier to hold steady. Use 1/4" drill thru top of 2x4 and 5/16" for the wheel holes.
Step 4: Cut the Profile and Sections.
Cut the profile first, then separate the pieces. This will make the smoothist profile. I used a scroll saw because I have one. You could use a band saw, sabre saw or a coping saw depending on your tools.
Notice I added a hole for an eye.
Step 5: Test Fit and Assemble the Sections
1) Enlarge the holes in the back end of each piece, this allows the alligator to flex and appear (to kids) to be realistic. Do not enlarge the front holes because that's where you glue the dowel in.
2)Temporarily assemble each section using a long 1/4" dowel. Check to see how much flex each section has. round each piece as needed to allow some flexing at each joint.
Step 6: Sand Each Section and Round Over All Edges.
Sand off all saw marks and round all edges. I used a 1/8" router bit in a hand router on as much as I could and a palm sander, then hand sanded the rest.
If you want to paint this now's the time.
Step 7: Final Assembly
1) Install dowels all but the last 1/2" then add glue to the last 1/2". This will keep the dowels in place without getting into the joint. Push or tap the dowel until it is flush with the bottom. Trim and sand after the glue is set.
2) Cut 2 axles slightly longer then 2 1/2" and glue the wheels on. Test fit the wheels since not all wheels will be the same thickness as mine are.
3) Be sure to sign and date all your projects! They will be around for years to come and hopefully still played with after your gone. I burnt my initials and date in with a soldering iron.