Instructables
Picture of Classic Toy Car


This project was inspired by MAKE Magazine's Fast Toy Wood Car article. Make's car uses layers of laser-cut plywood to form the body of their car. I liked the idea but wanted something more durable, something that would last generations of abuse, or at least a few hand-me-downs. My solution is to shape the car from a single block of wood.

Price: ~$20/car, cheaper if making multiple cars
Difficulty: Pinewood Derby
Time: 30-60 minutes/car, depending on tools used

Originally published here.
 
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Step 1: Tools/Materials

Tools:
-band saw/jig saw/coping saw
-miter saw/hand saw

-hack saw
-drill press - a hand drill alone will not work; holes need to be perfectly square
-wood drill bit [6mm, 7/32", 15/64"] - may vary
-wood drill bit [8mm, 5/16"]
-combination wood file
-drum sander/belt sander/palm sander/random orbit sander
-sand paper [100 grit] - for the powered sander
-sand paper [300 grit]
-sand paper [600 grit]
-drafting tools [pencil, rule, compass/2D CAD software, printer]
-metric hex keys
Optional:
-router table
-router bit [45°]
-drilling vise/clamps


Materials:
-small wood block [2" x 2" stock, 1.5" x 1.5" actual] - I chose poplar as it was the smoothest I could get.
-4 inline skate axles [8mm diameter]
-2 bolts [M6 x 1.0mm x 50mm] - may vary - you can use threaded rod if building multiple cars
-4 standard inline skate wheels [any diameter] - must accept standard 608 bearings
-8 bearings [608]
-4 washers [8mm, regular or split]
Optional:
-JBWeld/threadlocker
-food-safe finish

For the wood, I went to Lowes and picked out the smoothest length of poplar I could find. They have a tiny section in the back of the store that has nice wood stock, in Pine, Poplar, and Oak. The wood in this section is overpriced, but one car doesn't require much. If you have an actual lumber supplier, go there and pick out something nice instead. Also, do you research and make sure the wood is food-safe, since these cars are intended for young children. Obviously, don't use treated lumber or any kind of particleboard.

The tires for the car are actually inline skate wheels, with the standard 608 bearings. I got mine from ebay, and they came with bearings. Most wheels, however, will come without bearings. You will need two bearings for each wheel, and can find them here. The bearings won't be supporting any substantial weight, so you don't need to use expensive, high precision bearings.

One of the problems that I found with Make's car was that the axles consist of hex bolts and are secured with lock nuts. This leaves big chunks of metal sticking out from the sides of the car. If kids are rolling these around the house, there is a big potential for scratched walls and table legs. Solution: use 8mm inline skate axles and a threaded rod as the axle. Many inline skate axles feature flat heads with Allen slots. This leaves a very small profile and no sharp edges. I got my axles here. Yes, I have extensively searched the usual online suppliers(McMaster-Carr, MSCDirect, Grainger, etc.) for sex bolts of the proper dimensions, but I couldn't find what I needed. Yes, I could machine my own bolt barrels and cut flathead slots in the heads, but the inline skate axles saved a lot of time.

For the threaded rod, I took an axle to Lowes and found that the axles are threaded at M6 x 1.0mm. This may be different depending on what axles you use. Because big box hardware stores in the U.S. don't stock metric threaded rod, I bought two M6 x 1.0mm x 50mm bolts and then removed the heads with a hack saw. On a side note, can you believe that Lowes no longer carries tap and die sets? They also suck at stocking their nut and bolt drawers; pretty soon I'll have to order everything from the internet.
wobbler1 year ago
Great design and I especially liked the axles solution. Do they come in any other colours?
JamesRPatrick (author)  wobbler1 year ago
It was a bit difficult to find just the right axles. I've seen stainless and nickel plated ones, but they were out of stock. Wheels come in all colors.
azharz1 year ago
I think we can also use Ice Cream Stick in group instead of Wood.
ZaneEricB1 year ago
next project!!! after i finish the first 5 in progress.... :)
fzumrk1 year ago
Here is my take on the skate wheel toy car (inspired by your and fungus amungus' Instructables). I made the bodies out of an old oak post I had sitting around. The body is finished with mineral oil. The wheels came off a set of old skates I got at Goodwill for $6. I attached the wheels to the wood with #14 sheet metal screws (they fit the inside diameter of the skate wheel spacers exactly). The little peg people are made of 1 1/4" diameter maple dowel. The faces are applied with a wood burner. The peg people are removable and reversible (there are different faces on the other end). I added some rubber bumpers to the ends to reduce furniture damage (these suckers weigh about 3 1/2 pounds!) I hope my nephews like them.
DSCF0188a.jpg
JamesRPatrick (author)  fzumrk1 year ago
I love it! Thanks for posting your project. You should do an instructable for it if you end up making more.
eyesee1 year ago
Very strong
sleeping2 years ago
I like those bolts. Nice car.
That MAKE article was from my Instructable! Nice to see you take it in another direction. 
JamesRPatrick (author)  fungus amungus2 years ago
Nice! I've been a MAKE subscriber for about three years and that was the first project that I actually made.
Thanks. And yeah, lots of MAKE projects are cool for inspiration, but I've never made one myself.
JamesRPatrick (author)  JamesRPatrick2 years ago
On a side note, I discovered that my dog loves to chew on these.
Kiteman2 years ago
Oh, that's a nice toy, and I especially like the video.
JamesRPatrick (author)  Kiteman2 years ago
DiResta style.
ianmi2 years ago
sex bolts!
JamesRPatrick (author)  ianmi2 years ago
ringai2 years ago
Now that is a sweet looking car. That's a very cool design. I might make some for my grandkids.
JamesRPatrick (author)  ringai2 years ago
Post a picture if you do!
ninjanody2 years ago
nice design and superb video...