Introduction: Giant Wooden Lego Men
Second Prize in the
Homemade Gifts Contest
These are some giant Lego men that I have made. They have all the movements, clips and operations that a standard Lego man has. They are to scale (1 : 6.25). The timbers I have use are Huon pine, Australian red cedar and American walnut.
Step 1: Design and Timber Selection
Before you start, design and timber selection is very important.
Designs are copied directly from the web or measure off the actually lego pieces. Most of it is pretty simple to get the measurements. There are a few subtle design feature that I never realised until i studied the designs.
- The legs taper. Not much but the distance at the bottom of the feet is equal to the bottom of the body. The top of the legs sit a few mm under
- The leg mechanism is not flush at the front or back
- There is a flat spot on the arms
- There is a cut out on the legs that houses the middle disc
These are all really important. They make a big difference. I even tried slightly changing the sizings on the face and looked so wrong. They have have been well designed.
Choosing your scale is also important. I chose 1: 6.25 because that allowed me to get the biggest size with the timber I had. The body thickness is 50mm (timber sizing standard). By chance this scale also perfectly holds a really Lego man.
Timber selection. Main thing is timber density. With dowel joints that are tight but not too tight, soft timbers are best. Colour is only really important for the head. Try to get a yellow timber. The other colours are not as important but something contrasting is good.
Step 2: Turning the Head
The head is some simple turning. Get your diameters and markings right with the calipers. Use the parting tool to get accurate sizings. Roll the radius with a skew or a gouge. After that is done drill a hole in the bottom for the connection to the body
Step 3: The Face
I did mine with a walnut veneer. The eyes were easy, punching them out with a plug cutter. The mouth was harder, having to cut that out by hand with a stanley knife. Important to sand the edges. I carefully glued them on with with pva, using clear sellotape to hold them on. (normally use masking tape but this allowed me to ensure the position was exact)
Step 4: The Body
The body was another simple part. The shape is easy to get from the designs. I used a band saw to cut it out and then sanded it up. The arm holes are central in width and not too far from the top. Drill the 2 30mm holes on the bottom to clip in. The dowel at the top has to be made. This is 30mm diameter that matches the hole in the head. It is 29mm at the top. This taper allows the head to slip on with ease. Also drill a 30mm hole in the body to fit this dowel
Step 5: The Arm
The arm is 2 parts but comes from 1 turning. A cylinder is turned with a taper with a round on top. Part way down the arm, cut it at an angle of 67.5 degrees with a thin blade. Rotate it 180 degrees and reglue. This should create an angle of 145 degrees. Drill holes for the hands and dowel to connect to the body.
Step 6: The Hand
There are 2 parts to the hand. The dowel is turned with 2 diameters, 1 that fits into the hand and the other larger. The other piece is turned to the correct diameter. Drill a hole in the side that fits the other piece and glue it in. When dry you can drill out the middle of the hand. Make 2 cut in the front of the hand with chosen saw. Radius the bottom of the hand using a sander.
Step 7: The Leg
Make a template. This is the easiest way to get them consistent. The round at the top has to be spot on as this moves in the leg mechanism. Cut the shape out on the bandsaw and sand to shape. It may need adjusting when you make up the mechanism. Drill out the centers for the dowel using a hole saw to create the small recess then increase the hole with the 10mm bit for the dowel. Chisel the rest of the recess flat. After making the mechanism you will need to sand the taper. Base this of the mechanism to make it exact.
Step 8: Leg Mechanism
This is the really hard part. Cut the center block. This can be left a bit over size but have it at the correct thickness. Turn the 2 dowels, same as the one for the head. Drill the 2 holes at the top. These have to be exact. The joint will be really tight and hard to separate but it needs to be tight enough to hold well. Glue these in. I used and epoxy to be sure. Shape the curve on the underneath of the block. To do this I made a sander of the correct diameter on the lathe. Turned pine to a cylinder slightly smaller than required diameter and glued abrasive paper to it. The disc has a tenon on it. It was shaped on the bandsaw and sander. Drill a hole in the center and glue a dowel halfway though. Drill and chisel a mortise into the center of the block and glue the disc in. This part is so hard because it has to be exact to get it all to work well.
Step 9: Sanding, Fit All the Parts and Finish
Sand, sand and more sanding. It has to be done. Some bits can be done with a sander but there are also bits that need to be done by hand. Any bits that are too tight sand. Make sure it all moves. It does have to be a bit loose because the lacquer ill tighten it up.
For the finish I sprayed on lacquer. I chose lacquer to have a well wearing finish that would protect the timber. For some of the joints I used some bees wax to help with movement
Step 10: Enjoy
Play with them. They are a lot of fun and bring back childhood memories.
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