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This 'ible goes back to the old school. Before all kids played with plastic cars and got trophys just for participating. These toys, now vintage memoribilia from yesteryear, can still be found relatively easily because they were so sturdy and well built. Just hit a garage sale or two or maybe a flea market and you should be able to pick one up for around 20 bucks. The one I used is old, rusted, and beat up, but that's what makes it so great. Get a lighting kit, an old style filament bulb and you are in business and can make your very own vintage toy crane lamp!

Step 1: What You Need

Old Toy Crane
Lighting Kit - mine just had a plug but you can add a switch if desired
Power Drill
Chisel (or something to pry metal tabs)
Needle Nose Pliers
Wire Strippers
Punch
Multiple Sized Drill Bits
Screw Driver
Hammer

Step 2: Figuring Out Where Wire Will Go

This will vary depending on what type of toy crane you get. Mine had a black metal divider in the middle of the body that I needed to drill a hole though so I could feed the wires through. This toy was held together with metal tabs that were inserted into the body and bent so that the pieces would stay put. I just had to turn the toy over and pry up those tabs with my chisel and needle nose pliers to remove it. Removing that piece made it much easier for me to get to it with my drill. 

Step 3: Drilling the Hole

I used a punch and a hammer to make a little indent where I wanted to put the hole. This helped me when it came time to start it so that the drill bit wouldn't bounce around. Take your time and don't push too hard, let the bit do the work. Start with a small bit and work your way up to one that it a bit larger in diameter then the cord. 

Step 4: Cutting, Stringing, and Re-Connecting the Cord

I hate that I have to even type this, but before you take this step on know that you are doing this at your own risk. If you do not feel comfortable doing this it is not necessary, you can simply run the cord behind the truck. I am not liable for damage to yourself or your property.  

There, now that that is over with... If you end up with a lighting kit with a plug at the end of it you will have to cut the wire at some point to fit it through the trucks body. Cut through the outer protective casing and separate the two wires inside. Be sure not to cut any other part of the wires except where you want them separated. Strip the two ends and put the one side through the truck. Then use wire nuts, reconnect white to white, and black to black and use electrical tape to cover all of your connections. 

Step 5: Re-Attaching the Basket and Adding the Bulb

I put the basket from the toy back on to make it look like the truck is lifting the bulb up. I also used an old fashioned bulb to add a cool vintage feel to the finished product. This bulb generates HEAT, so be sure to either put it in an area where little hands cannot reach it, or choose a bulb that will not burn or hurt curious little hands! 

Step 6: You Are Done - Enjoy!

I am really happy with the final project and my little guy loves it! Hope you guys like it too and it brightens your day! Haha
<p>Teenage son doesn't play with his crane now, but thinks it's a great bedside light. </p><p>Uses a MR16 LED Lamp (12V) and has a fishing sinker on the cord for some extra weight. The winch drum was broken so replaced with bit of tube with a rotory switch glued inside and cable (rope) coiled around it. The orginal winch handle is the switch lever. </p>
<p>Wow, that's brilliant!</p>
Really cool. :D
My brother had lots of Tonka trucks...he's 48 now...and my parents still have them...no rust! We always had to bring our toys inside! This is a great idea. Makes me think about many past items and how to use them in a different way. Thank you!
This is a cool idea and I've got the same Tonka excavator in my garage and am thinking about doing this for the grandkids. One warning though, be sure that the light bulb chosen is one that doesn't get too hot or be sure to keep it out of a child's reach. My son got a really nasty palm sized blister from grabbing an uncovered bulb when he was a toddler.
This is a great point that I will go back to add to my steps. Thanks for the positive feedback!

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Bio: I am a believer, husband, father and designer - in that order. I design by day and make by night. I collect unique watches. I enjoy ... More »
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