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Wooden Toy Dinosaurs

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My son and I built a wooden T-Rex at one of the free workshops they have for kids at Lowes.  They have them at Home Depot also and if you've never taken your kids, its a great way to get them started on building things.

He loved playing with the T-Rex so much that I decided I would build him some friends to play with.  He requested a stegosaurus, triceratops (my personal favorite dinosaur) and a pterodactyl (which I haven't fully figured out how to do yet).  I built the stegosaurus first to see if I could do it and then built the triceratops next and that is what this instructable covers.
 
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Step 1: Materials Needed

Materials
1/2 inch plywood (size will depend on how big you make your dinos)
Nails
Wood Glue
Optional for accessorizing:
Small Hinge if you want a tail to swing
Large Nail if you want the mouth to open and close (I actually used the scrap rod from a rivet)

Tools
Scroll Saw or fine blade Coping Saw for low tech
Bench Belt Sander or sand paper for really low tech
Hammer

Step 2: Designing your dinos

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I started by rough sketching what I wanted the three to look like on paper, along with what could be done to make them more action filled (tail swinging fury and veggie chomping carnage)

Once I was happy with the basic looks, I transferred them to the plywood.  The second pic shows what I hoped the completed dino would look like.

I then broke down the components around the body.  You will need four legs (two front and two back)...assuming your doing a quadruped.  The head was made of three pieces sandwiched together...the two outer pieces were identical with each having the nose horn, main horn and frill.  The inner piece had only the nose horn and frill so this would give the look of three separate horns.

The line going through the head to the bottom jaw is the part of the body that the head will attach to.
legamin3 months ago

my imagination went to my wood shop, where it took your design and severed the head, legs and tail..rounding and contouring them on my ginormous belt and spindle sanders.. From there I imported brass rod an pressed it with a film of gorilla wood glue into the upper rear of the head, shoulder (natural point of movement) of front and back legs and created a sweeping flat dove joint and pressed the brass pin through the upper part of the tail. Then after drilling the body 'axle' holes just a bit larger than the fixed rod glued holes in the parts (for movement during play).. I then adjusted the parts by feeding the axle through the body parts so that they could move in a realistic way. The legs begged me to be set slightly off from each other so that they would be well balanced but holding the characteristic of movement. (The thought of using copper washers (oxidized green to match the paint) and mushroom rivets on a fixed axle flashed briefly across the forefront of my imagination but it was argued that this level of function and design must wait until Christmas toy push). Your super dooper ible here drew my imagination and now I have design ideas and engineering issues to resolve to get the most realistic yet tough movement qualities possible. My imagination thanks you! I'm even thinking of producing these on a scale to nicely bag, printed label and offer as DIY kits for kids at Christmas time in the toy barrels. I think every kid deserves the opportunity to get satisfaction of a personal build. Good on you!

tiburon4 (author)  legamin2 months ago

That sounds so cool...I'd love to see pictures of the finish work

Babyseal1237 months ago
Cool! Have some young relatives who will enjoy these!
here is mine, he is a T-rexish kind of dino
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tiburon4 (author)  Mr. tony stark1 year ago
Looking awesome 'awesome dude'...great job
thanks!
nice! i like how you had options for those how don't have power tools and how simple they are.
wilgubeast2 years ago
Wow, these look great. Awesome main image, too. It certainly encouraged me to click through to learn how to make these. This would make a wonderful project for a middle school or even high school woodshop class.

I LOVE how you included low (and really low) tech options for people who may not have the tools you used. I'd like to see more people do that.
tiburon4 (author)  wilgubeast2 years ago
Yeah...I remember there being a Kit contest going on that I really wanted to be part of...but I guess I missed it
jbrecken2 years ago
Tricera might have been more interesting if the nose horn was only on the center slice, to give it a better triangle pattern of horn points.

For your pterosaur, I'd suggest hinging the wings in a way that allows it to stand on all fours when not flying. I've seen some cool artist renderings of pterosaurs walking around on the ground.
poofrabbit2 years ago
These are so cool! Very nice job!
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