Introduction: Interchangle Toy Trucks (Reclaimed)

About: I've been an artist all my life. Probably nothing I couldn't accomplish according to my grade school teachers who said "I would make a perfect student if I would just stop drawing all the time". I'm …


99% of of all my wood I used is thrown away pallet wood from my company. Perfectly good wood, just needs some TLC. In fact just a month ago is probably the first time ever bought new or good wood (for another project I'm working on which will soon be and instructable)

So lets face it if you work with wood your going to end up with scraps, lots and lots of scraps. Some of its still useful but its one of those things that hmmm I'm not sure what that is yet.
So this is probably the best reclaimed project I've done, well at least the most fun. My Grandson wanted to see what I do in the shed (aka Time Machine) so I decided to show him and I would have him help me make a toy wood truck using the scraps that have accumulated over the years.

Step 1: Step 1: Pre Cut, Pre Drill and Assemble First Toy Truck

I tried to keep it as simple as I could to keep his attention (he was only 4 at the time), I pre cut and did some of the harder parts before he came over. The Wheels are particularly difficult I found. Using a hole saw I cut out 4 circles for the wheels out of scrap 2"x4"s. Drilled pilot holes for the 2.5" Wood screws to attach the wheels. I measured the height of the wheels and dividing in half I marked on the truck base sides how far up the body I wanted the wheels to be. (Its important to be sure to keep all the wheels positioned at the same height. So vehicle sits flat and will roll level. I sanded down the wheels to round off the edges.
I cut the base of the truck at a 15° angle for the front end of the truck. Then taking the left board that had the same angle I cut it down to be flipped over and used as the cab. Using my belt sander I rounded down all the edges an corners to make it a bit more kid friendly. I wood glued and clamped the cab to the base. (Note the truck bed will be important later but when I did this first design I hadn't realized it)

My grandson when he came over we outfitted him with all the safety gear (SAFETY FIRST ALWAYS), Apron, Glasses, And Ear protection. With him I cut down a second base and cab for another truck. We then drilled pilot holes using my drill press to put the holes in the truck base. He loved being able to pull the handle down. After that was done we took turns attaching the wheels to the truck base with the wood screws and power drill. He had some trouble understandably holding the power drill so we switched to the trusty screw driver, just took a bit longer. We drilled two hole in the front of the base and added two dowel rods for headlights.

First Truck done and he loved it. You'll notice the wheels are considerably wider. I determined they need to be cut down for easier rolling and a better look.

Step 2: Step 2: Designs.

As I was going to make a second and third truck for his brother and sister, it occurred to me that I could make truck beds, plus with like actual truck walls, but then my imagination went wild. I started designing all kinds of trucks and came up with a way to make them all interchangeable for them to play with. Here is where the truck bed dimension became important. I measured the width and length of the back of the first truck and made sure to make the other trucks exactly the same. Drawing a line from each corner to find the center, I then drilled a 3/4" hole into the bed. I then made the first two truck beds. A flat bed and a cement mixer. All the designs I came up with in Tinkercad proved to have their each own challenges

Step 3: Step 3: Interchangeable Truck Beds

Rather than dwell on every little step for each truck bed. All the scrap wood used for the beds were 1"x4"s and varying size dowel rods. I'll give you an over view first then give you points of difficulty on each design. Now its important for anyone out there to realize you can't appreciate true manufacturing until you make several of the same things. It can be quite taxing, especially having the area just to keep it all sorted.

Step 4: A - Base Production:

The initial 6 designs I came up with I first (using the dimensions from the truck base beds) to cut, drill and glue all 6 and test fitted them into each truck bed to make sure they all fit. (Note you may find some fit better in one direction than the other as these are closed to being not quite square. Because of this I was sure to pencil an arrow or mark to show which side would go up to the truck cab). With the bases made I moved on to each individual design.

Step 5: B - Flat Bed:

For the basic flat bed (the easiest to do) I simply cut and glued a block the width of the bed base and just board thickness taller than the cab(see the spec'd drawing). Glued and clamped together. I then added a small cab overlay attached to the upright portion on the bed.

Step 6: C - Cement Truck:

I took too of the extra wheels I had cut and glued them together giving me a double cylinder. I cut arches for each side out of 1"x4"s. I drilled .25" holes throughout each and also through the double cylinder (make sure to use a slightly larger drill bit for the hole in the cylinder so it'll be able to rotate on the .25" dowel later). This is to join them all together later. I then spent some considerable time on the belt sander rounding down the cylinder to give the appearance of a mixer. I drilled and opening in one end. Which I wish I had done first before sanding down. It ended up not being quite centered. Using the .25" dowel I joined the cylinder and the two arched sides together. Then finally glued to the base.

Step 7: D - Dump Truck:

Basically the same as the flat bed truck. Just added walls and a tail gate hinged with .25" dowel. So it can swing up/open or down/closed.

Step 8: E - Garbage Truck:

Flat Bed+Dump but with these modifications. I made the sides a bit longer an then rounded them in the back, closed it in on the top. Leaving and opening. Then I made a hinged scoop that pivots from the sides and rotates up and over covering the opening. This was much harder than I anticipated. And It took me a couple attempts to get it to line up properly.

Step 9: F - Water/Tanker Truck:

Actually much easier than I expected. I glued together 5 maybe 6 1"x4"s and clamped to dry. Once set I used my band saw and cut down into circular cylinder, then sanded it to a smooth round tanker. I added a couple of dowel rod parts on the back after it was glued to the base.

Step 10: G - Tow Truck:

The Tow truck was fun. A bit more challenging because I had to make the swinging hook hang down far enough to catch the front of the other trucks, but not so low it would drag. I also had to go back to each truck and using my wood chisels notch out a matching hole to the hook so it could catch. It worked great. I basically followed the similar sides like the cement mixer but closer together then hinged with a dowel.

When I went to finish painting this I initially painted the tow bed yellow. But then I decided it should be safety orange. I took advantage of it already having a yellow coat. I cut angled paint tape pattern around the base edge and up the back before painting the final orange coat.

Step 11: H - Ambulance

The panel truck beds are a bit more difficult than I thought they would be. Doing working doors being the real challenge. I had several trial and errors to get the doors down to size and to hinge right. Drilling holes big enough to attach to box/frame to be glued and fixed with no movement. Then dowels going into the actual doors need to have holes a bit wider so the doors will swing open and close. I added crosses on the side using craft sticks. And added dowel on the top front cab overhang as lights.

I painted the entire piece with a coat of white. Then using painters tape and paper I masked off the features I wanted to be red and gave those a hit of red paint.

Step 12: I - Fire Truck

Still working on this truck bed. As you can probably guess the ladder is the hard part here. I'll post pics soon as I can.

As Promised here are the firetruck pics. Also as I suspected the ladder was the hard part but not like I expected. Making the actual ladder was pretty simple. Pre-drilling the rungs holes a must. The harder part getting the ladder attached. I pre-drilled the hole for the rod to go through the outside of the truck frame. But for free movement of the ladder I drilled the bottom two holes a bit size bigger. This way it doesn't bind on the cross dowel.

Thanks for all the likes everyone. And have fun building.

Step 13: Step 4 - Future Designs

My first bed designs were a hit with the grand kids. I then had the idea for tractor trailer additions for the backs of the base trucks and pictured are some of the ideas I came up with an hope to make soon.

Make It Move Contest 2017

Third Prize in the
Make It Move Contest 2017

Reclaimed Contest 2017

Participated in the
Reclaimed Contest 2017