This is a very simple woodworking project to make a toy helicopter for your kid. It also makes a great gift. The wood species I chose are completely harmless for children (no oils or splinters), and I finished the toy with a kids safe finish called "toymaker's finish"
Enjoy the build!
- A piece of Oak approximately 30" x 6" x 3/4"
- Some scrap sticks of wood for the rotors (I used maple)
- Maple Toy Wheels (http://www.rockler.com/treaded-toy-wheels-wheels)
- Maple axles (http://www.rockler.com/maple-axles) for the wheels and the rotors
- Finish (http://www.rockler.com/toymakers-finish)
- Wood glue
- Sand Paper
Some nice to haves:
- Hand Plane
- Cabinet Scraper
Step 1: Make a Template
Draw the shape of the toy on a piece of card stock. I drew mine and put a 1 inch grid on it for easy replication and measuring.
Play with the shape as much as you like.
Step 2: Make the Blank
- I went to home depot and picked up a piece of scrap oak. The piece was around 30 x 6 x 3/4.
- Cut this piece into three roughly equal pieces so you have three 10 x 6 x 3/4 pieces. (they can do this for you at Home Depot if you ask)
The blank will be made of these three pieces stacked together.
3. Spread glue between the pieces and sandwich them together giving you one piece that is roughly 10 x 6 x 2 1/4
4. Clamp the pieces together. I used some extra scrap pieces of wood so I wouldn't damage the oak. You could probably do this with a lot of books or cinder blocks instead of clamps.
5. Let the glue dry and then un-clamp the piece
Step 3: Trace and Cut
1. Trace the template onto your blank
2. With a jigsaw, cut out the helicopter body
Step 4: Shape the Body
1. If you want a "cockpit" grab a hole saw or a good size forstner bit and drill it out (I used a 2" bit)
2. Begin shaping the body to taper the tail and nose
I used a hand plane and a cabinet scraper for this, but you could use a rasp or some sand paper and a lot of elbow grease.
3. Smooth all the edges with sand paper
4. (optional) I used a stamp kit to personalize this to the "pilot"
Step 5: Rotor and Tail Rotor
1. Start out with some scrap wood (I used maple for mine)
The main rotor is about 6" and the tail rotor is about 2 1/2" (it doesn't have to be exact, it'll fly either way)
2. Do your best to draw the shape of the blades
3. Drill holes in the blades to match the size of the axles
4. Shape and smooth the blades
You can use a chisel, scraper, rasp, sand paper, or any combination of them
Step 6: Dry Fit
1. Drill holes in the helicopter body for the wheels and rotors to match the axles
2. Dry fit everything to make sure it's to our liking
Step 7: Finish and Glue
1. Finish all the parts separately with any kid safe finish
2. Add some glue and use masking tape to hold everything together.
3. Give it plenty of time to dry and cure before you give it to your kid.