Intro: Wooden X-Aircraft Carrier
My boy has been wanting an aircraft carrier for quite some time so in hopes to make him happy, we bought him the one from the movie Planes. Unfortunately, this did did not support the many planes, jets and helicopters that he owns. With that, I searched the internet looking for plans that I could do with out expensive tools and still came up short. Did not find anything that satisfied me so I decided to make it myself and this was the end result.
Step 1: Materials & Tools
To draw it....
- A CAD program (free one)
- Graph paper (another option)
To make it...
- 4 - 800 x 400 x 18mm
- 1 - 800 x 600 x 18mm
- 8mm dowels
- 1 - 150mm
- 3 - 70mm
- 8 - 35 mm
- 100mm x 80mm x 40mm
- 30mm x 110mm x 6 mm
- 90mm x 60mm x 15mm
- 35mm x 15mm x 15 mm
- Jigsaw w/ blade specific to material being cut
- Drill w/ 8mm wood bit
- Sandpaper (80 to 320 grit)
- Sander (optional)
- Bar clamps (various)
- Miter saw (optional)
- Grinder w/ sandpaper attachment (40 grit)
Step 2: Design & Template
Start with the top deck shape and draw it in the CAD program (I used Sketchup) or on graph paper. Once the deck is drawn you need to work on the bottom portion of the aircraft carrier. Copy the deck drawing, then shrink it by about 30% (see gold piece). The third piece is a simple boat shape (red piece). Put a 15° angle on this third piece angling the bottom toward the center. For the fourth piece (brown piece), the width of the top edge should equal the bottom of piece three. Put a 15° angle on the fourth piece angling the bottom toward the center. The fifth (final-blue piece) piece should likewise match width to the bottom edge of the fourth piece.
If using a CAD program like Sketchup, print 1:1 scale. Once all the pages have printed, lay them out and tape together to make your template. The lines should touch but if they don't, make sure all templates match or it could affect the alignment of your pieces.
Step 3: Cutting & Sanding
Cut out all five pieces using the jigsaw and dry fit. Note how it all fits together, and make any small adjustments with the jigsaw.
Sanding is the fun part and is the most important. Sand all pieces with a coarse (40 to 50 grit) sandpaper for a quick clean look.
Line up the three bottom pieces and clamp one side so you can work on the other. If your cuts are really rough, you can try using a grinder with sandpaper for concrete to even the edges out quickly. Remember to keep your angles consistent. When satisfied with this side, move clamps one at a time to other side and repeat.
After sanding the second side, check the back. Make sure everything is in alignment. I did have a jigsaw blade to cut the thickness but it was quicker to use my miter saw.
Once the back is done, glue and clamp all three pieces together. I put three screws from the top down for extra holding power.
Lastly, cut out the pieces to the tower, antenna, and cannons. The tower I made with a 2x4 on the deck, plywood as a balcony and 1x2 as the bridge area (see pic). Drill an 8mm hole about 70mm deep in the center of tower for antenna.
For the antenna, use a 35mm x 15mm block. Drill a hole straight through the center of the 35mm sides. Drill through the center of the 15mm sides. Insert and glue a 150mm dowel through the shorter sides with 20mm sticking out above the block. Insert to midpoint and glue two 35mm length dowels into the long sides.
For the three cannons, cut a 40mm square block with a 45° angle on one top edge. Flip over and drill an 8mm hole in the center of the flat bottom, 20mm deep. Flip back over and drill two holes into the 45° angle side at the opposite angle (see pic). Glue 70mm dowel into the bottom hole, and two 35mm dowels into the angled holes.
Set these small pieces aside until you are ready to paint.
Step 4: More Sanding
Once the bottom three pieces are dry,align them with the top two pieces, flip them over and line them up again. It's not essential that the two top pieces (green and gold) lineup exactly. Grab the second piece (gold) that sits under the deck, and begin sanding it with medium (60 to 80 grit) sandpaper depending on how smooth your cuts were. The long side of these pieces should have a 15° angle towards the bottom of the ship. Give more attention to sanding the bottom part of this piece because this is the part where people will grab.
Next, sand the deck piece (green). Pay special attention to the edges, as this is where you will see if your cutline was off. Make sure you get this piece completely sanded, as this is your top surface.
Finally, go over all pieces (green, gold, and the three bottom that are now one piece) with extra fine sandpaper (360 grit). Brush, blow, or vacuum all dust from the project. Now you should be ready to paint.
**If this will be for kids, triple check everywhere that little fingers are going to be playing with this aircraft carrier. Nobody likes splinter**
Step 5: Painting
This part is entirely up to you and how creative you want to get. I chose gunmetal gray. I wanted the bottom to be red so I taped off the red and brown layers of the three-layer piece and spray painted the bottom red. Once dry, I taped over the red and sprayed the rest of it gray as well as the top two pieces and let it dry.
Paint the top deck (green) and the gold piece your main color and let dry.
Glue the top pieces together (green and gold). Clamp and screw from bottom up if needed. Flip right side up and mark your runway paths with painters tape as follows:
Find the center of your deck and mark (chalk). Bisect the center line in an X formation, as illustrated. Mark each side of the runway 60mm from center line. Tape the outline and center stripe and paint lines white. Remove tape when dry. Paint yellow dashes over the white center line if desired.
Paint all the small pieces (tower, cannons, antenna) individually and let dry.
Clear coat all pieces prior to build and buff with very fine sandpaper.
Step 6: Putting It Together
Flip deck upside down. Align bottom half with top half and center. Glue together, and screw 70mm screws at the front point and at the two back corners, bottom of ship to top. Let dry.
Install the tower. Tower sits centered on the back tab between the runways. Glue and add two screws up from bottom.
Install the antenna. Drill a hole 40mm deep into the top of the tower. Insert the dowel of the antenna, without fastening to allow for its rotation.
Install the cannons. Two cannons sit on either side of the center of the X. Drill an 8mm hole approximately 40mm from each edge, drilling completely through. The front cannon sits centered in the diamond shape wedge at the front of the carrier (see pic for placement), drill an 8mm hole approximately 90mm from the point, stopping at 55mm deep. For the side cannons, place the dowel through the drilled hole, then without holding flush to the deck, glue a round spacer with an 8mm center hole onto the dowel (I used a furniture pad). Be sure no glue gets on the surface, so the cannons will rotate. For the front cannon, just place dowel in the drilled hole. This will not be fastened at all, to allow for its rotation.
Step 7: The Finale
This is what your final project should look like, plus a bonus shot of this great toy in action.