I have finally re-immersed myself back into the Google-verse of Sketchup! I spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon in my fortress of pseudo-solitude, Netflix on the peripheral running early-century sci-fi and classic Broken Lizard comedies, with a driving focus to design my new workshop. I hope to have a preliminary set of drawings in the next couple weeks that I can present to the District for my application to the Board of Variance…so I will, at last, be able to explain to them why I shouldn’t be required to conform to their “laws.”
However, as the dinner hour approached, it began to feel like I was pushing the societally-accepted limits of the lazy PJ-wearing Saturday. So I took a break from blueprinting to reaquaint myself with a failed toy experiment from last week. Keep in mind that it is purely coincidence that this toy happens to fall upon the now-defunct weekly toy schedule…rest assured that the focus of this month will be buckling down with the garage design.
In keeping with my dubious love affair with Plan Toys, I wanted to figure out how to make their pull-along snake design. We saw it a couple years ago in a Nanaimo-local toy store that, as seen in the photo, Sam is so dignifiedly modelling for the camera. I think this might be her snake impression? Or maybe her as a surprised toy mouse before it is eaten by the toy snake? Or perhaps she is just a miscellaneous creepy person hanging out at the back of the toy store?
Clackity Crocodile was actually my backup plan to an otherwise failed attempt at making the Slithering Snake last week. It was a really rough mockup solely for experimentation, but it gave me enough to iterate on…once I had a chance to regroup.
1. HEAD! MOVE! NOW! The head should be made of heavy material with the wheel axle COG closer to the front such that the head tilts upward when at rest.
2. Tongue-Pull? Or Brain-Pull? Because the tongue and tip of the head wiggles from left to right, the pull string should instead protrude from the top of its head, inline with the wheel axle COG and perhaps slightly in front of it. Otherwise, the force on the pull string will mess with the natural movement…something I could have perhaps learned ahead of time had I taken a closer look at the afore-shown photo of the Plan Toy packaging. :)
3. My Prairie Dowel! And my most important lesson: It’s possible I have a mental block when it comes to making something without immediately turning to use my favourite recycled Saskatoon closet dowel. The reality is that there will come a time when I no longer have any Prairie Dowel left and, for that, I must prepare myself. In the end, I used it for the segmented body, but it proved to be far too heavy, too much friction, and not enough freedom of motion. Fortunately, I have a rather large collection of wooden balls of all (spherical) shapes and sizes which are an ideal replacement for the segments!
4. No One Ever Suspects the Butterfly! Oh right! In addition to my need for a break from my Prairie Dowel, I (perhaps narrowly) escaped a break in my thumb! I’ve had the reoccurring debate about which is the most dangerous power tool, to which I generally weigh-in with the patented “Slice Fingers Like Butter” feature of the bandsaw. However, most recently, someone was trying to convince me that blade-less, dull-bitted drill press was their choice of danger.
And, although I still don’t agree that it’s the MOST dangerous power tool, I now see what he meant when I was drilling the slot for the sliding wheel axle. The drill bit caught on the dowel, torqued and twisted my hand around the chuck, then, when I let go, whipped the dowel around several times across my knuckles. I suspect my neighbours and the passersby really appreciated the vibrant language from the backyard when that happened!
At the end of the day, all power tools should be respected, even my crappily no-name-branded drill press in the marvel of its cheapness and unreliability and inhuman tininess! It’s way to easy to let your guard down for the unsuspecting “safe” tools. No one ever suspects the butterfly. :)