As I sit here smelling the turkey cooking it seemed like an appropriate time to share this.
My woodworking club makes toys that we donate to a local charity this time of year for distribution to needy children. With my CNC I make cradle ends which are ultimately assembled into cradles and distributed with a small stuffed animal and blanket purchased from club funds. Last year I cut 320 cradle ends and assembled 60 myself, using furniture grade plywood. Unfortunately for this year, recent laws/rules put in place by our Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn't clearly define whether the use of plywood is acceptable, so to be conservative we decided to make the cradles out of solid maple. Bottom line, in the time I could make all the parts and assemble the ones from last year, I have got 12 done for this year!!!
But, back to what's important. At ShopBot's request last year, I put together a guide with plans. It never made it to daylight so here it is this year for anyone to use and enjoy. Obviously, you don't have to make them for charity, but I would encourage you to consider it. I never got to see any child's face light up, but I know it happened and it's a great feeling. If you make the cradle to the exact size you see here, it makes a pretty small cradle. But just as I did last year for my grandchildren and some family friends, I took the same plans and sized them up to hold a larger doll. I also V-carved the child's name on each one to personalize them.
Here is what you find below and I'll explain the differences between the 2008 and 2009 designs. Most of the files are in the .zip file.
In the .pdf you will find instructions for making a cradle completely out of plywood, which is the 2008 design. The .eps file is included for ONE cradle end and it is designed to fit into a 12" X 12" area, so by using the Array Copy tool you can easily create arrays of cradle ends to match your material. The vectors for the sides and bottom are simple straight lines and a plywood bit was used to make the slots using a simple profile-on toolpath. Using furniture grade plywood (basically Baltic Birch in 60" X 60" sheets and a Baltic Birch 'type' plywood in 4' X 8' sheets) the joints were very tight and the cradles assembled with glue only.
Important: Please note that these plans assume you have a table saw and the ability to create an angled dado to complete the sides and bottom. If you don't, it wouldn't take much to modify the plans to be completely cut by your CNC.
For 2009, with the change to using solid wood, I decided to pocket for the sides and bottom. Then the wood for the sides and bottom was planed to the width of the pocket. Since seasonal wood movement is greater with solid wood than plywood, I decided to add two screws to each side at each end. Those are the 1/8" pilot holes that you see in the preview. These holes aren't deep, they just mark the position where the actual through holes will be drilled at the drill press. I also did away with the heart shaped holes from 2008. I v-carved two hearts as shown in the preview, but haven't included them in the .eps files as the hearts are traced from the 3D clip-art included with Aspire and are copyrighted by VectorArt3D. But this shouldn't be a problem, you can easily add anything you want or leave it plain.
I'll leave it at that for this initial post. Don't hesitate to ask any questions as the .pdf file never received any reviews last year and I might be making assumptions that don't help all of you.
As a final thought, as we reviewed many plans and decided what to build, it became apparent that traditional toys for little boys were pretty easy to come by - planes, trucks, tractors, etc. Traditional ideas for little girls we found more challenging. That's why I enjoy doing the cradle ends and even thought I only made 12 this year, I know there will be 12 happy little girls.
- Instructions for cradle.zip
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