I am not sure when it happened, but it did. I became my father. When I was told to take some time off from work I scheduled these last few days before Christmas just to make toys for the little humans that surround me. Spoiler alert friends with kids that will be receiving these, this is what your kiddos are getting for Christmas.
I hit up Pinterest for quick wooden kid toy ideas. And then stayed on Pinterest for far too long, but that is a completely different story. I kept coming across pictures of wooden robots held together by rope. Simple, cute, fun, and good for the not yet talking crowd; in short, perfect! So I looked at a picture, figured out most of the project and went to the saw!
First step was to set a guide so pieces would be at least basically the same size. Short 2×4 and a vice on one side of the miter did the trick. I did learn that this is a pretty dumb idea though. If the blade is still spinning when it goes back up the cut off piece of wood flies across the room. My shop in the garage and when the big aluminum door is hit by a projectile, there’s a bit of an echo. So the trick is cut, rest, stop, return the blade to resting position, remove the cut piece and repeat.
Two feet, two hands, a head and a body. Not much to cut. The important part here is cutting bits large enough that they will not shatter when drilling holes through them.
These toys are going to the youngest of the kids (spoilers again, hopefully their parents aren’t reading this) so I rounded corners and sanded down every bit of wood that could have possibly once been exposed to the air. These are going to be chewed, tossed, stepped on and likely chewed some more; but they will not hurt the wee ones. I sanded until my hands shook like they were going through their own personal earthquakes. Fun times.
It was bitterly cold in the garage so I did not take pictures of drilling the pieces. Aim for the center of the hands and feet, put holes near the top and bottom for the ropes to go through. We’ll chat about the head rope in a moment.
Since no more cutting or sanding was needed, I raced inside to finish the work on our dining room table. I cannot guarantee the sawdust was completely removed. My wife does not yet know this. She will if she read this. Sorry. It was really cold.
I mentioned I saw this project on Pinterest. Pinterest is wonderful for finding things to do, but the issue with the site is what happens when links go bad. Every Ropebot I saw on the site went to a dead link. Every picture of the Ropebot was just from the front. I did not even think about how to attach the head until I was sitting at the dining room table and thinking “How do I attach the head without there being a really inappropriate looking string coming out the bottom of the bot?”
Angle the drill.
I went through four or five really bad idea before I realized an angled drill bit cutting from the back of the bot to the top would solve the issue. I was going to glue everything, but again a baby will be playing with it so glue is not really the best option. I thought about wire guides, dowels; all pretty dumb. Just change the drill’s trajectory a tad and all works out.
Putting the rope into place turned out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I used a bit that was just slightly larger than the rope itself so it took some twisting and pushing to get the rope into position. Remember to tie the knots against the body before placing the hands and feet. I cursed myself a few times with that one.
I don’t know if it is possible to put a knot below the head to hold it in one place. But since it slides the Ropebot has two fun modes! First mode is resting and second mode (above) is frightened Meerkat! It’s basically a transformer now.
So there are the Ropebots. I thought about painting them or cutting designs into them with a dremel, but stopped. Hopefully the kids receiving them will be able to take crayons to them and decorate them as they want. That way they become their Ropebots and that would be pretty cool.