Building a Cranky Crane

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Blog series by Dave Rutan updated 09-11-2013 07:02 PM 8 parts 24733 reads 5 comments total

Part 1: Starting Out

08-18-2013 12:00 AM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

Many moons ago, when my daughter was younger we chose not to buy a Cranky the Crane character for her wooden Thomas the Tank Engine set. We did get her the cargo crane, which kept her happy for many years. About a month ago I was asked by my daughter if I could build a Cranky the Crane if I saw a picture of it. I thought about it for a minute and said that I could definitely build something very much like it. (I should mention that she’s now 14 and wants Cranky as a prop for making h...

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Part 2: The Base

08-18-2013 12:10 AM by Dave Rutan | 0 comments »

I grabbed a piece of my valuable and ever decreasing drawer wood because it’s only 3/8 inches thick. I drew the base on the wood using a sliding bevel set to the angle indicated on my drawing. It doesn’t look right—too slim, so I adjusted the angle a bit. Looks much better just by adding 1/2 inch to the base. Using my panel cutting sled to cut the one side. The thought occurs to me that I’ll be able to make all 4 sides the same by cutting them using my first side...

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Part 3: The Gears

08-19-2013 11:15 AM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

The head of the crane must spin 360 degrees as controlled by a crank handle on one side of the base. Since the rotary motion of the crank is 90 degrees off from that of the head, I needed to figure out a way to change the direction of this motion, preferably something home made, not purchased. (Though if something had been readily available, cheap and better, I would have put out the money.) Using my smallest hole saw, I cut a few wheels from a piece of 3/8 in. hardwood. My first idea was...

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Part 4: Eureka, Grr and Okay

08-20-2013 08:29 PM by Dave Rutan | 2 comments »

Been trying to think of an easy way to drill a pretty large hole down the length of a 3 inch dowel. While walking past my dowel storage space I spotted a length of bamboo I had left over from an attempt at making a recorder. Bamboo is hollow and thus does not need drilling! But alas, This piece of bamboo is a bit large. I need a piece with an outer diameter no bigger than 3/4 inches. I went out to the two places close by where I had previously seen bamboo for sale cheap. Neither p...

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Part 5: Progress

08-22-2013 05:17 PM by Dave Rutan | 0 comments »

I need to go out for a small part, but as I set my safety gear on the table I noticed the nice hodge-podge of parts from this project. The only camera I had at the moment is my phone, so apologies for the picture quality. Yesterday I found exactly what I needed for the hollow, rotating shaft which will turn Cranky’s head. I was thinking I needed a plastic tube of 1/2 inch diameter. The plumbing department didn’t have it. Even the metal tubes they sell to hook up faucets ...

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Part 6: Ready for Assembly

08-24-2013 12:06 PM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

Well, the parts are just about ready for assembly. One cannot believe how many little things have to be done on a project like this, whether it’s drilling one more little hole, or having to figure a way to attach the bottom of the base so that it can be removed. The photo above shows the assembled gear block and a shaft for the crank. The photo below shows the gear block on its side so you can see how the head shaft is hollow to allow the string to run up to the head from a w...

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Part 7: Ready for Paint

08-26-2013 11:14 AM by Dave Rutan | 0 comments »

Cranky is now ready for paint and the final decorations. The plan is to paint him primer gray overall. The control knobs will be red, and the crane boom will be black. The head will be finished by the addition of decals which I will make in AutoCAD and apply via decoupage. His face will be a slightly altered picture from Google, again applied through decoupage. The decorative elements of the base will be added through wood strips painted black. Mechanically he functions well, but I’...

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Part 8: Video Wrapup

09-11-2013 07:02 PM by Dave Rutan | 0 comments »

A few of the Lumberjocks asked me to make a video showing how Cranky works. Ask and ye may receive. Here’s the link:

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