anyone have experience making a ramp walking animal toy?

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Forum topic by mainerustic posted 08-22-2010 02:08 PM 16144 views 2 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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53 posts in 3876 days

08-22-2010 02:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question toys plans diagrams suggestions how-to tip

I want to make a heritage toy that’s referred to as a ramp walking animal toy. I’ve seen pictures of them on the web, but I’m not sure how to make one and I’d love to be able to do that for some Xmas gifts. Here’s a link to the type of toy I want to build:

It doesn’t look all that difficult, but I’m not sure how to get the mechanics of it to work correctly. Thank in advance for any suggestions, designs, ideas or toy plans.

-- Maine Rustic

23 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4083 days

#1 posted 08-22-2010 02:38 PM

My guess is that if you could see one for real (not just a picture) you could figure it out. If you cannot find one locally you could always buy one for the purpose of figuring the engineering out.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

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53 posts in 3876 days

#2 posted 08-22-2010 02:42 PM

Yes, you’re probably right, but I’m a bit of a penny-pincher, so I was hoping that I could find a pattern and directions about how to make one. However, I may be forced to untie the ole pursestrings and buy one.

-- Maine Rustic

View lew's profile


13313 posts in 4764 days

#3 posted 08-22-2010 03:21 PM

I think this might help

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Fly's profile


3 posts in 3851 days

#4 posted 08-22-2010 06:16 PM

There is a lathe turned penguin ramp walking toy in the book “52 Weekend Woodworking Projects” by John A. Nelson. Nelson is a master draftsman, he gives detailed drawings for the project.

View poopiekat's profile


4898 posts in 4743 days

#5 posted 08-22-2010 08:50 PM

I recall plastic ones from the early 60’s, usually a four-legged animal or two people one following the other. On an incline, they would tip from one side to the other, the right legs swing forward when the tip is to the left, and vice-versa as it ‘walked’ down the incline.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4295 days

#6 posted 08-24-2010 09:37 PM

When I was at the taping for “Cool Tools” to pick up my Torque Work Centre, Stu, who demonstrated the machine for the show, actually was showing how to make a walking kangaroo. I didn’t find it on his web-site—”Stu’s Shed”. Maybe degoose, aka Larry might have the plan since he and Stu are buddies, and Larry also has a Torque.


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53 posts in 3876 days

#7 posted 08-24-2010 11:17 PM

thanks, I’ll give Larry a try, I’m still looking for a way to make a ramp walking animal toy for Xmas.

-- Maine Rustic

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3875 days

#8 posted 09-20-2010 01:50 AM

Mainrustic, I was just wondering if you ever figured out how to make this walking toy. I just watched this video that lew mentioned and I don’t think that it would be that hard to make it just by watching the video. I may try to make one because I wouldn’t mind having one for my own amusement. I’m just sort of of big kid myself.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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20254 posts in 4684 days

#9 posted 09-20-2010 05:43 AM

Looks like it should be pretty easy. Balance needs to be over the 2 legs and the back one a fuzz shorter than the front one.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View snowdog's profile


1167 posts in 4991 days

#10 posted 09-20-2010 01:45 PM

Yeah , this looks pretty cool and fun for little kids to get. Did anyone find plans? I agree it whould be pretty easy to re-construct but it is always even easier if someone else does ti first <grin>

Christmas is coming 96 dayz left

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

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53 posts in 3876 days

#11 posted 09-20-2010 02:42 PM


No, I never did get a chance to make it, got a little distracted with house projects. I haven’t given up on the idea though, so if you do make one, it would be great to see how you do it. I have to admit the balance over the legs has me a little intimidated.

-- Maine Rustic

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3934 days

#12 posted 09-20-2010 05:26 PM

Easiest just to buy one, take it apart and see how it works.

My son used to do that with new toys before he played with them, never could put some back together again…

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3875 days

#13 posted 09-20-2010 05:41 PM

Well, I’m not going to spend $25 on something like that – I have too many tools on my tool list for that; I’m sure that you could build it from Lew’s video and you would have to do a little experimenting. It would take you more time than what the $25 would cost you so you wouldn’t come out unless you enjoy piddling around with that kind of stuff. Justfine is right about buying it; it would be easier. However, it looks like something that I might enjoy piddling with so I’ll remember this thread if I ever run across some free piddling time. However, don’t hold your breath because piddling time don’t ever come free for nothing.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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32122 posts in 3875 days

#14 posted 09-20-2010 07:28 PM

If I had a grandchild I would love to make one of these because then it wouldn’t be piddling time anymore but we don’t have any yet. However, I was just in the shop making some rossettes for a customer and while I was doing so I got to thinking about this little walking duck. For anybody who happens by this thread and wants to make one of these this is the way that you could go about doing it and it would take away some of the experimentation. You would have to have a digital photo of the duck but this is readily available. You could import the photo into a program such as Corel Draw or any other vector graphics program and put this photo on the bottom layer for reference. You could then draw the profile over the bottom layer onto a second layer. This could be accurately done and wouldn’t take too long at all. However, your halfway there after doing this. This would also give you an accurate outline for the feet which are really a rocker when the legs are together. With the profile you would already know exactly where the stationary leg would go and how it would be positioned. With a second photo showing the back leg which is the one that pivots you would have two positions of the back leg. Assuming that the pin for the back leg is in line with a center line of the back leg (and I bet that it is) then you could draw a line through the center of the back leg in each position and you would then know where the pivot point is. In the program you can copy and rotate the profiles and position them in several different positions and from this you could get the outline of the cavity that would have to be created for clearance so that the back leg could freely move on the pivot. I would assum again that the top of the pivot leg would be a circular arc because it just makes sense to do it that way. This arc would be part of the cavity.

At this point you could go ahead and cut out a profile of the body halves and make your best guess from the picture how thick to make the legs. The halves would need to be routed out for the stationary leg and the stationary leg would just fit into this rout and would be glued. You would also make the clearance routs in the halves for the back leg and then drill the pivot hole.

There would obviously be a little guess work and experimenting but I don’t think that it would be a whole lot of guess work and the first one that you did would probably work but maybe not perfectly. From observation I think that you could use an educated guess by it’s behavior as to what changes you could make so the second one worked better. After the third one I believe that you would have the bugs worked out. Then you could make a number of these for all of the children that you know.

From lew's video you could figure out the size from the man’s hands and adjust the vector drawing accordingly.

These directions are off of the top of my head and thus are overly simplified but I think that you get the picture. The vector graphics program and the digital photos would make it fairly easy to get close on the first try. Also watching lews video several times would make all of your guess work a little more accurate.

The other way to do it would be to order one and just copy it but that would cost some money and a waiting period to get the duck by UPS. Some people would rather just try to figure it out because that can be fun too.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3875 days

#15 posted 09-21-2010 01:14 AM


The key is the center of gravity of the whole object that you want to make walk down the ramp. It could be anything that you want – it doesn’t matter. It could be a football with two legs. The key to this problem is Newton’s laws of physics. And the key is the video that lew sent us to. Here’s a man that understands these laws and he tells us how it works. The relationship between the pivot point of the leg that pivots and the center of gravity of the object (including the leg that doesn’t pivot) is what’s important. I also would think that the degree of the incline is important. Obviously if it is too steep all hell will break loose. So you just go ahead and set that angle to there because they have determined it to be good with experiments. So when you use this info you can essentially just start from scratch and make any object walk down the ramp in an entertaining manner and it doesn’t matter how long the ramp is. This way you can design all sorts of toys that walk down ramps by using the basic principals.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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