April 5th. Minor redesign to the helicopter to allow it to be a bedside lamp or a night light. I found an interesting led light on ebay, the http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/151733932049 which is flat and thin, works on 3v and should be fairly simple to incorporate as a night light. A bedside lamp will need more power and is potentially difficult due to heat from the lamp.
January 16th 2017. I wrote to Red Cross at the start of the year offering them the rights to the helicopter, however they were unable to accept this offer.
October 30th, 2016. One of many things I have discovered during this process of developing a product is that the use of magnets with toys is fraught with difficulties. In my original idea I thought that it would be simple to include a magnet in the ‘roof’ of the helicopter. This would allow for small metal (ferrous) toys such as cars to be picked up, thus increasing the play value of the toy. But such magnets are actually a hazard for children and can only be used if they are incorporated securely into a toy in such a way that it cannot be swallowed. This is not a practical proposition for a press-out plywood toy.
October 25th, 2016. I now have 20 press-out helicopters packaged, and I have a second “Air Ambulance” sticker design in progress.
September 20th. I have agreed a price per unit (helicopter) with Stuart at Cut and Burn and he is cutting 20 units for delivery in early October. This contact was made with help from Catherine Cartwright, many thanks Catherine.
July 1st. Continuing to refine the cut drawing.
May 23rd. I have now used the drag knife cutter – Silhouette Cameo – to create peel-off stickies for the helicopter, added value, I hope. The stickies peel-off sheet below shows the standard livery.
This sheet was drawn in Illustrator then a separate outline layer way created. The original layer was then rasterised and then edited in Photoshop and/or Gimp, to create the colour images The file was then opened in Illustrator and image tracing used to re-create a vector drawing but with a layer which had the colour raster images.
Silhouette Connect software includes an Illustrator plug-in and this may be used to add registration marks to the file. It does this by adding three layers to the image file as well as visual marks to the printout, these can be read by the Silhouette Cameo cutter.
This is a fairly complex process and although the Silhouette software works well there are a few pitfalls to be understood and overcome.
The image was first printed by inkjet onto white A4 sticker paper. This A4 print was transferred to the Silhouette Cameo cutter and Illustrator plug-in was used to send the file to the Silhouette Connect application. This in turn sends a cutting file to the cutter, which cuts to the required depth (set by hand) through the top layer of the vinyl peel-off sheet.
A few checks then send to cutter – where it repeatedly failed to register correctly. Grrr.
So I have now made several successful cuts and tests but also had several failures. The reasons for failure to register are still not completely clear, but the most likely is that the image is encroaching onto the registration marks or the out-of-registration area. More trial and error until I have a complete understanding of what is happening.
May 5th. Further cutting … the thickness of plywood becomes (even more) critical, the bridges between the design and the waste must be kept as small as possible. And it is necessary to score through the bridges on the reverse (uncut) side so as to stop the plywood from splintering. I have abandoned the laser-engraving as it makes the finish rather dirty and adds very little of value. I may include peel-off vinyl stickers in the final package.
April 20th. More work on the press-out design, mow using 3mm ply and trying to allow for variations in thickness of this material – it can vary between 2.7 – 3.5mm thick. This means that the mortice and tenon design must be loose enough to allow for these variations, but not so loose as to make the object fall apart; there has to be sufficient friction in the joints and the design must compensate for the looseness of some joints (it does).
March 29th. The design is now ready for a cut in 4mm (3.6ish) ply. I am also preparing a version for 3mm – ‘press-out’, and this will be the final version. I have drawn several ‘engravings’ engines, nozzles etc. – on the design, these are laser-engraved.
March 19th. Yesterday I made the second cut of the toy helicopter with the help of Zarya. The cut was not entirely clean, Zarya made a second cut of some of the pieces. The assembly was not quite right, I need to make a design change to enable the mid-roof section to be fitted without strain. Several of the slot tolerances are slightly (0.2mm or less) too large. The tail rotor mount holes were still in the wrong place. On the positive side the winch was good. So another careful look at both the design and some measurements.
March 8th. I visited Fabrication (Bower Ashton) yesterday and Zarya found time to check my helicopter .ai file. Still not getting Illustrator quite right. So home to fix the errors; then I decided to add a winch, which I did this morning before breakfast.
Now to Fabrication to laser cut the file and hopefully assemble the toy without difficulty.
March 1st. I am working on an idea for a plywood toy helicopter. This design has been in my head for a while and seems to want to get out. I dug out a couple of ancient sketches for a wooden toy I made about 30 years ago.
I sketched out the design for a plywood ‘copter, then set about making an oversized version in 5mm thick construction board. This was very much a trial and error process but the basic slot-together structure was there from the beginning. There were lots more similar sketches, many of which were discarded during this process.
Once I was satisfied with the basic design I set about drawing the parts in Adobe Illustrator. As my skill with this software was quite limited I struggled for a while and am grateful for the advice and help I got from Zarya at Bower Ashton, Fabrication.