My son's birthday is on Christmas Eve (not our idea.) There were five kids total in his play group that had birthdays close to the same time, so we had a big birthday party for everyone. I decided to make them all toy cars as presents.
I took a profile photo of a car and copied it to the size I wanted as a pattern. Knowing that the projects would be painted, I selected MDF because it was inexpensive and machines well. I cut four lengths of MDF and glued them up into a 3" wide blank. I then glued a copy of the car pattern to the blank, and cut out each of the bodies on the band saw. I had to do quite a bit of sanding to remove the bandsaw scratches and smooth things out. Once the bodies were done, I drilled the hole for the axles, and rounded the edges with a 1/4" roundover bit.
Next, I attached more copies of the patterns to MDF and cut out the fender/running board pieces using my scroll saw. I only cut the top edges of the pieces, then rounded them over using a 1/2" roundover bit. I had to take care to make left and right sides of the fenders when routing the fenders, so on half of them I routed on the pattern side, and on the other half I routed on the back side. Once the pieces were routed I finished the cuts, and glued the fender pieces to the body blanks.
I tried making wheels out of MDF using a hole saw, but discovered quickly that it burned the wood badly and would have taken a long time. So, I broke down and bought wooden wheels at Hobby Lobby. While I was there I picked up some 1/4" dowel for the axles.
After final sanding I painted each car a different color. For some reason I had a hard time getting the paint to stick to the MDF, especially where the scroll saw or router had burnished the wood to a high sheen. So I wound up putting the paint on very thick to compensate for this problem. Consequently I wound up with some runs in the paint, but seeing as the cars would see heavy abuse in a few days I wasn't too worried about it.
The car pictured here is my son's. I painted it using left over paint from when I repainted my motorcycle. You can see some scratches and dents from where he's played with it, dropped it and ran it into other objects, but that's what a toy is for, isn't it?
This page last updated on 06/28/2018