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By Bantam Tools

Bantmobile Wooden Toy Car

Courtesy of Bantam Tools

This project was designed by Ben Light for Bantam Tools.

In this beginner-level project, learn how to mill and build the Bantmobile wooden toy car. The instructions assume you have some experience with the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine, Bantam Tools Desktop Milling Machine Software, and are comfortable using hand tools. If you need a refresher on SVG file milling, take a look at the Dog Tags tutorial.

Figure 2

The car body is made up of two milled pieces of plywood, attached together using wood glue and short dowel pins. The wheelsets are two pairs of milled plywood tires attached to wooden dowel axles. The shape of the car is based on Travis Beckham’s Creative Commons-licensed car icon found on the Noun Project.

Insert 3

Tip: The Noun Project is a great source for SVG files that can easily be incorporated into milling projects. There are hundreds of designs just for cars alone.

Tools, Materials, and Files

TOOLS

MATERIALS

  • Plywood, 5" x 4.5" x 0.475" (2)
  • Wooden dowel, 1/4” diameter, 12" long
  • Wood glue
  • Double-sided Nitto tape
  • Sandpaper, 220 and 400-grit
  • Paper towels
  • Optional: Paint, painter’s tape, stain, tung oil, and/or wax

FILES

Also, you'll want to download the Bantam Tools custom tool library for wood.

Materials Note: The material links provided above aren't the only sources. Just about everything can be substituted with something comparable, but results may vary. We suggest buying more material than you think you need. A good rule of thumb is to take the amount you think you need and multiply it by pi.

Safety Note: Before you get started, take the time to learn the proper procedures for your mill, your bits, and your materials. Always use a clean mill. Take care to properly mount the material to the bed. And never leave a running mill unattended.

Step 1: Set up the software.

Start by downloading the Bantam Tools custom tool library for wood. The tool library makes the process of setting up the software easier by enabling you to quickly import the recommended feeds and speeds for wood.

Then open the Bantam Tools Desktop PCB Milling Machine Software. Click File > Tool Library, click the “Import” button, and select the tool library you downloaded.

Note: Before using these settings, it’s a good idea to read through our Feeds and Speeds Guide.

We'll use the 1/8" flat end mill to cut and engrave the plywood. Use the material settings for wood and choose the 1/8" FEM Birch bit for all cuts in this project.

Figure 4

Measure the thickness of your plywood with digital calipers. Half-inch plywood can vary in thickness from manufacturer to manufacturer. Ours measured 0.475" thick. In the software, set Material to “Generic” and Size to 5" x 4.5" x 0.475".

Make sure to take into account the thickness of the double-sided tape you'll use to mount your plywood to the spoilboard. Our double-sided tape is 0.003" thick. In the software, we set Placement to 0.003" for the z-axis.

Figure 5

Step 2: Mount the material and insert the end mill.

Cover one side of a piece of plywood with double-sided tape, being careful to not overlap the tape. Firmly attach the plywood to the spoilboard.

Insert the 1/8" flat end mill into the mill and home the machine. Refer to our guide, Inserting and Locating a Tool.

Figure 6

Step 3: Mill one side of the Bantmobile.

To mill half of the car and one set of wheels, open the files listed below in the software:

The .btm file is a batch file that has all the designs and settings and can be opened in the software:

Follow these steps:

  • Choose the 1/8" FEM Birch bit for all files
  • For all files, under Advanced, set Scale to “Document bounds”.
  • For car_sport_cut_outside.svg, unclick the Engraving option.
  • For car_sport_cut_inside.svg, unclick the Engraving option.
  • For car_sport_cut_inside.svg, under Advanced, set Cutout placement to Inside.
  • For car_sport_engrave.svg, unclick the Cutout option.
  • For car_sport_engrave.svg, set Engraving Depth to 0.3".

Figure 7

Now you're ready to mill. Place the windows on the mill and click Start Milling. Never leave your mill unattended while it's running.

Figure 8

Step 4: Mill the other side of your Bantmobile.

Remove the milled parts, clean the mill bed, and mount a new piece of plywood, again using a single layer of double-sided tape.

Use the same material size and placement settings as you did for the first side.

To mill the other side of the car and another set of wheels, open the following files:

The .btm file is a batch file that has all the designs and settings and can be opened in the software:

Follow these steps:

  • Choose the 1/8" FEM Birch bit for all files.
  • For all files, under Advanced, set Scale to “Document bounds”.
  • For car_sport_flipped_cut_outside.svg, unclick the Engraving option.
  • For car_sport_flipped_cut_inside.svg, unclick the Engraving option.
  • For car_sport_flipped_cut_inside.svg, under Advanced, set Cutout placement to Inside.
  • For car_sport_flipped_engrave.svg, unclick the Cutout option.
  • For car_sport_flipped_engrave.svg, set Engraving Depth to 0.3".

Figure 9

Now you're ready to mill. Place the windows on the mill and click Start Milling.

Figure 10

Step 5: Sand the parts.

The parts are pretty rough when they come off the mill and will need an initial sanding before gluing.

Figure 11

Using 220-grit sandpaper, sand the inside surface of the car body parts (the ones with the extra holes) and the front and back sides of the wheels.

Figure 12

Step 6: Assemble the car body.

Using a saw, cut three short pieces of the dowel rod, roughly 0.5" long each. Sand the ends of the dowels with 220-grit sandpaper.

Figure 13

Using a hammer, tap the dowels into the three recessed holes on one of the car body halves. It doesn’t matter which half.

Figure 14

Apply a thin layer of wood glue on the other half of the car body (the half without the dowels). You don’t need much, as a little goes a long way. Spread the glue with a scrap piece of wood (or your finger) to fully cover the wood surface.

Figure 15

Now attach the two car halves. The three dowel pins should make lining up the two halves easy. Squeeze the car halves together and use clamps to apply pressure. Clean up any excess glue with a wet paper towel. Allow to dry overnight.

Figure 16

Step 7: Assemble the wheels.

Cut roughly 4" of the dowel and chuck it up in a drill as shown.

Figure 17

While the drill is running, lightly sand the dowel with 220-grit sandpaper and then 400-grit sandpaper. Remove the dowel from the drill. Cut two lengths, 1.75” long each, from the sanded dowel. These are your axles.

Next, chuck a new piece of dowel, about 2" long, into the drill. Jamb one of the wheels onto the dowel. The fit should be tight.

Figure 18

While the drill is running, sand the wheel edge with 220-grit sandpaper, and then 400-grit sandpaper. Remove the wheel from the dowel. Repeat for the other three wheels.

Figure 19

Apply a small dab of glue to the holes in two of the wheels. Insert an axle into each wheel, using a hammer if necessary. Clean up any excess glue with a wet paper towel. Allow to dry overnight.

Figure 20

When the glue is dry, it's time to sand the car body. Start with 220-grit sandpaper and sand the edges, inside the window hole, and the car sides. Then do it all over again with the 400-grit sandpaper.

Figure 21

Step 8: Paint and assemble.

If you want to paint the car and the wheels, now is the time.

Note: When painting the wheels, make sure you don’t get any paint on the axles. Cover the axles with painter’s tape before you start painting.

We spray-painted the wheels black and used tung oil on the car body, which brings out the plys in the plywood. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to apply the paint and oil.

Figure 22

When everything is dry, you're ready to do your final assembly.

Figure 23

Insert the wheels with axles into the holes in the car.

Figure 24

Add a small drop of wood glue to the two remaining wheels and gently tap them onto the axles. When the glue is dry, your Bantmobile is ready to roll!

Figure 25

Experiment with Variations

Now that you know the Bantmobile basics, why not make more? Experiment with paints and finishes to achieve unique looks.

For example, painter’s tape and spray paint can make for some interesting designs.

Figure 26

Or try out different material combinations, like this walnut body with plywood wheels.

Figure 27

Here’s a fancy modded Corvette version!

Figure 29

All of the cars below were created using the same basic process. Get creative with designs and finishes so you can fill your garage with a fleet of Bantmobiles!

Figure 30

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at support@bantamtools.com. We’re here to help. And if you do make a Bantmobile (or three), be sure to share it with us. We’d love to see it! Add #bantamtools to your social posts to get on our radar.

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