Monday, December 12, 2011


Toymakers met at the RCWA Shop this morning at 8:30 am and loaded 6 sleighs (cars and trucks) with boxes of toys for the kids at the Youth and Family Services in Rapid City.  They caravaned down I-90 to the facility at 1920 N. Plaza Blvd in Rapid City, SD and brought them into the building's main conference room.

Kids from the morning classes of the YFS Headstart Program (ages 3 to 5) met us there and the toys were passed out.

Elves Rick and Grant did the honors.

YFS is always good at alerting the media - so KOTA TV (KOTA Territory News - Channel 3) and KNBN (News Center One - Channel 21) were there to record the festivities.

One story was shown on the KOTA Territory news at noon today.  You can see the story written and filmed by reporter PJ Randhawa at the following link:

Another story was covered by KBNB TV - Newcenter1 -  written and filmed by Danielle Grossman.  Here's the link to that story:

To get to the HOME PAGE of the Rapid City Woodworking Association, click on the link below:

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Design Concept to Prototype to Product

Working with toymakers to produce a new toy is a very rewarding project.  This year we developed a new toy - a simple airplane with a fuselage, a wing, and two wheels.  This project will use existing designs as a starting point.  The product must be safe for kids, simple to produce, and yet leave lots of room for imagination by the end user, that is, of course, kids.

The existing design was a small wooden toy plane purchased at the Thrift Shop for the CLUB for BOYS, of all places.  The wheels on the plane were considered to be too small to be safe for kids, as the industry standard for wheels for kids is 1 1/2 inches.  Therefore, we increased the size of the design to accomodate the larger wheels.  Then there were other considerations, such as thickness of the fuselage, the thickness of the wing, and the method for attaching the wheels.  Other options including adding a  propeller, tail stabilizer, or a window was discussed, but it was decided not to include them for this phase of the program.  After these options were discussed, several prototypes were built to help visualize the design.

With a prototype selected, we made plans for an initial production run of 50.  Parts would need to be made and qual tested for compliance with the prototype.  Tooling would be needed to ensure easy and consistent assembly.  After a few parts were made, the tooling would need to be tested to ensure that they would all fit together as planned.  Discovery of any fit problems needed to be discovered early on, in case changes were required to parts that were already being built.
Just as we were seeking to find the right material for the airplane, we were introduced to Magnum Enterprises.  They provided us with scrap material that was perfect for milling the fuselage and wing.  So parts production was started.  The decision to make/buy the wheels was an easy one.

The first tool needed was a fixture to hold the wing for drilling a hole for the attaching screw in the exact center of the wing.  The second tool that was needed was a fixture to hold the fuselage at 90 degrees while the wing was attached. So work began on these fixtures.

The fixture to hold the wing was made using poplar and Plexiglas.  A slot was needed to insert and remove the wing from the fixture.
The fixture for holding the fuselage at 90 degrees to the wing was made using the other half of the cutout from the fuselage. 

 After some testing of the tooling fixtures, and some minor mods, the assembly process could begin. 


 Then initial sanding, application of a sealer, final sanding, application of a finish, and final touch up with a white buffing pad.

Wheels are added after final spray lacquer is dry using same method as used for assembling wheels for toy cars.

Many of the operations used in the process of making a TOY AIRPLANE are similar to operations required to make many of the toys for the RCWA Toy Program.  Only the fixtures are unique to this toy.

To get to the HOME PAGE of the Rapid City Woodworking Association, click on the link below:

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Thursday, December 8, 2011


This year marks the fourth year that the Rapid City Woodworkers Association has delivered homemade wooden toys to the CLUB FOR BOYS in Rapid City.   This year's delivery was made on Monday afternoon December 5th at 1 pm.  RCWA members Rick Weisbeck and Kathie and Bob Buchanan made the drop-off.  Our contact with the Club for Boys, Clay Quinton, was unable to meet us, as he had been called to a meeting during our pre-arranged drop off time.  However, we left the ten boxes of over 300 toys in the lobby as suggested by the man working the front desk.  (So far, we have not received acknowledgement of the delivery from Clay.)  According to Clay's application for toys, the toys will be distributed to the boys during The Club for Boys Christmas Party on December 21st, 2011.

To get to the HOME PAGE of the Rapid City Woodworking Association, click on the link below:  

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Toy Workshop and Toy Packaging Day - Dec 2, 2011

After many toy program workshops during the month of November, the final workshop of the year was held on Dec 2, 2011 at the RCWA Shop in the basement of the Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at 910 Wood Ave in Rapid City.

The animal cutouts were put into handmade lined bags in preparation for distribution to children in various agencies in the Black Hills.  Then the distribution line was setup and toy lists prepared.  The Airmen and Family Readiness Center was having its Christmas party on Dec 3rd, so we packaged their toys first.  Then we proceded down the list, filling boxes with toys, for the remaining 14 agencies.  The agencies in the Black Hills included six separate programs under the Youth and Family Services Prenatal to Five Headstart Program serving youth from Spearfish to Edgement and all points in between, the Youth and Family Services Boys Health Advocacy Program, Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity, The Club for Boys, two groups of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Working Against Violence, Inc.(WAVI),  Benji's House and Needs Free (Sioux Falls).  A total of 1620 toys were packaged and readied for distribution.

The toys for the Airmen and Family Readiness Center were delivered to Ellsworth Air Force Base by Rick Weisbeck shortly after packing them.  The toys for Needs Free were picked up by Gary Graves who will be delivering them to Sioux Falls next weekend.  The toys for the Club for Boys will be delivered on Monday Dec 5th at 1 pm.  The toys for the Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity will be delivered next week by Larry Diebert.  The toys for the Youth and Family Services will be delivered by the TOYMAKERS en mass to the main center at 1920 N. Plaza Blvd in Rapid City on Monday Dec 12th around 9 am.  The toys for CASA will be delivered by Julian Wigen and Darwin Buus next week.  Finally, the toys for WAVI and Benji's House will be delivered next week by Rick Weisbeck.

The total number of toys distributed this year was 1,620.  Hats off to all the toymakers who contributed to this effort during the entire year from January 2011 to Dec 2011.  Year-around toymakers included Roger Bares, Gary Graves, Trish Graves, Harley Schmadeke, Grant Coffin, Mary Coffin, Lon Gose, Julian Wigen, Lauren Levin, Judy Levin, Kathie Buchanan, Rick Weisbeck, Darwin Buus, Bel Felix, and Bob Buchanan.  Seasonal toymakers who helped out at crunch time included Steve Larson, Ron Dolin, Gary and Denise Kohama, and Larry and Linda Deibert.  Many thanks also goes to our "suppliers"  who include J & D Woodworking, Inc., Dakota Kraft, Wendy's, Magnum Enterprises, LLC, Rushmore Forest Products, Wilkinson Custom Cabinets, and numerous other generous Black Hills residents.

The standard line of toys for 2011 included small cars, crayon vans, tugboats, racers, sedans/PT Cruisers, Buses, Tractors, turtle banks, animal cutouts, cup and ball games, basketball games, puzzles, and rocking chairs. 

In addition, some new toys were introduced in 2011.  We developed and produced a line of helicopters, airplanes, locomotives, ring catch games, and big-wheel racers, based partially on feedback from receiving agencies.

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