12 Great Mechanical Toys + Instructions and Templates

A Superb Collection Of Retro Toy Plans: And Most of Them are Free!

Here are they. A bunch of nice mechanical tin or wooden toys that you can make yourself. Gravity toys. Papercraft toys. Lovely toys. I have collected some of the greatest classics and made sure there are some kind of how-to-make instructions for each of them. Enjoy. And don't forget to mail me and show me a picture when you or your kid build one of these!

Elephant Pull Toy

This is a cool pull toy for little children and toddlers. Making it is relatively simple especially when you have full instructions and plans. Click on the pictures to see them large. They won't really open in PDF reader, because they are JPG images. But they are still good enough to follow.

Cowboy Animated Wather Vane

Wather vanes aren't typical toys. They are more practical tools. But guess what, children love them. And yes, they are purely mechanical. So here is another guide from The Woodcrafter. This time the drawings are really in PDF so they are good for printing. Go get them.

String Acrobat and Climbing Wizard

String toys are very old and very mechanical. The tumbling acrobat consists of an action figure and two small bars, and he flips over when you squeeze and release the poles. The string wizard is even simpler which doesn't make it a worse toy. Here's the American Woodworker issue from 1991 that has the full patterns. In case the link does not take you to the correct page, go to page 36.

Mechanical Boxing Toy

Love more complex stuff? This is not exactly a free toy plan. It's a patent for a great mechanical boxing toy. The great thing is this patent illustrates and explains really well how the toy is made. Of course you can't use it to produce toys commercially, but I guess no one will go after you for making one toy for your own use. If you can manage with the complexity of course!

Gringer Cat

Can you tell me we are not digging under the ground to find interesting toys for you to make? Look at this project. It's a part of designer's portfolio on the famous Behance network. Again it's not the easiest thing to follow but all the information is out there on the screen. And it's not a complex project. It's a relatively simple crank toy that everyone with skillful hands can make.

Tumbling Toy (Video)

Tumbling toys are simple and great members of the family of gravity toys. The video below explains very well the physics behind this toy. It's a great way to learn. If you are more interested in learning how to make the toy, the video will do the work as well. The parts are shown in great details. It's really not a challenge to make such toy after watching the video:

Waddling Duck Mechanical Toy

Speaking about gravity toys, we have our own guide about making a waddle duck toy. It's really easy to follow and the drawing is big and clear enough (sorry I forgot to make a PDF). Just see this cute duck:

Waddle Duck Toy

Coke Can Shark

We love tin toys way too much. I dedicated an entire page about making them. That's why this shark made of coke cans really grabbed my attention. It's a static toy but who cares when it's so bloody cool? There are a lot of other plans on this site, for $8 each. Looks like money well spent.

Altoids Tin Crazy Car

Instructables are always around to provide great DIY ideas. This rubber band tin car is not an exception. Simple and cool! The instructions are mostly visual and you don't need more because the toy is really easy to make.

Pecking Woodpecker Toy

Here's another fun and very easy to make gravity toy. The video is from the same guy who has shown us the tumbling toy. This one is made of wood and the only ready part you need is a small spring. Simple, yet amazing:

Oscilating Woodpecker Toy

This Instructable shows a toy very similar to the above. This one is made of paper and string so it's easier to make. I like more the effect of the wooden toy shown before it, but if you are not convinced in making it, this papercraft one should be easy enough to start with.

The Dancing Duck (Dummy)

First time I saw this kind of dummies I was a little kid. The dummy toys are still actual, especially when they are so funny like the dancing duck. The instructions on the linked page are really good and detailed and don't forget there are free patterns you can use.

So here we are, a dozen toys that are so cool you can't withstand making them. Make sure you let us know when you do it!

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