Fabrication Week 2: Guides, Jigs, Repeatability and TRAINS

Inspiration + Plans

IMG_6289 3.jpg

The raw materials:


The Process (order of operations matters!)

  • Materials

  • Tools required:

    • Ruler

    • Miter saw

    • Sandpaper

    • Doweling jig

    • Drill and assorted drill bits

    • Wood glue

    • C-clamps (various sizes)

    • PPE (safety goggles!)

  • First, cut the pieces for the body / platform of the train (4”.) I used the miter saw and a stop block, which I clamped to the miter saw with a C-clamp. I made some test cuts to make sure the pieces were the right length, one of which you can see (it’s the shorter piece in the stack of cut pieces. )I made 6 identical pieces of everything, just in case there was an issue later in the process


I used the same method (C-clamping a stop block to the miter saw) to cut the pieces for the vertical pieces and the base for the smokestack. I cut roof pieces too, but ended up scrapping them, because they were too thick and made my train look disproportionate.

Then I got to use the tool of the week—the doweling jig—to drill holes for the axels. I first made sure to line up the pieces and draw guiding lines to ensure I was drilling axel holes in the same place on each piece.


I then drilled holes with the doweling jig in the base of the smokestack piece and inserted the dowels. Once that was done, I assembled the pieces, adhered them with wood glue, and used C-clamps to hold them in place while they dried for 60 minutes. Then I took the clamps off and let them dry overnight. NOTE: I did NOT use a sacrificial piece of wood when I used the C-clamps, which was a MISTAKE. There wasn’t any major deformity to the wood, but i definitely could have done this a cleaner way. Next time!!!


I came in the next day once they were dry and attached the wheels with the axel pegs. I also did this with wood glue, and it was a challenge to ensure no wood glue got on the wheels and adhered them to the body/platform, so that they would still spin.

I am SUPER happy with how my final product came out. If I’d had more time, I would have spray-painted the bodies of the train red and the smokestack black.