Many moons ago, when my daughter was younger we chose not to buy a Cranky the Crane character for her wooden Thomas the Tank Engine set. We did get her the cargo crane, which kept her happy for many years. About a month ago I was asked by my daughter if I could build a Cranky the Crane if I saw a picture of it. I thought about it for a minute and said that I could definitely build something very much like it. (I should mention that she’s now 14 and wants Cranky as a prop for making home made Thomas videos.)
So first I looked up pictures of this challenging creature in toy form. EBay and other sellers provide a huge amount of photos. One seller even gave me a vital bit of information, stating in the description that it stood ‘about 9 1/2 inches tall’.
I’m sure many have wondered how you go from nothing to something without measured drawings. I got some practice at this when I was making drawings of railroad stations based on the stated footprint of the building on a map, plus photographs of every side I could find.
Back to the toy build. First I found a picture as close as possible of the crane in profile. I brought it into AutoCAD and sized it from base to top of his ‘head’ to 9 1/2 inches. Then I traced it. That is I made a symmetrical drawing of it using points on the photo as reference. What I got is a pretty good approximation of the proportions of the project in profile. I’ll improvise it from there.
Being as my research shows no one else has ever done this before, I feel like quite the ground breaker. I’m not mass producing these, nor selling them, so I’m hoping the lawyers don’t swoop down and carry me away.
-- Ni faru ion el ligno!