The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

Click here to edit subtitle

Hopping Bluebird Pull-Toy

Many years ago I made some bunny rabbits where the child pulled the toy with a rope and the bunny hopped as it traveled along.

I uploaded my design to the Google Sketchup warehouse, and it turned out to be my popular design with 22,000 downloads !!!

Here is a link to my Sketchup design.

Bluebird City

The high school mascot for Chatsworth, Illinois, used to be the Bluebird before the school was consolidated.  The citizens of Chatsworth have erected hundreds of bird houses in an effort to become the Bluebird capital of the United States.  So, Chatsworth people really like bluebirds!

A non-profit in Chatsworth has asked me to make some items and donate them so they can sell them as fund-raisers.  Since the store is in Chatsworth, many of the customers will be from the Chatsworth area.  I decided to modify the hopping bunny rabbit design to a hopping Bluebird design.

For the Bluebird itself, I modified a Bluebird design I had used previously for an LED lit Bluebird stained glass panel.

I kept the same 3/8" offset on the rear wheel axle holes, to make the Bluebird hop as it is pulled.


I used Ace number 5360094 eye hooks that are labelled 1-3/8 inches.

Finished Hopping Bluebird

Youtube video of Hopping Bluebird

I made a Youtube video of the toy in action.

Here is a link to that video.

Sketchup Warehouse Link

Closing Thoughts on this project

It will be interesting to see how popular these toys in the Chatsworth non-profit store.

Mass-Production Update

I decided to try making these in batches of 10 units. I designed 5 fixtures to make it easier and faster to make the component parts.

One time consuming task was hole saw drilling the 40 wheels. I was cutting all the way through with the hole saw, taking the bit to the workbench, dis-assembly of the hole saw, removing the wheel, re-assembly, and back to the drill press.  I checked some  youtube videos, and noticed the wheels might not get stuck in the hole saw if I sawed from both sides. I tried that, and I could remove the wheel from my hole saw with my fingers !!!   That dramatically saved a lot of time.

The 5 fixtures are shown below.

Pattern for main body top holes

Fixture for 2 axle  holes and front eye hook hole

Pattern to band-saw bluebird body

Fixture to drill bluebird perch hole

fixture to drill offset axle holes in wheels

Buying or making 40 wheels per batch

I checked and purchased slab wheels are only $1 per wheel, so I may purchase wheels if I do another batch of 10 hopping bluebirds.........because making wheels is so time consuming.

5 Actual Fixtures used

10 Unpainted Hopping Bluebirds finished

Closing Thoughts on 1st batch of 10 Hopping Bluebird pull-toys

1.5" dia balls are about right for the cord on this pull-toy.  I did not have enough 1.5" in stock, so I used 6 of the 1.75" diameter balls also.  I don't think it makes that much difference.

The 5 fixtures help speed up batch production of 10 units, except for the cutting and sanding of the wheels.  I might buy wheels next time versus making them.  I will still have to drill the offset axle holes for the back wheels, but my fixture makes that quick and easy.

I have plenty of green cord left, I don't remember where I bought it at, probably Hobby Lobby.

Now will have to see how they sell at the non-profit.