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Sudden opportunity

This weekend brought an unexpected visit from a long-time friend, J and her three year-old son T. She has been living on the west coast for the past several years, and only making it back east for visits now and then.

As ashacat, J and I were catching up yesterday afternoon, I had a fine opportunity to have a real boy test-drive some of my toy trucks. T definitely gave them a work-out. The lessons learned?
  • He loved them!
  • I need a more durable finish than bare acrylic paint.
  • The pin-and-socket hitch for the tractor-trailer needs to be more loose. T didn't have any trouble hitching/unhitching, but there were times when he had the truck-tractor up on something with the trailer hanging off in space. It would be better if the tailer was free to just pop off under those circumstances.
  • The tailgate design that I thought was too weak, was indeed too weak. It snapped in the first five minutes of play. I had already moved to a sturdier (and easily removable) design with my plow truck, so this was just confirmation of an assumption.
  • Hinges need maximum travel. The big dump truck didn't break, but the ~80° of tilt isn't enough given that kids like to pick up toy dump trucks by the dump body. Another thing I had already changed for the next truck (which has something like 170° of swing). However, I think that the small hinges I'm using need to be changed out for something with a longer leaf -- so that the dump body can withstand more torque relative to the truck.
A bunch of lessons learned. Nothing dreadful, and all good to know. I am, of course, most pleased by item #1. :-)

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