A simple one day build, of a busy-board for a toddler who loves buckles, light switches and boingy things. Made from mostly scrap wood from past projects. Total cost of hardware was just under $50CAD.
Firetruck Toolbox Busyboard opened.
Figure 1. Firetruck Toolbox Busy-board insides with side flaps opened and front flaps pushed in

A simple one day build, of a busy-board for a toddler who loves buckles, light switches and boingy things. Made from mostly scrap wood from past projects in typical DropBOB Designs style (ready for hacking and upgrades). Total cost of hardware was just under $50CAD. The amusement of a Toddler while playing with this thing: priceless!

This was not a very difficult project, I would highly encourage you to build your own if you have the chance for your own little one (or for yourself, I won’t judge). Read on for a quick and easy how to (or for inspiration).

Here’s the materials List shown visually. I would usually add some links to these items, but they end up being broken links in a few months, and really, just go to your hardware store and put everything you like in your basket:

Picture of all the Parts necessary to build toolbox
Figure 2. Before construction, and ready to be installed (Some of these I didn’t use)
Picture of the parts taken apart ready for the painting process
Figure 3. After build, and all taken apart ready for painting (added a few things)

So the first step is to build the frame. This is typically some box shaped structure. Here’s what mine looked like.

Base structure for the toolbox
Figure 4. two simple flat rectangles with 4 pillars

Then you’ll want to put together the roof of the toolbox. Here a simple 90-degree triangle was the perfect shape. You can reinforce it with some thicker piece of wood from the inside. And add the side triangles.

Roof Structure for the toolbox
Figure 5. Rooftop reinforced with central column

Then add the side flaps and bottom of the toolboxside flaps are always fun to play with! Here you should make sure your hinge has a high friction by compressing it against the wood. This will make sure the flaps don’t just fall open by themselves.

Base structure with Flap structure
Figure 6. Main body with Flappy things

Now put this all together, and you can add small pocket doors too if you like. I cut two small doors at the front that can be punched in. This adds a few more fun openings to play with.

Full structure built with front removed
Figure 7. Front removed to cut small door holes in the front

I think the overall concept was a pretty good success. Always test your designs many times before putting in the finishing touches. Just in case you need to make adjustments, its easier before the paint job.

Testing the construction of the toolbox.
Figure 8. Test subject number one. The cake is a Lie.

Here you can see the Firetruck Toolbox in all its glory with all the various doohickeys and dongles. Here is a list of the things I included:

  • Gate latch
  • Buckle clip x 4
  • Light switch with White LED and replaceable 9v battery
  • Barrel bolt
  • Large Buttons with Leather scraps x3
  • Chain lock
  • Lockable Chest Toggle catch
  • Spring door stop (Or a Coil based portal obstruction)
  • Custom Plastic Knob
  • Industrial Velcro
  • Yellow Shoelace

Once all the thingy-ma-BOB’s were installed, tested and passed quality control (i.e the Wife) I immediately jumped onto painting. And yes, it had to be red, there was no question about it.

Oddly, I have an overwhelming urge to put my lunch in it and take it to work … Do you think my co-workers would be jealous? I know I would be. Maybe after Marina finishes playing with it. Marina are you done yet? Is it dad’s turn to play, now? I just want to play with the Boing-Boing, here, you play with the light switch,

Video 1. Test subject appears to enjoy the Boingy thing the most. This confirms our hypothesis.