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Birch Turkey

101 opens
43 copies
258 downloads 4 comments
Fred Housel

Project by

Fred Housel
Warren, Ohio

General Information

Little turkey model/puzzle for kids or table decoration. I wanted something for the kids to play with on Thanksgiving. I saw someone had made a model for this on Thingiverse, but I wanted to make a bunch (and from wood not plastic), so I drew up a new model for 1/8" plywood. https://bit.ly/2TxlZPU

Like this project Open in Easel®
Material Description Price
Baltic Birch Plywood

Baltic Birch Plywood

8" × 12" × 1/8" Baltic Birch Plywood


Solid Carbide Downcut Fish Tail Spiral Bit

Solid Carbide Downcut Fish Tail Spiral Bit

1/32" Downcut Fish Tail Carving Bit


from Inventables

File Description Unit Price
File type blank


SVG for Laser Cutting


Download Zip

from Inventables


Measure Your Material

1 minute

Just make sure you measure your material here. Mine was about 3.3-3.5mm thick. I used Woodpeckers 12×12×.125″ Baltic Birch Plywood. If your material is a little thicker or thinner, you could probably get away with just scaling all of the pieces up or down a bit.The only thing that really matters here is that the slots in each piece are as thick as whatever material you’re using.

Before you go all out, cut a piece (like one of the small feathers) just to test the fit of the notch with the thickness of your material. You want it to be relatively tight since you’re not gluing anything, but not so tight that it’s difficult to assemble.


Carve Up Some Turkey

10 minutes

I think each set of pieces takes about 10 minutes to carve with the suggested settings in Easel. I added a single tab to each piece. I usually use double-sided tape when possible, but for such small pieces, I recommend just rolling with the tabs I’ve added. It only takes a few seconds to cut away the tabs with a Dremmel. After all the pieces are loose I sanded away the remaining bit of the tabs and called it good.

I recommend using a downcut bit for this. It’s not absolutely necessary, but with the thin plies of the material, it seems to help minimize tearout. It’s soft, so you can get away with different bits and just sand the pieces a little. If you use a different kind of bit, it might be a good idea to lower your speed settings.


Build Your Turkey

3 minutes

Building it is the fun part. Wrap the pieces in some kraft paper, or throw in a ziplock bag and let someone else put it together. It’s pretty straightforward. There is one large feather for the center notch, two medium feathers for the two middle notches and two small feathers for the bottom notches. I’ll leave it up to the builder to decide where the feet go.

You just need to be a little careful. These are pretty small and could break if you’re not kinda careful while assembling. If you’re running off a few for your family’s kids, take a minute and make some spare pieces ;)

UPDATE: I found out that crayons make this project so much better. Before assembling, let them go to town decorating/coloring the components. It’s not as effective as paint or anything, but it’s an easy way to customize the turkeys without having to add any real time or effort to the project.


Give Some Thanks

1 minute

Like I said, I saw something like this on Thingiverse, but I didn’t want to make them from plastic. This was an easy way to make a lot of them quickly without fiddling with the 3D printer. If you like these, please go thank the Thingiverse designer with a like and comment: https://bit.ly/2TxlZPU. It looks like that designer was inspired by this post: https://bit.ly/2DQZj8t

I’ve added an .svg of my drawing from Illustrator so you could also use with a laser. I tried this, but cleaning up the tabs with the Dremmel seemed a lot easier than cleaning away the soot my laser leaves on cut edges.

Kyle Ensign
Love this! any chance you can share this publicly?
Kyle Ensign
Fred Housel
Hi Kyle, sorry... I thought it was public. Inventables makes sharing easel projects too confusing. try this link if the above one isn't working: https://easel.inventables.com/projects/zU3f1mNaPbjwNQ9SZz93_g
Fred Housel
Fred Housel
Just remember to go slow with this. 1/32 downcut is a fragile bit. I've made these with and without tabs (using doublesided tape) I'll leave that up to you, but I prefer using doublesided tape.
Fred Housel
Fred Housel
I'd suggest when doing these or any project where you're cutting all the way through really is using a sacrificial sheet of birch plywood as a sort of sled. You can reuse this piece as a buffer to avoid sticking tape to your wasteboard or risk cutting into your wasteboard. Makes this project easier.
Fred Housel