Making Tin Can Toys
by Edward Thatcher 1919
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Make Toy Car Part 3
The hood and radiator may be made from a cocoa tin, a small olive oil or cooking oil can, provided that the can is shaped as shown in Fig. 58, which shows the bottom and sides of a cocoa tin. The can is first cut down to the dotted line A. Then the can is cut at the dotted line B. Then some holes are punched in regular rows in the bottom of the can to produce the radiator. Slits are cut in the side of the can to form vents and a cap from a tooth-paste or paint tube is soldered on near the rolled rim for a filler cap and the hood is complete as shown in Fig. 59.
The rectangular can selected for the hood is marked and cut to shape as follows: Open the dividers to 2 5/8 inches and mark the line A around the can, Fig. 58. Before cutting the can down to this line set the dividers to 2 1/4 inches and mark the line B horizontally around the can. To do this, rest the can flat on the bench and on the side that is to form the top of the hood. Rest one point of the dividers on the bench and let the other point rest against the side of the can where the dotted line B is indicated. Still holding the can flat on the bench move it against the divider point in such a manner that the line B is scribed horizontally around the sides and bottom of the can. Cut the can down to the line A, then take up a small sharp-cornered file and file completely through the rolled rim at the comers marked C and C on line B. Use the edge of the file and make a triangular cut. This filing will greatly simplify cutting the rolled rim which is hard to cut through with the shears.
Then cut into the rim on the line B, cutting from the line A. Bend the two halves of the open far enough to admit the shears and cut a the bottom of the can on the dotted line B. Cut very carefully so that the part of the can at the line B, forming the bottom of the hood, will rest flat on the bench all around. If it rests flat on the bench, it will rest flat on the tin frame of the truck where it is to be soldered in place. The next thing to do is to punch the holes to form the radiator. The front of the hood is rested on a block of wood and a very sharp punch should be used for punching the holes, such as an ice pick or a very sharp pointed nail.
First mark off the radiator in regular squares, using the depressed line usually found in the bottom of this type of can as a boundary line for the squares. Divide up the space into squares as indicated in Fig. 60, A, leaving a clear border of tin all around the space to be punched. Find a block of wood that will fit inside the hood as shown in Fig. 60, C, and place one end of this in the vise. See that the end is sawn off square before placing the hood over it in the position shown. Take up the punch and carefully punch the holes as they are marked by the dots in Fig. 60, A, at each line intersection. Then punch a hole in the center of each square and then a hole should be punched between every other hole on all the lines forming the squares, see Fig. 60, B. Care should be taken to punch all the holes of the same size and to get them in regular rows. This makes a neat and workman-like job.
Cutting the Vents
Vents may be cut in each side of the hood with a sharp chisel. An old wood or carpenter's chisel about an inch wide will do very well or a sharp cold chisel may be used. Use the same wooden block that you used to punch out the radiator on and place it horizontally in the vise jaws so that enough of it projects beyond them to support the hood as shown in Fig. 61. Use the dividers to mark off four or five vents and see to it that they are laid out square with the hood. Try to find a chisel that is as wide as the vent is long, a 1-inch cutting edge is about right. Place the edge of the chisel squarely on the mark and hammer it through the tin with several blows from the mallet. Make these cuts very straight and parallel with each other. Cut the vents in both sides of the hood and the hood is then ready to have the filler cap soldered on.
Soldering on the Filler Cap
Use a large sized screw cap of a tooth-paste tube or the cap from a paste or paint tube for the filler cap. Some of these caps are octagonal in shape and have various initials stamped on the top and these look very much like the filler caps used on the radiators of real automobiles. Clean away all paste or paint from the inside of the cap and then scrape the lower edge bright and clean. These caps are usually made of a combination of metals that is very much like the solder used for soldering tin and they will melt very easily if in contact with a soldering copper, so that the cap must be soldered to the hood by an indirect heating method. Soldering paste is first applied to the top of the hood where the cap is to be soldered and then a small puddle of solder is applied to the tin at this place with a hot soldering copper. The solder is allowed to cool and then the cap is placed in position on the solder after applying a bit of soldering paste to its lower edge.
Heat the soldering copper very hot and apply it inside the hood so that as much of the point as possible rests directly under the puddle of solder on which the cap rests, Fig 62. Hold it in this position until the puddle of solder melts and a bright line of solder is seen to run around the base of the cap where it rests on the hood. Remove the copper just as soon as the solder melts and runs around the cap and let the solder harden before moving the hood about. If the cap moves out of place while the solder is molten, owing to the bubbling of the soldering paste, it may immediately be pushed back into place with a matchstick before the solder hardens. The hood will become very hot before the solder melts under the cap, but it may be easily held to the bench by wrapping a rag around it to protect the hand. A thick square bar of iron may be heated to a dull red at the end and used in place of the soldering copper for soldering on the cap. Either the copper or the bar of iron must be very hot. They must be heated to a much greater temperature than ordi¬narily used for soldering. When the filler cap is soldered in place the hood is ready to be soldered to the frame, but the dash¬board and seat should be made before this is done.