Making Tin Can Toys

by Edward Thatcher 1919

Make Toy Car Part 4

Cutting Can Figure 63


The dash board is the next thing to be made, and then the seat. The hood, dash-board and seat are then soldered to the frame. Four imitation springs are then made and soldered to the bottom of the frame; holes are punched in these for axles; the wheels and axles are put in place, and the chassis of the truck is finished. The dash board may be formed in two ways; one way is to use part of a rolled-rim can, the rolled rim forming the top, and the other way is to fold over three edges of a piece of tin and form this into a dash-board. The first method looks better, but the last method is easier.

Select a large rolled-rim can, measure off 5 1/4 inches along the rolled rim and from each end of this measurement, run a line 2 1/4 inches down the side of the can. Then mark a line around the can 2 1/2 inches down from the rolled rim and cut the can down to this line exactly as you would cut a can down to any line, see Fig. 63. Then cut out the piece 2 1/2 by 5 1/4 inches including the rim. Use the flat-nosed pliers and break away the tin next the rim where the can was first opened with the can opener, just as you did when making a pail. Hammer down any tin left next the rim and then place the piece of tin on the bench or flat anvil and flatten it down, rolled rim and all. Use the dividers to mark off 1/4 inch along the two short ends of the piece at right angles to the rim, then use a file to cut off 1/4 inch at each end of the rolled rim. Cut in on each of the darken lines A A to the lines B just under the rolled rim, Fig. 64. Then fold the metal in between the lines Band C to give a rounded edge to the sides of the dash-board, as shown in Fig. 65.

Dashboard and Footboard Figures 64-65-66-67

Place a piece of round bar iron or a pipe about 1 inch in diameter in the vise and round over each end of the dash-board so that the folded edges are inside, shown in Fig. 65, and then round over the ends of the rolled rim with a flat file to make them smooth and the dash-board is finished. To make a dash-board out of a flat piece of tin, cut out a piece 2 3/4 by 5 1/4 inches. Set the dividers to 1/4 inch and scribe a line 1/4 inch inside three edges of the piece. Cut off two corners at the top and fold in the flaps to the dotted line as shown in Fig. 66. Round over the ends of the dash-board as described above and to the same dimensions.

Assebling the Seat Figure 68 and 69


A very simple seat may be made for the truck out of three pieces of tin. Use a piece of tin with the rolled rim at the top as in making the dash-board. Cut a piece of tin 3 1/4 by 3 1/2 inches, fold in two of the sides exactly as you did for the dash-board and cut off the rolled rim until it is even with the sides after turning and round over the ends of the rolled rim with a file. Use the dividers to two lines parallel with the rolled rim, one line 1 inch in and the other 2 1/8 inches as shown in Fig. 67 by the dotted lines. Bend the piece over a block as shown until it is shaped like the seat shown in Fig. 68. Cut two pieces of tin 1 3/8 by 1 1/4 inches. Mark a line 1/4 inch in from the ends of one of the short sides of each piece and bend this part at right angles, Fig. 68, A. These two pieces are to be slipped under each end of the seat and soldered to it and then trimmed off with the shears until the whole bottom edge of the seat rests flat on the frame where it is to be soldered. The two side pieces or supports are made too long purposely so that they may be trimmed off after they are soldered to the seat. The hood, dashboard and seat should be soldered in place.

Assembling the Truck

Set the dividers to 1/4 inch and scribe a line 1/4 inch in from the front end of the frame. Place the front of the hood parallel with this line and see that the hood is set exactly in the middle of the frame; that it is set at the same distance from the side of the hood to the side of the frame on each side. Solder the hood in place. When soldering the hood to the frame, it is letter to rest the frame on a block of wood so that he block supports the frame that is directly under the hood when soldering the hood to the frame. The block will prevent the tin from bulging down from the heat of the copper and from the pressure of the hand when holding the hood in place o solder it. Set the dash-board in place back of the hood and see that it fits snugly in place against the hood and also the frame and then solder it in place. If every joint is made to fit snugly before attempting to solder it, no trouble should be experienced, but sometimes a crack will develop owing to the expansion of the tin under heat of the soldering copper. These cracks may be filled in with solder by feeding a strip of solder against the point of the hot copper when soldering. This causes a lot of solder to run into the crack and fill it. Solder the seat in position so that the front of the seat is about 1 inch from the ends of the dash-board.

Chassis Springs and Axle Figures 70 and 71


Holes may be punched through the sides of the frame and the axles run through them if a very simple truck is to be made, but imitation springs may be easily made from part of the sides and bottom of a can. These springs raise the frame of the truck above the axles and give it a more realistic appearance. Cut two three-inch cans down to 3/8 inch in height. Turn these cans bottom up and place the ruler across the rim of each can bottom in turn in such a way as to measure 2 1/2 inches from rim to rim. Then measure off another 2 1/2 inches on each rim as shown in Fig. 69. File through the rims at A A and then cut straight down the sides of the can at A A A which should give you three springs from each can.

Solder two springs to the bottom and side of the frame 1/2 inch from the front end and the two rear springs should be soldered 1 inch in from the lack end. Use an ice pick to punch a hole in each spring to receive the axle and be sure that these holes are all the same distance from the top of the frame (use he dividers to determine this), and also that each idle is square across from the opposite axle hole (use the try square to determine this). The axle holes should be punched through with an ice pick and be made somewhat larger than the axle wire so that the axle wire fits very loosely in the hole, but be sure to have all the holes the same size. Soldering the Wheels on the


The wire axles should be cut long enough to go entirely through each wheel and across the frame and to allow a distance of 1/4 inch between the frame of the truck and each wheel. The length of the axles may be easily determined by placing the frame of e truck flat on the bench and placing the two heels in position, each wheel to stand out 1/4 inch from the side of the truck. Measure the distance with a ruler from the outer edge of one wheel to the outer edge of the other and add 1/8 inch to this distance, see Fig. 70. Cut the two wire axles to this measurement and see that they are perfectly straight after cutting. Place one end of an axle through a wheel until the end of it projects beyond the outside of the wheel about 1/16 of an inch. Put some soldering paste on the end of the axle and on the wheel next to the axle and use a well-heated soldering copper to solder the wheel to the axle.

To do this, place the wheel flat on the edge of the bench so that the axle hole is just over the edge and so that the axle may be held against the side of the bench. Hold the wheel and axle firmly in this position and lay the hot soldering copper, well charged with solder, on the end of the axle wire just above the wheel. The end of the axle will heat up very quickly and the solder should run down and form a puddle about the axle when that part of the wheel next the axle is heated up to the flowing point of the solder. The end of the axle should not project more than 1/16 inch beyond the wheel and the soldering copper should be heated thoroughly and be well charged with solder, see Fig. 71. The wheels need only be soldered to the axle one side of each wheel if the holes for the axle fit it very snugly. Another method of holding the wheel in position on the axle while being soldered is to drill a hole exactly the same size as the axle through a fairly thick block of wood and to push the axle through this hole until just enough of it projects so that when the wheel is slipped over it 1/16 inch of the axle will project beyond the wheel. The wooden block may be placed in the vise and the wheel slipped over de and soldered to it. The hole drilled through block must be drilled at right angles to the face of the block where the wheel is to rest. A hole may be drilled at right angles to a wood or metal surface using a bench or post drill if you have one. Wheels may be set on the axle very accurately by this last method. When one wheel is soldered to each axle lay aside and make some washers for the axles before the two remaining wheels are soldered on. These washers are placed on the axles between the frame and each wheel to keep the wheels from running against the truck.

Axles and Wheels Figure 72 and 73

Strip Washers

These washers may be made narrow strips of tin wound around the axles tightly coiled clock spring. Cut a strip of tin 3/16 of an inch wide and 8 inches long. Take a pair of round-nosed pliers and bend one end over at a sharp curve that fits about the axle wire. Hold the curved part of the tin to the axle with the flat-nosed pliers and wind the tin around the wire in a right coil taking fresh grip on the tin strip with the pliers each time the tin is wound around. Wind the tin about the axle four times and then cut the remaining tin away and use it to make the other three washers, see Fig. 72.

Slip one washer on one of the axles next to one of the wheels soldered to it; then push the axle through the axle holes in the springs and then place another washer on it before placing another or second wheel on the axle. The washers are not soldered in place but simply left loose on the axle. The second wheel is placed on the axle and soldered to it as the first wheel was. The truck may be placed on its side to bring the second wheel into a convenient position for soldering. Be sure that the axle turns easily in the axle holes and that there is plenty of room for the washers between the sides of the frame and the wheel before soldering the second wheel in place. The second wheel may be soldered on the second axle in the same way and the chassis is finished and ready to run, see Fig. 73.

Various bodies may be placed on the rear of the sis and a steering wheel, crank and lights may added when it is thus far successfully completed, these will be described in the next chapter. Do not be discouraged if you have managed to get more solder about the truck than seems necessary, as it may be scraped away.