Making Tin Can Toys
by Edward Thatcher 1919
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Make Toy Car Part 6
Various fittings may be added to the truck and these add very much to the general appearance and make the truck very realistic.
A starting crank may be made of a piece of galvanized wire bent into a crank shape and placed in position through holes punched for it in front of the frame and through an extra piece soldered underneath the frame. Cut a piece of galvanized wire about 5 inches in length. Fairly heavy wire will look better than thin wire when made up into a crank. Mark off 1 inch from one end of the wire and then make another mark 1 inch in from this one. Place the wire in the vise jaws so that the first mark is parallel with the top of the jaws. Use a hammer to bend the wire over at right angles, then move the wire up to the second mark and bend the wire again at right angles so as to produce a crank form as shown in Fig. 79. Use an ice pick to punch a hole in the front of the truck frame and make it large enough so that the crank will turn in it freely. Cut a piece of tin 3/4 by 3/4 inches and bend over 1/4 inch at one end and punch a hole to fit the crank wire in the center of the largest side of this piece and solder it in position directly back of the hole punched in the front of the frame and in such a position that the end of the crank wire projects about 1/4 inch beyond the small angle piece soldered to the frame, as shown in Fig. 80. Wind a narrow strip of tin about the straight projecting end of the crank wire and solder it in place, the solder being applied to the end of the wire and to the end of the coiled strip of tin at the same time, Fig. 81.
Steering Wheel and Column
A steering wheel may be made of an old clock gear wheel with the teeth cut off, or a small can lid may be used instead. The steering wheel column may be made of a piece of heavy galvanized wire. Clock gear wheels are usually fastened to a short steel shaft, but they may be easily driven off the shaft by placing the shaft of the wheel in the vise jaws so that the wheel is above the vise jaws, and then a few light hammer blows directed at the upper end of the shaft will loosen the wheel and it may be easily removed. The vise jaws should hold the shaft very loosely as it is being driven out of the wheel. Use the metal shears to cut off the gear teeth and a smooth flat file to file down the roughness left at the edge of the wheel. Find a piece of galvanized wire that fits into the hole in the clock wheel or file a larger piece down until it does fit. The wire should project slightly beyond the wheel and be soldered to it in exactly the same manner as the tin can wheel is soldered to an axle. The wire that the steering gear is soldered to should be long enough to go through the dash-board, hood and frame, if the wheel is to turn. A strip of tin is coiled about the wire below the frame as shown in Fig. 82. These are soldered in place to the wire to keep it in position and yet allow it to turn freely in the holes.
Mud Guards and Running Boards
Mud guards may be made from a part of the side and bottom of a can as shown in Fig. 83. A 3-inch can is the best size to use for the truck. The can is cut down to a height of 1 1/8 inches and then cut into two parts across the bottom so that two mud guards may be made from each can. The outer edges are turned as in making a tray and folded pieces are slipped over the ends as shown in Fig. 83. These mud guards are soldered to the frame in the position shown. Running boards may be made of two pieces of tin, each piece to be cut 1 1/4 inches wide and as long as it is desired. The four pieces are each turned down 1/8 inch at the long sides and two pieces are fitted over each other to make one running board as shown in Fig. 84. Two or three supports may be made of galvanized wire for the running boards. These supports extend across the frame of the truck and one end of each support is soldered to each running board. One end of each running board is usually soldered to each mud guard.
Lights, Horns, etc
Headlights may be made of thumb tack boxes, bottle caps or the tops of tooth powder cans. Sidelights may be made from the screw caps of cooking oil cans or the cylindrical part tooth powder can tops. Tail-lights may be made of the screw caps of cooking oil cans. Searchlights may be made of the smallest size adhesive tape boxes mounted on suitable standards made of galvanized wire or strips of tin. The central part of the cover of these boxes is cut away and a piece of isinglass or transparent celluloid may be fitted in to look like a lens. The central part is cut away by using a small chisel to cut with when the cover is placed over the end of a round stick held in the vise. The rough edges are smoothed away by using a smooth half-round file. The construction of these lights is so simple as to need no further explanation and they are simply soldered to the frame or hood where they touch it when placed in position. The searchlight is usually mounted by punching a hole for the standard in the cowl, or by soldering on an extra piece to the dash to receive the wire standard, Fig. 85.
Tool Boxes, Horns, etc.
Small rectangular beef cube or chewing gum boxes may be soldered to the running board for tool boxes. These boxes have rounded corners and look very much like the large tool boxes, Fig. 85. Horns may be made in several ways, the simplest form being a piece of tin rolled into a cone shape and soldered to the dash. A more realistic horn may be made by soldering a screw cap to the larger end of the cone and adding the cap of a paint tube to the smaller end. A hand horn may be made as shown in Fig. 85. Speedometers, voltmeters and ammeters may be made of screw tops soldered inside the dash as shown.
Most of the large trucks have some kind of a cab to protect the driver from the weather, excepting the army trucks, which usually depend on part of the canvas hood or cover for protection. On the toy trucks these cabs may be very simply made from a square tin cocoa or olive oil can or they may be more elaborately built, depending on the ability of the maker. These cabs should be carefully made and kept in proportion to the rest of the truck. All sharp edges should be turned over or bound with folded strips of tin. Windows may be cut in the cab by placing it on the block and using a small chisel to cut them out. The edges of these windows should all be bound with folded strips of tin as shown in the illustration. The buggy top for the driver's seat may be made from part of a certain well-known curved tobacco box and several short pieces of galvanized wire, Fig. 86.