Friday, June 4, 2010

Making a Toy WW1 Tank (Part 3)

I want the tank to make a noise as it is pushed. This is the "clacker" idea I mentioned earlier. Looking at other toys and thinking about cardboard in my bicycle spokes (I never would have ruined a real football card) I knew I needed to make a geared wheel with something flexible that intersected it at a right angle. As the wheel turns, that flexible something would make a clicking noise with each tooth on the wheel as it passed.

I used a 1 1/4" hole saw on a 1/2" piece of oak. (What? Toy Making Dad using using real wood? Scandal! -I know, but in fairness, it was a piece of scrap and this part really needs to be made out of hardwood.) This fit perfectly in the space I had on the axle between the other two wheels.

I used to have a job where one of the "guiding principles" was "Why make it simple, when you can make it complex?" With that, I present the 5 step program that takes about 4 times as long to type as it does just to make the silly geared wheel:
  1. Take a 1 1/8" in diameter by 1/2" thick wheel with a 1/4" axle hole and place it over a drawing of a five pointed star and mark the points of the star on the wheel.
  2. Give the wheel a turn so that those marks were now in the valleys of the star points, and then mark the points again.
  3. Draw an interior circle on the wheel at the depth you want each gear gear to be.
  4. Draw "v"s down from one point to the interior circle and then up to the next point for all ten marks.
  5. Carefully use a band saw or a coping saw to cut out the gear.

If you use the band saw, make a simple jig with a 1/4" dowel sticking up out of a board. Then set the wheel down flat with the dowel through the hole. Carefully complete the cuts by moving the jig into the saw and then pulling it back out, rotating the wheel to the next position and then repeating all the cuts until you are done.

This is what I ended up with. Pretty cool but still functional and sturdy. Since my wheels are inside the toy and I don't have a lot of extra room, I test fitted and assembled the wheels and axles before I glued the sides to the hull.

The 4,865th test fittingMmmmmm, glue sandwich...
I tested the clacker with a small piece of vinyl and I got the sound I was looking for. I won't mount the vinyl until the very end though. I glued and clamped the center hull to one side of the tracks and let it cure overnight. I painted the inside areas that I would not be able to get at once the tank was assembled. (I also gave that area a quick spray acrylic seal.) Then I put in the axles and glued and clamped the other track side to the hull.

I wouldn't be able to paint inside the wheel
 wells if I waited until the tank was done.
Clamped up and curing. I tested the alignment
 several times to be sure the tank rolled evenly.

In researching British tanks in WW1 there seems to be some real question as to exactly what color they were. Most of the museum examples around the world have them in either an olive green or a darkish brown. The brown is pretty classy honestly, and my next one will be that color but I went with the olive green for this one. Mainly because that is what I saw in my mind when I first started thinking about how to build this.

I did add white and red recognition stripes to the front of the tank because they were used in WW1 and on British armor up through the early part of WW2. While not to scale... they seem to class it up a bit. I used regular masking tape. (I would have used the blue painters tape... IF I COULD HAVE FOUND IT!!!)

So, all we have left are the sponsons with cannons and final assembly and painting.
(If you just can't wait... you can see the completed sponsons in the background of the picture above.)


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While we don’t necessarily need more objects, we just might benefit from more making.
- John Dunnigan


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Regular guy who likes to make stuff who lives with a very patient wife, three daughters and three cats.