Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wire Nuts 2011

Now that the Christmas rush is over, I can reveal my activities. Except for one, and she lives in Florida, so you know who you are, but please be patient with me. Lot of snow on the ground, and I am reluctant to brave the 8-mile drive to the Post Office.

Anyway, this season (which starts for me in September when I start the move indoors) I went overboard with my Wire Nuts. Now everyone has obsessions. Stuff they like. So I make stick figures out of copper wire. Hardware store nuts are used as heads. The general mise en scène is supposed to convey the essence of the obsession. However, this is Alaska. So there are some more rules. Each figure must contain at least one spent cartridge, any caliber legal. Permissible materials are copper, brass, and steel (don't think I ever used it) and the last rule: it must be all either found or at worst, thrift-store stuff. So I'm metalworking. And being arty. I am doing impressions in copper. Manet, Monet, Degas and company did it in oils. Good for them. I'm not a painter.

One of our friends has a cabin in remote Eureka, AK. She is a snowmobile and ATV freak, and so she should be with a cabin in Eureka. Having done the snowmobile last year I decided to do an ATV. In fact, I set out to model a Ranger. Or a facsimile thereof. This was by far the most difficult of my projects. So here it goes. Wire Nut ATV.

In the best style of Mr David Wingrove OBE, a modeler who puts most people to shame, I begin with the chassis. When I am making these models Mr Wingrove is my constant reference. You need a picture or two to get the idea of what you want to make. Fortunately I get a lot of junk mail and I cut a picture of a Ranger out of it. Made a sketch with dimensions on it. I don't do formal scaling. I sketch and measure off the sketch. To work!

So we take some old house wire we found at the Ghost House. We strip off the plastic (not a trivial chore) and bend it into a rectangle.
For the benefit of those who would like to bend copper wire, it is no joke. It is very difficult to put a sharp 90-degree bend into copper (or any other metal for that matter). In the picture the left-lower bend is much better than the right-lower bend. Hey, I'm warming up. There are some tricks and I'll post them sometime. Now we have to silver-solder on the axles. Silver-soldering (lead-free) is much stronger than electrical solder. I have made perhaps a thousand electrical connections in my lifetime. Silver-soldering is different. You have to use a torch, an iron won't hack it. I may do a post on this technique. I use a small butane torch. So moving on...
Some more bending, some more soldering and we have a real chassis! Now we put in the engine.
This the obligatory .45 ACP shell, filed to fit the rear axle, and soldered in. Note the lettuce wire holding it in. Half the job of doing a good silver-soldering job is holding the blasted pieces together while you solder them.

Quite a ways to go, but we got us a chassis. Messieurs Manet, Monet, Degas et al would understand this. Unlike Mr Wingrove I am not making a scale model. This is an impression of a chassis, not a model. We'll tackle wheels and bodywork next post.

No comments:

Post a Comment