So this isn't so much a "how to" as it is a "how did". Here is how I built the Worlds Smallest Flying Merkel using some bits of wire and a few other odds and ends. This model is based on the 1911 Flying Merkel board track racer. I've attached a couple of pictures of the real deal. At their current values I'm pretty sure I will *never* be able to afford one, so why not build my own?!
Some supplies that might come in handy (You should be able to get all of this at your local Walmart):
TEENSY pliers and wire cutters
Scrap metal bits
Earring wire and other bits
Super fine paint brushes
Water transfer paper (Hobby shop or ebay)
Step 1: Step One: Raid Your Wifes Earring Making Supplies.
I borrowed a few bits from my wife's jewelry making supplies. The soft aluminum wires for earrings worked perfectly for making the frame. She even had some rings that were the right size for the wheels. After ogling the real deal so long, I had a pretty good idea on how it was supposed to go together so I started bending. All of the pieces were attached to each other using Krazy Glue. It took a while to set up on the aluminum, but it has held up great- at least nothing has fallen off yet...
Step 2: Step Two: Borrow Some Bits From the Garage.
Once I had the frame sorted, it was time to make the tank and engine. The tank was cut from a little chunk of aluminum, then filed until it fit in the frame. Its SLIGHTLY larger than a thumbnail.
The engine was built by cutting the tops off of two spark plugs and the tip off of a 1/4" bolt. It took some trimming and filing to get the size right, but in the end it worked out well.
Step 3: Step Three: Get Out the Paint, and DONT SNEEZE!
Painting something this small can be a real pain. I tried spray paint- that didn't work out so well. It just blew it all over the place and I couldn't get an even coat. Enter the Testers model paint. Using an extra fine set of brushes from the crafting section at you local Walmart, I was able to get a nice even coat on the frame and parts. Toothpicks also work very well for extremely fine details like the rims. They were done by painting the outsides white, the insides orange, and the very carefully with a toothpick touching up any "overspray". As you will see in the close up pics, there is some room for improvement here.
Step 4: Step Four: Assembly and Adding Detail.
Once everything is painted, its time to start putting things together. The trick here is to add as much detail as possible. As you can tell, it took a few tries to make the pedals, the mag and wires, and a few other bits. Another trick is to add details with paint- a toothpick dipped in silver paint makes pretty good dots simulating nuts and bolts.
Craft wire was used to make things like a carburetor, magneto, plug wires, pushrods, and even the chains and pedals.
The finishing touch was the tank decal- this was printed on clear water transfer paper. It took several attempts on regular paper to get the size and curve right. Once that was figured out, it was printed on the water transfer paper, sealed with a fixativ, cut out, and soaked. Toothpicks were used to slide the decal off the backing onto the bike.
Step 5: Step Five: Photos and Presentation.
I don't claim to have any talent with a camera, but my wife sure does. She's shown me a few things to help get better pictures of teeensy little things. I used a really beat up Canon Rebel with some screw on magnifying lenses (don't you just love my terminology?!), a tripod, and sunlight. She claims the key here is natural lighting, with the camera set to aperture priority. The next trick is to take TONS of pictures- because its really hard to see what you are getting on that teeny little camera screen. Here are just a few of the pics I took.
Once I picked out a few of my favorites, I put together a colage of the best ones showing as much detail as possible. Its far from perfect, and not really an exact replica but I'm pleased with how it turned out. Hope you enjoy the "Worlds Smallest Flying Merkel"!