Introduction: Wire Car Push Toy

I'm putting this instructable together after creating my first wire car.
These are great projects for kids and adults. They can be as simple or complex as you'd like.

Artist Chido Johnson put together the first ever wire car cruise here in Detroit along Woodward Ave.
He conducted workshops in the community on how to make these vehicles.
These toys are fairly popular in Zimbabwe, Chido's home country.
They are usually assembled from recycled wire and found objects.

This instructable will be using his build information.
Chido's pdf is attached with all the steps and drawings required to make these cars.

There are examples of finished vehicles at the end.

Here is a video of Chido and his pink caddi:

my pink caddi from chido johnson on Vimeo .

Step 1: Materials

You'll need all of the following:

14 gauge - 9 gauge
Thick wire for making body panels and lines.
Steel wire for the undercarriage.
Aluminum or steel wire for the body.
24-28 gauge
Thin wire for lashing the heavier wire together.
3/16" - 1/4" x 6' long
Steel wire for the steering wheel push stick.

Needle nose work well, but any kind will do.

Clippers or Snips
For cutting.
Helpful to have for cutting wire while on the car.

Optional materials:

Inter tube rubber from bike wheels
Strips of bike tire
Foam Toilet bowl gaskets
Rolls of Electrical Tape
Wood Discs

Stuffed Animals
Speakers (to add a stereo)

Step 2: Drawing Your Car (or Printing a Plan)

Draw out the side and front  view of the car you would like to build.  Or you can do like I did, and just google search for and image you can use.  I find it helps to add .dwg or .dxf to your search query.

Draw or print your drawing so that the wheels are about the size of a jam jar 3-4".

If you printed your plans out, reassemble the pages and attach them to a board or table to make them easier to work with.

Step 3: Make the Axles and Wheels

Use the jar as a form to make the wheels as described in the photos.  Once the axle is completely formed add the inter tube rubber. 

I used rolls of electrical tape for my tires.  They happened to be 3" so I formed my wire hubs to fit snuggly inside the cardboard roll.  A drop of super glue ads a layer of insurance to make sure they will not come off. 

Chido used toilet tank gaskets for the tires of his caddi.  He wrapped them in the thin lashing wire to hold them on. 

Step 4: Wire Bending Techniques

I find that it's easier to start with a straight wire than one that is still coiled up.

Step 5:

Leave the loops for the wheels a bit loose.  This will allow your axles to spin even if they're not perfectly straight.

Step 6: Creating the Body and Adding Details

Step 7: Steering Wheel Push Stick

The S bend at the end of the steering push stick allows you to turn the vehicle left and right.  It also allows you to hook on and pull the vehicle in reverse.

Step 8: Examples of Completed Wire Cars

Here is a video of a wire car Chido found on youtube. It has an extreme amount of detail. It's a perfect example of what is obtainable with just wire, time and a ton of practice.

Step 9: Credits

Thanks to Chido Johnson for putting the pdf together and introducing me to this project. 
More information about the Detroit wire car cruise can be found here:

This was my first instructable.  I hope it's an enjoyable project for anyone who takes it on. 

If you're interested in seeing my other work you can find it here:

Thank you,

*Photo notes stopped working so I will return to add tips and descriptions at a later time. Also formatting on step 8 is off. If any one knows what's happening there please message me so that I may fix it. 
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