Can Train




Introduction: Can Train

A while ago, I came up with the idea of making a model train out of old cans. I thought it would be really cool, as it would be made of metal and be almost completely recycled. But it was not until a few years later that I actually started to develop the idea. I started to make plans, and spent hours thinking about it and improving it. However, it was not until a few months later that I actually started to build it. When I did, I gathered my materials, and started to construct my train - bit for bit. My progress was slow, being careful to do everything just as I had planned, so it took me for ever. But bit for bit, my train started to take shape. 
Basically, it is a model of a steam train, made of old cans, balsa, screws, bolts, nuts, and other parts. Besides the balsa, screws, bolts, washers, rivets, and the battery, everything I used was recycled. To add to the realism, I added a small hatch where incense, smoke pellets, or anything else that smokes can be added. I also added miniature lightbulbs that I got from Christmas decorations as headlights and a tail light. I was even thinking about adding a small electric motor that would allow the train to move, but I didn't have the wheels and gears that would be needed.

Materials used:
balsa wood
cans (without grooves)
hooks and ring hooks
8 mirror screws
wire connectors
small lightbulbs from christmas lights
small pebbles
small slide switch
sheet metal from disposable aluminium plates.
wire to connect bulbs
9V battery
large round nut
small hinge
bolts, stop nuts, and washers for wheels
screws, nuts and washers to fasten cans to base
drinking straws
small nuts
smoke pellet or incense + container
duct tape

Tools and supplies:
screw drivers
duct tape
wood glue
UHU glue
UHU metal glue
hot glue
welding iron
black acrylic paint
red sharpie
metal cutters
craft knife
hand drill

I am now thinking about adding another carriage. It would also be made of old cans and things, and probably have lights, but I don't know if it would come out well. I could also add a cargo car, on which there would be sand or tanks or something.
What do you think?



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    15 Discussions


    Looks really nice. Great job!

    That's cool..... But maybe you could actually tell us how to make it... Maybe I'm just new to the website.

    The type of cans you buy nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, for example) in usually aren't ribbed.

    I've recently noticed baby food cans are not as well. they have a much larger diameter but they should work.

    You should make little corky cowboys and Indians and make a train heist diorama thingy!!

    Looks very nice ... how did you get the polished surface - is it just by taking the can inside out? Or any other tricks?


    1 reply

    I just used smooth cans. They were cans of pumpkin seeds, but I don't know where else you might find cans with a similar surface.