“There’s no denying it, Al. This one is outrageously simple and horrendously frustrating. But hopefully some may think the results worth the effort. It is not for those who have a tendency to beat the cat when things fall apart. It is for those who like to ‘fiddle’ (I might have phrased that better). While experimenting, I had a number of disasters but, fortunately, have the patience of the gods and the cat is in good health.
The photos are self-explanatory but here are some instructions, born out of experience, for those who would like them –
1. Unbend the paper clips to form triangles – so that the ends meet. Important that they match perfectly so lay them one on top of the other to make sure (Figs 3 and 4) Superglue the join.
2. With wire cutters or pliers, cut your three cross members (from other paper clips) – 2 cm long – match them up too (Fig 5).
3. Glue two to the base of an upright (Fig 6). Helps to use tweezers to handle them. Leave for a good old while.
WARNING – Despite its claims and its addiction to people’s fingers, superglue doesn’t care much for metal – but will do the job in the end. Before gluing it helps to scratch your proposed joint with a craft knife or similar and make sure you apply tiny drops to both surfaces – hold the joint in place while it settles and LEAVE IT. I learned this the hard way. Even after hours, your joint will still be fragile so handle with care during the construction – learned this the hard way too. I never use the grotty, clogged up applicators supplied with superglue – pour a little into one of those blue plastic milk bottle tops (which I save in their thousands for this and paint jobs) – apply with a matchstick. And I buy cheap superglue in packs from Pound (99 cent) shops.
4. Glue the cross members to the base of the other upright (Fig 7) – make sure all is straight and vertical – helps to put a matchbox or suchlike next to the upright while it sets – to keep it straight. LEAVE IT!
5. Turn your structure upside down and carefully glue in the top cross member (Fig 8). Hold down with a finger and LEAVE IT! Have a double whisky and leave the whole thing overnight.
6. When you awake, remember it is still very fragile. Apply superglue to all the joints, quite generously and … you guessed it … LEAVE IT!. When all has hardened you can gently scrape off excess with a craft knife – but it paints over okay. The structure will never be incredibly strong so handle carefully while working on it.
7. The two suspending chains to the seat of the swing were an unforeseen problem. Thread just flicked all over the place and wouldn’t hang. Fuse wire wouldn’t straighten. The solution was to run a length of thread through a blob of PVA adhesive – then through my fingers to saturate it. It dried nice and straight and firm. Cut the lengths of thread. You need generous lengths – trim off excess when all is done. Tie a knot at one end of each thread. The knot will slot in UNDER the seat.
For the single swing mark each length 3 cm from the knot – the length of the drop.
For the multiple swings mark off 2.5 cm (I’m assuming a standard size paper clip – mine were 3 cm – top to bottom).
DO NOT CUT OFF EXCESS UNTIL COMPLETELY FINISHED.
8. I always keep a couple of OO gauge people close by while I’m making stuff – maintains a sense of scale. Cut out your swing seat from a sheet of that free plastic substance known as chilled food container (pictured). Should be just wider than an OO gauge bum. You can use a piece of plastic sheeting as a base too if you wish. Cut two TINY nicks in the centre of each end of the seat. You can slot your thread into these – the knot under the seat. Glue the ends of the thread underneath the seat.
9. At the top rail, wind your thread round the bar at the mark – suspending the two threads from the upright. Glue parallel to hold them (Fig 9).
– The Toothbrush Test – Place a toothbrush (or similar) on the swing seat (Fig 10). You can check how parallel your seat is. Bit of wiggling at the top rail will sort out small inaccuracies. Apply a little more PVA to the thread – will help straighten and hold.
– OO gauge feet should just clear the ground. You may find that, when you put a person on the seat, he turns upside down with his feet in the air! Just glue his feet to the base (Fig 11).
– When you’re happy – cut off the excess.
10. Paint and admire. Have a double whisky.
The row of swings (Fig 12) was actually easier to make than the single – same process. A length of plastic sheet (free – see above) joins it at the base – and a length of old Hornby rail at the top (you could use wood – anything). When you’ve completed it – well worth while mixing up a little two-tube epoxy glue, spread it right across the UNDERSIDE of the base – so that the bottom lengths of the uprights set in it like rock. Really strong then.
This is the first structure intended for what I’m calling PAPERCLIP PARK. More to follow if you can bear it. And yes – I know – the Park Keeper would have kicked those adults off the swings and fined them – but I didn’t have any OO gauge children for the prototype. Will get some when I make another.
Best wishes to all.
(NEXT TIME – THE ROUNDABOUT FOR ‘PAPERCLIP PARK’)
Wow! A big thank you to Roger for sending in this ‘how to’. Impressive stuff!
Latest ‘ebay cheat sheet’ is here. Thank you for all the comments.