This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
By JOHN D. ADAMS
There are two simple processes that every experimenter should master: soldering and riveting. The large soldering copper will find only a very restricted use with the amateur on account not only of its clumsiness, but of the fact that it requires a fire, which is often impracticable to obtain. The experimenter should therefore construct a small alcohol lamp, which, after a little experience, will reveal the following advantages: It may be brought into instant use at any place; it will make a more perfect connection; with a small blowpipe places may be reached that are entirely inaccessible to the large iron; several small pieces may be set in position and soldered without disturbing them, which is quite impossible with the large iron.
Ill: A Small Torch Made of a Penholder is Handy to Use in Soldering Electrical Apparatus
To make such a lamp, procure a small wide-mouthed bottle so that very little alcohol will be necessary and the lamp may be tipped at any desired angle. A short piece of seamless brass tubing should be procured, or, preferably, one of those capped brass cylinders for holding pencil leads, the button of which should be sawn off and the cap used to keep the alcohol from evaporating. A good, sound cork is next in order, and in cutting the central hole, use the brass tube, which should be sharpened around the lower end. Proceed with a rotary motion, and a clean core will be removed. If an ordinary lamp wick is not at hand, soft cotton string may be bundled up as a substitute. Such a lamp is safe, odorless and will not blacken the work in the least as in the case of kerosene or gasoline.
There are many good soldering fluxes on the market, but that obtained by dissolving as much scrap of zinc as possible in muriatic acid will solder practically everything that may be necessary, provided, of course, the surfaces are filed or scraped bright. Wire solder is usually the most convenient, as small pieces can be readily cut off and placed directly on the work where required. A small blowpipe is often a valuable adjunct, as it makes possible a long, narrow flame that may be directed in almost any direction.
Where numerous small connections are to be made, as is often the case with electrical apparatus, the small torch illustrated will be found very convenient. It is simply an old penholder with the wood portion shortened somewhat and the metal end filed off square and cleaned out. This is then filled with wicking, and it is only necessary to dip it in alcohol in order to soak up enough to solder an ordinary connection.
The second simple process, of which many fail to appreciate the usefulness in experimental work, is that of riveting - particularly when done on a small scale. Very often the material in hand is tempered steel and cannot, therefore, be soldered to advantage, or it may be a case where subsequent heating makes a heat-proof connection imperative. Then, again, the joint may require the combined strength of both solder and rivet.
When properly set, the strength of the ordinary brass pin, when used as a rivet, is quite great. Should the work require a particularly soft rivet, it is only necessary to hold the pin for a moment in the flame of a match. A somewhat larger and stronger rivet may be made by softening and cutting to the required length the small flat-headed nails used in making cigar boxes. The ordinary shingle nail is also of a suitable shape after the burrs have been filed off under the head.
In setting: these small rivets, it is absolutely necessary that they closely fit the holes, as at A, otherwise the result will be as indicated at B in the sketch. Be careful not to leave too great a length for rounding over on the metal. This extra length should approximately equal the diameter of the rivet and must be filed flat on the top before riveting. In case of pins, it will be found easier to cut them off to the proper length after they are inserted. Use the smallest hammer available, striking many light blows rather than a few heavy ones.
Ill: A Few Joints Where Rivets are Used to Hold the Parts Solidly Together