I decided to make a biscuit cutter in the shape of a cricket. Seemed like a good idea at the time! A cricket since my little Austin 7 special is called the Cricket (a joke on the Austin 7 Grasshoppers). The only one I could find on-line was this one on Etsy which doesn’t look very cricket like to me. I was to discover why. It’s bloody hard to do a cricket shape in silhouette!
I searched on-line for some I could copy with no luck. I tried drawing my own, also with no luck. In the end I just grabbed a piece of printer paper and some scissors and simply cut out bits that weren’t cricket shaped until I had something close. I had to trim some bits off then stick them back on in other places but in the end I got this:
Not too bad! With a little imagination.
Next I needed some metal suitable to recycle to make the cutter. I decided to use a large 5 litre mini beer keg I had left over. It was a special release for some rugby game or something last year.
Now these little kegs are interesting. They are pressurised and have a tap on the top. When you open the tap the beer comes out. Was real imported beer too so not too bad for a lager.
I had to cut the can open so I hacksawed a slot into it then cut off the top. Inside it was a surprise. Instead of being a simple pressurised can there is a fancy gas pressurising system inside them.
Glued to the inside of the base of the can is an aerosol can. The sort of thing you get lighter butane gas in. On top of that was a plastic apparatus.
The plastic top of the cannister pops off revealing a small metal bracket on the nozzle of the cannister.
The plastic thing turns out to be a piston and cylinder. The piston pushes down on the metal clip opening the nozzle on the cannister letting gas out of it.
I had assumed at first that cylinder contained a spring since if you pressed down piston the cylinder it would then pop back out. On taking it apart however I found it was simply a sealed cylinder and the piston has an o-ring seal to make it air tight.
I cut the top off the cannister (it was empty of gas) and found that inside it was full of black pellets (that look like mouse poo).
Despite what some people think of the taste of Heineken I suspect it isn’t actually mouse poo but instead pellets of charcoal.
What I think happens is the piston and cylinder act as a valve to keep the pressure inside the keg at a constant. When the pressure drops the piston pushes on the cannister nozzle releasing more gas – CO2 I guess.
Anyway, with the keg dissected I wrapped some tape around it in a long strip so I could cut out the metal I needed. From the paper pattern I knew approximately the strip needed to be. I had to wrap around the tin about twice.
With the strip cut out I used a hammer to flatten it then trimmed up the edged with a straight edge.
I marked down from one edge to give me a fold line then using some angle iron clamped to the bench folded that over to 90 degrees. I then hammered the rest of it down flat. This stiffens the strip and provides a safe top edge to press down on.
I then simply bent the strip by hand for the smooth curves to the paper pattern. For the straight bends I used my welding pliers as a small metal folder.
With the metal folded to the pattern (more or less) I traced around it on some paper and cut it out to see how it looked.
With that looking mostly like my original cut-out I continued on.
I made a small insert to make the cut-out of the rear leg. This is simply another piece of strip but cut so that the part holding it to the outside of the cutter is cut away so that doesn’t cut the biscuit dough. This was held in place with pop rivets. These same rivets hold the ends of the cutter strip together too.
To test the cutter is used some Play Doh. Not having a proper rolling pin I used the nearest handy roller shaped thing – a 37mm Chinese artillery shell. I cut it out and poked a pen in it to make an eye! The edges are a bit jagged since I didn’t want to press down too hard on my wooden table top. The thin (0.26mm) metal actually cuts quite cleanly with a bit of pressure without it being sharp or dangerous.
I am not sure it is really cricket shaped but it is something. I can’t bake so I can’t test it properly myself. I need to find someone who can bake and can ice well (I think suitable icing will help A LOT) to really test it out for me. If only I knew someone suitable.