Marshalling Post

Marshalling post with 2 marshals

While watching motor sport on the television I noticed at some circuits the Marshals had little structures to stand in to raise them off the ground to get a better view of the circuit and some protection from the weather. Some of the more modern circuits have marshalling posts that offer a lot of protection from flying bits of car, but I am aiming for a slightly older look to my circuit so I came up with a design for a simple post I could build from inexpensive materials.

The cheapest material used was some empty tin cans that used to contain food. Do not select a can with a rounded bottom. This makes the tin stackable, but it is much harder to safely cut the bottom off.

Unsuitable tin can with round edged bottom
Cutting the top off the tin

If the end has a rim (like the top of a can) it can be removed easily and safely with a tin opener to leave a nice straight and level edge. The tin opener I have is designed so that the top of the can comes off whole and is held by the tin opener so that it can be thrown in the bin without touching it with your fingers. This is an advantage when the tin contains food and you don't want to cut yourself. It is less important when the can is clean and you are going to cut the can up further anyway.

The weld line can be used as a straight line when cutting the can open. The aim then is to open the can out and try and flatten it. This is not easy. If you are not careful the can will kink. The can cannot be flattened in a vice as this will also crush the ripples on the can which make it look like corrugated iron.

Weld line on can
Flattened tin with marking out lines

I found the best way to make the tin can was with a permanent pen intended for use marking acetate sheet on an overhead projector. Modern offices do presentations with a computer and a light pro so these are not as common as they used to be.

I initially tried cutting the tin can with tin snips (on the left), but they did not cut the last bit cleanly, or at all sometimes. I then found that the tough scissors (on the right) cut the thin metal much better.

Tin snips and tough scissors

Having built a prototype "freehand" I decided to draw a template for the proper one (or many more as it is re-usable). It has both sides on the same template e.g. a mirror image of each other, so each side can be made with the same side (inside) facing up.

I chose to make the small tower from bamboo skewers intended for barbequing. The real marshal posts like this are usually made using steel scaffolding poles, but the wooden look doesn't look to bad. The skewers are easy to cut with a razor saw and the ends should be cleaned up with a file or sandpaper.

Pack of bamboo skewers
Pencil mark on wooden board

Instead of marking out each post with a rule or tape, measure one mark onto your block of wood, then transfer the measurement onto each post after lining up the skewer with the end of the wooden block.

Hold the posts down with Blu-Tack before gluing them together with hot glue using the hot glue gun.

Skewers held on template with Blu-Tack
Small square checking the sides on template

Once you have built the sides flat, lift them of the template and line the bottom of each up with the template again. I made sure they were vertical using a square. I then added the cross members.

The marshalling post can be strengthened using 'planks' made from balsa wood. It also gives the track marshals something to stand on. They are protected from the weather using the corrugated iron panels I made earlier, glued on with the hot glue gun.

Finished post with wooden floor
2 marshals watching for an incident

Then all you need are some marshals to watch over your circuit.

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