Making wheels...

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Silvan:
OK, this is going to sound like blasphemy to some, but after trying several ways to make wheels (all of which were successful, but just too time consuming) I just buy them in bags of a hundred or five hundred now.... They come in a bunch of sizes, and you just can't make them for anywhere near the cost you can buy them. They are more expensive if you go to the local craft shop and buy a package of 4 or 8, but still, it's hard to beat. You can use ordinary dowels for the axles (and glue the dowels to the holes in the wheels) or you can buy axle pegs, and glue the pegs to holes in the body of the car you are making. Axle pegs are slightly undersize for the holes in the wheels, and tend to look pretty good too. A bonus is that wheels are available in a rounded style or a flat, treaded style. (Most hobby shops only stock the rounded cross section). The "treaded" style looks particularly good on trucks. The rounded style looks good on most automotive and train cars.
Before I quit making them, I got really good at making them from pine using a holesaw, belt sander and router. If you insist on using this method, use a sharp holesaw (they're good for a hundred or two wheels or so before they get dull) and cut halfway through. Flip the board over and cut the wheel free from the other side. Grab the wheel (that is now sticking halfway out of the holesaw) with a pair of "channel lock" pliers and "unscrew" it from the pilot bit. A quick touch on the belt sander takes care of any rib down the center of the wheel. Next, on to the router, where I routed a smooth edge on the wheels. Set up the router in a router table, with a 1/4 inch quarter round bit (with ball bearing pilot) and a guard around the bit that has a cutout slightly larger diameter than the wheel, and about half of the circumference of the wheel "covered" such that you can slide the wheel into the half round guide/guard and rotate the wheel without danger of getting your fingers near the bit. I used a cover made of plexiglass over about half of the "opening" so it was pretty difficult to get your fingers into the bit unless you stuck them in without a wheel in place. Rotate the wheel against the rotation of the router bit a little over one full turn, flip over and repeat. It makes for a decent looking, but plain wheel, and without much danger of nipping fingers. Of course, once you've made a couple of hundred wheels of any size this way, if you have a choice you will buy them next time, unless you are just plain stubborn about making it all yourself.
If you are making steam engines, you will need to drill holes all the way through the body and glue wheels to dowel axles if you want to have a link between the two (or more) drivers on each side. The trick to getting them to work is to put the driver link on one side with the driver link towards the bottom of the two drivers, and on the opposite side near the center line of the two drivers. (you want them 90 degrees "out of phase" so as the driver link on one side nears the center line of the wheels, the link on the other side will be at either the top or bottom of it's arc, thereby preventing the wheels from turning in opposite directions. (if the links are in exactly the same locations on both sides, as the links come to the same horizontal plane as the axles, it is possible to turn the wheels in opposite directions for a few degrees, thereby locking both axles...) It's easier to demonstrate or draw than it is to explain, I suppose.
Good Luck --Rick
Silvan wrote:

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I also buy wheels. Don't own a lathe and consider it the only machine too dangerous to have in the shop. Might be because I haven't used one. I've found decent prices buying them in bulk at Howee's online. Not sure of the URL and I'm not an interested party other than suggesting a place that provides decent service with decent prices.
Thomas
Rick Frazier wrote:

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A Vertilathe will solve your problem. You can turn 4 wheels with one set up and finish to exact dimensions. Check my web site below.
George http://vertilathe.freeyellow.com
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I am gonna take a leap of faith and assume your takeing about the brio size wooden trains try useing a wooden plug cutter in a peice of hardwood set up the drill press so the plug cutter does not cut all the way through the peice of scrap your useing let him cut the holes like cutting out cookies after he has made as many holes as he can in one peice of wood run it through the table saw on edge with the plug holes to the out side so they fall away from the blade as you cut them
nother way is to take a peice of square stock the size of wheel you want use a quater round over bit on all four sides to make a round dowell then cut out yuor wheels like salami you can get plug cutters up to 1" through almost any woodworking catlog
On Sun, 07 Sep 2003 01:21:42 -0400, Silvan

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WALT K wrote:

Plug cutters... Now there's one I didn't think of. I even _have_ some plug cutters somewhere. Probably none big enough to fill this bill, but it's definitely an idea.
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snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com wrote in message

I'll second that. My lathe will make more sawdust, more quickly and with less effort than any other tool in my shop :-)
-Chris
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snipped-for-privacy@fairfax.com wrote:

I can definitely imagine, based on the excuses I've been making to keep doing more and more dowel turnings in the drill press. I think I could waste a lot of time indeed, but space is a pretty big problem. I'll just about have to come up with something that I can knock down and store in a corner when I'm not using it.
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Jack-of-all-trades - JOAT wrote:

Could work if I replaced my work bench with it maybe. Here's a crappy ASCII drawing of my shop:
+----------------------------------------+ +@@@ |||||||||||||||| oooooooooooo + +@ A |||||||| D ||||| ooooo E oooo + +@@@ oooooooooooo + + %%%%%%% =============== + + %%%%% B ============= F + +XXXXXXXXX ||||||||| + +XXXXXXXXX ||||||||| + +XXXXXXXXX ||||||| G + +XXXXXXXXX ||||||||| + +XXXXXXXXX ||||||||| + +XXXXXXX C @@@@@@@ + +XXXXXXXXX @@@@@ H + +XXXXXXXXX OOOOO + +XXXXXXXXX OOO I + +XXXXXXXXX OOOOO /-\ + + \-/J + +----------------------------------------+
A - DRILL PRESS JIGS/BENCH GRINDER B - DRILL PRESS C - WORKBENCH D - MULTIPURPOSE TOOL CABINET/SHELVES E - WOOD STORAGE F - METAL-CUTTING BANDSAW G - TABLE SAW H - BELT SANDER/JIG STORAGE I - ROUTER TABLE J - SHOP VAC
There's about 1' of dead space just inside the door to the left, and there's another 1' of dead space in the back left corner. The wood storage E uses space that is pretty impractical to utilize for any other purpose due to having to trip over the two saws to get to it, and it's basically a 25" TV box full of cutoffs. I have some pegs with extension chords, spare bandsaw blades and other crap hanging over the box.
There's dead space behind the TS, but only because I have to allow enough room to rip the usual 24" boards. To rip anything longer, I have to pull it out more. Sometimes I have to carry it out into the yard. Crosscuts are similarly limited by the saw and sander on either side. It's not a shop for building dressers, that's for sure.
To use the horizontal bandsaw, I have to shove the TS against the wall, and if I want to cut off more than 24" I have to drag the heavy damn thing out into the yard.
The router table can be used where it stands for small stuff, but again, if I'm working on anything large it has to go to the middle, or out into the yard.
The Shop Vac has enough hose that it can pretty much reach everywhere in the shop without having to be dragged out of its corner. I have it there because the door leaks sometimes during driving rain, and it's less likely to be damaged by a little rain than anything else in there.
There just ain't room for any kind of lathe unless it sits on my workbench, but even then I have the problem of figuring out where to put the thing when I need to use the workbench for something. The shelf under the workbench is already at capacity, with storage for miscellaneous metal scrap, and all my portable power tools.
Methinks I really should build a bigger shop before I even contemplate a wood-cutting bandsaw, planer, jointer, or any other largeish tools, but I might just squeeze a benchtop mini lathe into this mess somehow.
(I could do the vertilathe thing, or build one, but my drill press is my favorite tool, and it's the only machine I own that doesn't lack for something. I want to keep it happy, and I think it will be happier if I don't try to force it to double as a lathe.)
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Thu, Sep 11, 2003, 2:29am snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net (Silvan) says: Could work if I replaced my work bench with it maybe. I wouldn't recomment that.
Here's a crappy ASCII drawing <snip>
Correct.
There's about 1' of dead space <snip>
Close, but the footprint of the lathe stand (shop-made) is a bit more than one foot I would say, didn't measure it.
The router table can be used where it stands for small stuff, <snip>
Hmm, mine is mounted on the senond shelf down, right where I can sit on a chair and use it. I've had no problem putting thru things up to about 4'. 'Course I don't use a fence, and use a flush trim pattern bit, with would probably make that possible.
The Shop Vac <snip>
Shop Vac? Shop Vac? Something like a broom with a power cord, is it? LOL
There just ain't room for any kind of lathe unless it sits on my workbench, but even then I have the problem of figuring out where to put the thing when I need to use the workbench for something. <snip>
I have seen something somewhere, about a lathe that goes down into a bench, sorta like a sewmachine table does. Shop-made, not commercial. Seems I also saw one that swings down from the ceiling too. And, of course, can't remember where I saw either. Probably google could help.
Methinks I really should build a bigger shop <snip>
Tell me about it.
(I could do the vertilathe thing, <snip>
Personally, I don't see it. You can always make a small lathe, and clamp it down when you want to use it. I have posted plans for at least a couple of small lathes. One of them has each end separate, so you can put them close or far apart. Not indusrial strength, but good for small projects. And, of course, a bowl lathe wouldn't be difficult to make, and takes up a lot less space than a regular lathe. But, if you make your own, you can make it any size you want.
I have my lathe shoved against a shelf, and have to pull it out when I use it. But, with my table top thing, that makes up for the room it takes, so nothing is actually lost. I don't use it a lot, but definitely wouldn't want to have to give it up. A lathe is loads of fun, whether you actually make something, or just put a chunk of wood in, and just start turning.
You might want to check with the guys over in news:rec.crafts.woodturning too. In fact, one of them had this in a post. Just what you need. http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber173
JOAT Some is good, more is better, too much is just enough.
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT Web Page Update 9 Sep 2003. Some tunes I like. http://community-2.webtv.net/Jakofalltrades/SOMETUNESILIKE /
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Jack-of-all-trades - JOAT wrote:

Hey, I never said I was an artist. :)

I'd imagine it is.

Hmmm... Shelf is an interesting idea. Using space vertically.

Mine has had the same roundover bit in it forever. I don't use a fence either, because the fence is all but impossible to set accurately. I should make myself a new fence for that thing some day.

It's like a broom that puts everything you sweep straight into a dustpan. They're really amazing inventions, JOAT.

Hmmm... That's a thought. That or easier would be to build a second shelf under the workbench. Same result. Better use of vertical space under there.

Ceiling's not an option. I'm 5'9", and I have 6' ceilings out there. I don't hit my head on the shop lights, but just about everyone who has ever toured my shop has done so. I guess there's something to be said for being vertically challenged. Means I get to use the space overhead for lumber storage.
Hmmm... Actually, the overhead thing is two sheets of 3/4" plywood. Most of my stuff stays on the front sheet, and the space at the very back of the overhead rack is usually wasted, since I can't get up there to get anything out of it without a lot of painful contortions. I could do your sewing machine deal backwards. Have it pull up into the ceiling. Maybe come down with flip down legs that can be locked out.
Except for the shop lights... That would be a problem.
Damn. Well, back to the workbench idea.

I have most of a treadmill and my neighbor's old TV antenna pole. I'm thinking I could mount two ends on the pole and do it so that it comes apart quickly. Problem is threading the pipe. Might be simpler just to buy a pre-threaded length somewhere. I don't want to use the workbench surface as an integral part of the lathe because it isn't flat. It's one of those kits from Lowe's. Yeah, I know, I know.

I can well imagine. I got my first taste of turning trying to make a smoke stack for a small wooden train by chucking a dowel into my DP and shaping it with a rasp. I used up the whole dowel by the time I was done. Now I have to make a _lot_ of little wooden locomotives in order to use them all. :)

Hmmm... $40? I can almost afford to spare myself the trouble of building one out of this junk.
Almost. It would be better to spend the $40, at such time as I have it, toward buying one of those Veritas honing angle guide thingies though. Plus it's probably $40 + at least $11 to ship it, plus whatever I have to pay to buy a money order. Then there's the whole matter of waiting for that arduous process to complete itself. Life sure was easier when I could just chaaaaaaarge it. But I did. A lot. And so now I'm broke.
<sigh>
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Thu, Sep 11, 2003, 1:57am snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net (Silvan) says: No, it's usually the Christians who give heathens a bad name. At least, they're the ones who are most vocal about it in this corner of the world.
Really? Hmm, I had figured you were a heathen, and by not being devout, was making the devout heathens look bad. Hmm, do I need to rethink all this?
Hmm, nope. My original conclusion is correct. You've ticked the Woodworking Gods off. Damn Christian.
ROTFLMAO
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