Making scale model wooden spoked wheels
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greenie

Here's a bit about making wooden spoked wheels for your models.

 

There are 3 ways that I can make a wooden spoked wheel for a model, 1st method - using wooden fellies,  2nd method - using acrylic fellies,  3rd method - using laminated strips to make the fellies.

The  1st method wastes a lot of expensive timber and I got sick and tired of chucking all this money away, so I needed another method that did not cost as much. Start with any of the 3 books by John Thompson on making model horse drawn vehicles. Each booklet has a section on how he makes his wheels. This involves making up 'cake slices' out of timber, gluing all these slices together to form a rough circle. Then once the glue is dry, cut the fellies out using a lathe. OK, it does work, it wastes a lot of timber and the glued fellie sections have a terrible habit of breaking apart at the worst possible moment, very frustrating when you are trying to fit the spider into the fellies. Most times I just had to start again. I have made a lot of wheels for my models using this 1st method, but after many frustrating hours re-making bits, I decided I needed another safer and easier way of making the fellies.

The 2nd method was born out of desperation to save bucks and time, it worked far in excess of any expectations that I had first envisaged, B-O-N-U-S.  Instead of making the cake slices from timber, I now use a bit of acrylic that cost me 'sweet eff aye', ever heard of dumpster diving, that's going around to a joint after hours and diving into the rubbish bin and ratting the said bin for usable bits of acrylic. Works like a charm and it only costs me the petrol to get where I want to be. Got adventurous one day and decided to ask for these golden scraps, the fellas at the bin were actually very glad to offload any and ALL bits of their rubbish that I required, bigger B-O-N-U-S, eh. I  now just grab whatever thickness acrylic sheet I require from the scrap bits I have, cut them real rough on the band saw then shove them into a jig I made for the lathe and hey presto, real easily made fellies and lots stronger then the wooden cake slices. Now the obvious question arises about now, " it aint as  what the original wheels would have been made from ? ", ---  BIG DEAL, --- once painted who knows what's under that coating of jam, eh.  So go have a look at the finished wheels on that 16 Passenger Omnibus and show me where you can see any acrylic showing.

The 3rd method was sort of "well, I'll suck it and see what happens", it worked eventually, once I had ironed out a few bugs and use it any time I need too. Start with strips of timber that a kitchen cabinet maker uses to cover the edge of the bench top he is making, you can buy this stripped timber in big 50mtr rolls, looks like the first roll is going to last me at least a decade there's that much of it. I just use PVA glue wiped onto one surface with a finger and slap the next strip on top of the first strip, keep adding as many strips as I need and whilst the glue is still wet, take these strips and place them on a jig. The jig has been made to whatever shape I require, wrap these glued strips around the jig and then get a ratchet strap, you know the ones that are used for holding down a load on a car trailer. Tighten down the ratchet strap until it's about to be shredded. Leave it overnight and allow the glue to set, take it out the next day and lay the laminated strips out so the sun can bake the PVA glue hard. Cut with whatever saw you need to use on this lot and it works a treat.

 

I have tried to upload a lot of photo's showing just how the acrylic fellie is made and the wheel assembled, the photo hosting site had a fit when I went to upload them, so I'll just leave them all in my FaceBook page, bugger the photo hosting sites, eh.

For those that want to have a stickybeak at this lot, will have to part with their first born and hand them over to Mark Zukerberg. Every photo has an explanation to it, so it's easy to follow, any question please ask.

 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/965313566821742/permalink/2020965034589918/

 

 

 

Edited by greenie
misspelt words

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greenie

Method  1 --   Here's a pic of what's left after you've cut out the fellies from the glued up cake slices, big waste of timber, eh, so that's why I went over to using acrylic fellies.

IMGP1585.JPG

 

 

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greenie

And here's method 3 showing the two piece fellies that were made by the lamination process.

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WeekendMiniaturist

<Wow>  Thanks for the info about making the wheels...I can see the layers of lamination in the wheels.  What are the little brass tabs on the back side of the wheel pictured directly above?  I do not see any acrylic bits in your 16 passenger horse drawn vehicle...I have no idea how to paint acrylic though and am puzzled and find your success inspiring.  Did you turn everything on a unimat 3?  I used dear husband's fb page to view your FB link... I could not see the FB link when I was surfing the web at lunch today at work.

Did you index the wheels to drill for the wheels "spokes"?  Are they called spokes in a wooden wheel, brain is not recalling that detail right now.  I want to make a simple indexing jig for my taig lathe; I will have to study husband's indexing jig on his floor model lathe.   I suspect my indexing jig is going to be the first DIY fixture.

 

 

 

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greenie

Those little brass tabs as you call them, are actually small 12BA nuts that are screwed onto some very small countersunk 12BA screws, that hold that rolled brass 'U' channel onto the two piece fellie. The brass 'U' channel will eventually hold the hydraulic  'O' ring, that I used for the rubber tyres on this particular set of wheels.

All those photos in that F/B site were taken as I was making the 4 wheels for the 16 Passenger Omnibus.

Painting acrylic is the same as painting anything, it takes paint exactly the same as a bit of polystyrene, or wood, just spray on a light undercoat to give a constant colour and something for the top coat to adhere to, once dry, hit it with whatever colour top coat you want, easy peasy, eh.

What you can see in the F/B photos is whatever lathe or mill I used, Unimat for the small stuff, MaximatV10P for all the other bigger stuff and I have a el-cheapo chink mill, attached to the Maximat, so it's been converted into a two in one machine.

All bits that have to be indexed are done with the el-cheapo mill and I do use a diving head for these operations, gets everything in the exact place.

 

If you are going to make an indexing jig, then here's a few photo's of what I have rigged up for my mighty midget Unimat 3 system, you can see what bits were required in the first photo ---------

1st photo, so a few measurements and these bits were made.

2nd  photo shows them attached to the 'mighty midget'.

3rd  photo shows the business end and how I made it all work out.

The Unimat has a post that the mill/drill attaches onto the rear of the lathe bed, so took that of and screwed it onto the carriage, this now enables the drill to be positioned exactly in the centre of the chuck and what ever distance is required away from the front of the chuck.

Instant Indexing jig with multiples of hole sequences for all different combinations that I regularly used, it can be easily positioned for the drill bit to get the exact position required, then just start using it.

OK, this set-up may not work with whatever lathe you have, but just think outside the square and you will eventually come up with something simple and easy to operate.

IMGP1762.JPG

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greenie

Photo 2 -- just screwed the dividing wheel onto where the drive pulley should be attached, then screwed the arm into another hole that another attachment should go. It's all very secure and it holds really tight when I'm abusing something, with either a milling cutter or just drilling.

IMGP1767.JPG

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greenie

Photo 3 -  I made up a thing-a-me-bob that would hold a drill that I had, it has a lot more guts than the wimpy little 1/3rd HP motor that Unimat uses, just add the big drill and away you go, heaps of power instantly at hand. The only drawback with using this sized drill is the noise it creates and being that close to your ears, WOW deafening.

IMGP0427.JPG

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Bill Hudson

I, just recently somewhere on the internet, saw your tutorial on making a wheel from scratch starting with making the nave from square stock, inserting the brass boxes etc. and showing jigs and fixtures for drilling and assembly of the wheel and fellies. Have not been able to find it again. It was a very informative tutorial. 

Bill

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WeekendMiniaturist

Greenie, of the three methods, which did you settle on that you liked the best for your fellies? I am guessing the perspex is your favorite?  I was able to see the Facebook tutorial, it is most informative. I understand the need for the elongated holes for the spokes but how did you do this so consistently with your mill?  I can set up my unimat DB/SL as a mill, but I don't understand the need for a lot of power to drill into the naves.  Bill H, had suggested a cannon as a beginner project in turning metals, and the unimat group had blessed me with suggestions from popular mechanics magazine article...so I am most interested in this type of wheel.

A great modification to make your unimat 3 mill useful for your application. 

I also like the arm attachment for your indexing accessory.  Is this arm attachment made from aluminum and you reshaped it?  Yesterday at lunchtime I checked out husband's floor model lathe, and if he has an indexing accessory for the lathe, I can't find it; he only has a face plate mounted, so at present time, I don't have anything to refer to.  I understand how to re-shape steel and iron, but don't understand how to reshape aluminum unless I mill it.  I checked out Nick Carter's links for indexing jigs.  I like your jig,  I can't imagine indexing anything for more than the coveted 16 spoke wheels that I want to make - oh, perhaps a bicycle wheel has a lot more spokes?  I don't think I will ever scratch build a car or a bike or have a need to create a beautiful spoked wheel as illustrated in my Gerald Wingrove book.

I had ordered 4 mm key steel for my unimat from the UK,  when I misplaced my chuck key, I will see if I can find a similar diameter square stock in the US.

I will also check out the John Thompson books.

 

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greenie

The Dividing head is mounted onto the lathe carriage, very simple to get the exact length of each milled slot. Notice the dial gauge showing just on the bottom of the picture, that's being used as a simple readout for measuring each cut with the mill, think a POOR mans "digital readout" for the lathe.

Power for the mighty midget was required when attacking a pieces of -- steel -- not recommended for everyday work on a Uni 3.

The normal 1/3HP motor on the Uni3 will do for most stuff, but steel is a vastly different animal to brass, wood,ally or acrylic.

That arm was cut from a sheet of ally at work, used a big band saw and then ground of the rough edges.

Do a google search for "dividing attachments", there is a plethora of ideas out there, do not become fixated on just ONE design, check out others designs before deciding which one will be OK to make for your machine. I just used the holes that were already tapped into my lathe, this meant I did not have to bugger anything, just screw bits onto the lathe.

4mm key steel should be freely available all over the states, any machinery supplies type of place should stock it, or if the supplier is a 'stubborn old coot' and refuses to stock any metric items, just ask if they stock any 5/32 key steel and buy a stick of that.

Do a conversion of 5/32" to find out how big it is in metric, remember that there are only TWO measurement systems in this world, - METRIC and  MONGREL. Grew up as a kid learning that MONGREL system in school, then when I started working, the METRIC system was shoved down our throats by the government. After using Metric now for the best part of 50yrs, got to admit that the government of the day was correct.

Got me beat why you lot are so stubbornly hanging onto that mongrel abortion, when the rest of the world has turned metric.

Lots of books by John Thompson available at AbeBooks.

Making Model Horse Drawn Vehicles

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&amp;an=john+thompson&amp;tn=model+horse+drawn&amp;kn=&amp;isbn=&amp;sortby=93

Making Model Gypsy Caravans

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&amp;an=john+thompson&amp;tn=making+model+gypsy+caravans&amp;kn=&amp;isbn=&amp;sortby=93

Carts, Carriages and Caravans.

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?cm_sp=SearchF-_-NullResults-_-Results&amp;kn=john+thompson%2C+carts+carriages+and+caravans

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

Thanks for these great answers to my questions.  A band saw and aluminum, now we are talking my language, I can manage that one at least.  I have a band saw that is supposed to cut metals too, but I've never tried, and it is just little desktop model, though.   I just realized this recently.  It does come equipped to use coolant, but I haven't cut any metals on it so far.  Crazy that so far, when I cut brass I have been cutting it with my jewelers saw, or sending it to work with my husband as they have a metal cut off in their woodworking shop.... (that was a surprise revelation that day, he had a 5/8" solid brass rod waiting for him on the kitchen counter the next day with instructions.) 

I have never seen the large chuck and the little chuck used in combination before.  It looks just like my 3 jaw chuck for my unimat.  This is a great picture for me, who enjoys scale miniatures, we need just one more 1/12th scale 3 jaw chuck to complete the series.  <grin>  Of all my chucks, I'm really fond of the uni chucks - they are very smooth and easy to use.  

My theory is that all of America's industry has to change its machinery to metric, it is a daunting task to move 325 million people to a new system of measurement.  The manufacturers have to stop making things using imperial measurements, and imperial nuts and bolts to assemble.   Old tooling would have to be replaced, and old skilled workers have to learn new systems.  I have never worked in a large factory, but it would be an interesting conversation.  I can imagine lines of production coming to a stop because workers made a mistake in the conversion.   In some instances shops are so automated; perhaps it doesn't really make a difference.    I think todays jewelry artists in the US may be more open to metric, I do find less resistance to metric when I have conversations with people in this field.

My unimat opened my brain to metric better then anything that I learned as a youngster in school, but it does require I have a metric set and imperial set of wrench(s) for my tooling, and I use the conversions of metric to imperial frequently.   I am using a unimat tool post on my taig lathe, and that nut is metric and I need one separate wrench.... I just told my husband I was borrowing his set to find out what size it is, so I can get find one to live permanently with my tools.

I like the poor man's DRO, this is another topic that I need to study as it would help me improve my machining precision efforts.

Some of our Miniature instructors teach in metric, which is fine with me, as long as I know what to bring to class... I don't have metric dial calipers, I only have digital calipers that switch between metric and imperial... but I prefer my dial calipers.  I imagine it is just a brain issue.  If you are a native English speaker and living in France, and speak French daily, do you think in English or French?  I imagine that I would think in English as it is my native language, so my theory is that I will always think in imperial measurements because I was brought up in this system and never really forced to change.  If I live to 100, I wonder if America will change to metric by that time.  I am just glad that my old brain has let me learn to turn on a lathe in my native measuring system.

What really amazes me is that our metric miniaturists still make miniatures in 1/12th scale, where in my brain it would be more logical to make things in 1/10th scale in metric.

I am not too worried about my indexing fixture, as I know I frequently end up making things in three(s).  It usually takes me at least three attempts to fine tune and figure out what I need, or to get the desired results.   I have a second lathe, so I can experiment and not mess up the one that I know is working.  I have adopted a philosophy of experimenting in a controlled manner, so the lathe that I know is fine is not used for my 'ideas'.

And historically a "kings foot" is funny to me, what happened when you got a new king?  Ok enough pondering... I'm off to put a few stiches in my petit point rug!

This was a most informative and fortunate post for our forum!  I know I will refer to it again!  Thanks for all the resources and Q & A!

 

 

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Bill Hudson

Thanks Greenie.  I first thought I was going bonkers because I could not find it again. This is very well done and if some one can not build wheels after reading it they should find a different kind project to work on. 

Bill

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Bill Hudson

Tamra,

You will need two index wheels. One for 14 spoke(rear wheels) and one for 12 (front wheels). If you are going for light buggies a 16 hole divider. 

B

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greenie

A Unimat lathe, be it the DB or the U3, have there own dividing system developed by Unimat for each particular lathe, you can buy these dividing systems from the evil-one. Think Nick Carter even sells a dividing system for the Taig as well, so if ones available and you can afford it, why re-invent the wheel ?

The reason I made up that system for my Unimat U3, was I could not afford the one for the U3, I had 3 daughters still at home and growing fast, they cost the earth to look after, so extra bits for my shed were a no-no, so just had to make my own.

 

U3

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Vintage-Boxed-EMCO-UNIMAT-3-Indexing-Dividing-Attachment-Accessory-Old-Tool/142890911938?hash=item2144f648c2%3Ag%3Au-oAAOSwzZFbYe3d&amp;LH_PrefLoc=2&amp;_sacat=0&amp;_nkw=Unimat+&amp;_from=R40&amp;rt=nc&amp;LH_TitleDesc=0|0

 

Taig

http://www.mechanicalphilosopher.com/kbindex.html

 

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greenie

Tamara, a very cheap, accurate and simple method --  instead of Digital Readouts.

 

The black magnetic base, acquired from the eveil-one, would have to be at least 40 yrs old, this is the way things were done before the Digital age.

 

 

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ElgaKoster

Well there is a big difference in size between 1/12 and 1/10 scale and since most people have 1/12 scale houses and roomboxes as a maker I wouldn't have a market for 1/10 scale furniture as it would be too big to put in 1/12 scale settings. Interestingly most of the antique British baby houses and furniture were made in about 1/10 scale.

I do teach in metric at Guild School especially since the Proxxon mill is graduated in metric. So far all of my students were happy with that and most at the end of the week say that is easier to work in metric.

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Mesouth

I can attest to that, Elga!

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greenie

Amazing that those who are shown how to work with METRIC,  just find it so much easier.

Seems to be a problem at the government level about implementing Metric, must be somebody who has a special interest ( think making lots of money ) by keeping that antiquated MONGREL measurement.

The stupid thing is the the American Dollar is pure metric, 100 cents per dollar, 100 centimeters per metre, even use the same abbreviation - CENT - wow, how close is that, eh ?

Even the old mongrel inch has been metricated, think 1000 thousands of an inch marked on a Micrometer, even use that word METER again.

 

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ElgaKoster

I say to my students if they can count up to ten they can work in metric. And yes I laugh about the digital inches that some people use for all their very fine work, you are counting in tens, hundreds and thousands!

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Bill Hudson

I've spent the last 70+ years thinking in inches and feet.  See no reason to try to change now. ;)

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WeekendMiniaturist

My Unimat DB-200 that is really an SL model, you have to count the spokes in the indexing accessory, and they are captive where you cannot see them.... and seeing is believing for me.  I guess I can mark the back side of the 'gear' before I put it inside of the accessory attachment (as they are interchangeable and I think I have 3 different options)  - this is the largest reason for wanting to make my own attachment for the Taig.   The indexing divider the Unimat 3 is much improved vs. its earlier editions.  I like the markings on the U3 accessory, and wonder if I can incorporate them in my drawing.

I think multiple rows would be the best option for me would be 12,14,16,24.  I will try and see if I can create a drawing of my concept, and order some aluminum.  I need to consider the amount of indexing required for a miniature column before I machine this - I will look at the columns and bedposts in Chippendale's book first.  For furniture purposes I think 3,6,8 would be standard indexing requirements, and 12, 14, 16 for wheels at Bill H's recommendation.  

 

 

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Bill Hudson

I modified my Unimat indexer so I can see the gear.  I disassembled the indexer and drilled a 1/4" hole through the housing face right at the index pin.  That makes the gear teeth and index pin visible. I use a marker to mark the start tooth and each succeeding spoke hole. Unfortunately the UM indexer does not have a gear divisible by 7.  I had to make my own to fit. 

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WeekendMiniaturist

I think my vectric software allows me to create gears.  Thanks Bill H for the solution to my problem on the Unimat.  I did not consider altering the indexer.  

I will add make a gear divisible by 7, to my list of cool things to make for the unimat.  The first on my list is the 16 spoke wheel, and if my memory is still in tact, I believe I already have the 48 (tooth) gear, and it is divisible by 3 and results in 16, so I should be able to drill the 16 holes into the hub and the wheel's frame.  (Please forgive me, I may not have all the wheel terminology committed to my brain, as I study, get distracted by trying to finish something and then I study again... )

Greenie, I found my Tony Jeffree book this morning and he does have info on using dial indicators in the chapter checking alignment.

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