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Author Topic: Spoked wheels method  (Read 2003 times)
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Pete Fardell
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« on: August 19, 2013, 12:55:13 PM »

Rather than completing one of the few projects I've currently got in the pipeline I thought I'd better start a new one (in case I start getting a reputation for actually finishing what I've started).
I'm going to do this 1917 Cessna Comet, for rubber power and 27" wingspan. The hardest bit, I reckon, will be the spoked wheels. So I decided to make them first to get them out of the way. I'm quite pleased with the way they've turned out so here is a quick run down of how I made them.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2013, 01:07:52 PM »

The wheels needed to be just over 2" in diameter. I actually had some Czech-made ones of about the right size, but the tyres are too narrow and, worse, they're metal and weigh more than 8 grams each.
So I looked at the various methods described on here and elsewhere with an eye to getting a few ideas how to start. One thing I noticed is that most of the methods tend to make the spoked hub first and then add the tyre at the end. If the tyre is made of tubing, then it must surely be quite heavy, so I decided to try and make a normal wheel with a balsa tyre and only then get rid of the solid hub ready for spoking.
First I marked out two wheels on ply, with the tyre and rim and segmented into spokes. Then I drilled a little hole at each spoke point on the rim.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2013, 01:09:42 PM »

Next I cut balsa rings for the tyres, and also smaller discs for the central hubs.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2013, 01:11:57 PM »

Before putting the wheel together I cut round the inside of the rim, but only part way through. This was just to make it easier to cut it out completely later.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2013, 01:13:10 PM »

I glued the parts together, making sure the layers of balsa were at crossed grains.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2013, 01:14:06 PM »

Then sanded to shape on a drill in the normal way, having glued in the centre tube first with epoxy.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2013, 01:19:10 PM »

Next I made a dead vertical post and put the wheel over it. I used the drill bit itself for the post.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2013, 01:22:15 PM »

Then I built a jig up under the wheel using scrap balsa. This method saves any accurate measuring because the wheel is already held in the right place by the central post. I'm not very good at accurate measuring anyway.

I also added paper tubes to the axle to beef up the width a bit.
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« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 01:54:17 PM by Pete Fardell » Logged
Pete Fardell
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2013, 01:23:59 PM »

Then I took the wheel off the jig, cut out the middle and put it back on the jig again. The axle goes back over the centre post as before.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2013, 01:29:57 PM »

This is my guide for the threading of the spokes. It uses just one length of thread, starting on the underside in the centre, The orange lines are the underneath spokes (as it sits on the jig) and the green ones are the top ones. I just followed the numbers doing a loop of the hub on the way to each hole.
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« Last Edit: August 19, 2013, 02:53:12 PM by Pete Fardell » Logged
Pete Fardell
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 01:33:32 PM »

I painted the rims and hub before preceding. Then I numbered the wheel to match the guide and cut a needle down to about half an inch in a bid to make it easier to manoeuvre. Even so, it was impossible to get it to go up through the holes from underneath. In the end I had to keep taking the wheel off the jig, but it still stayed quite true so long as I always put it back on for the 'down-strokes'. Hope that makes sense. I held the thread in place with dabs of CA as I went along.
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 01:43:24 PM »

Once the spokes were all done and tied off, I finished the tyres with sanded dope and acyclic colour. Then, finally, I cut off the excess axle stubs. They weigh about 2.3g each. They should probably have been nearer 2g each but I got a bit carried away with the acrylic paint and gave the tyres three coats instead of one, trying to get just the right shade of off-white. Anyway, they're done and I'm rather chuffed with them. Just got the rest of the plane to make now!
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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 01:57:02 PM »

Very nice work Pete...

Andrew
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Monz
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 02:12:22 PM »

Awesome tutorial Pete, thanks for sharing Smiley
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 02:12:32 PM »

Cool...!

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tross
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 02:35:35 PM »

That's a very nice method Pete!
It's got a very Vintage Look to it! Smiley
I may have to give that one a go. Grin
Thanks.


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Instructions: Step One...Assemble the pile of sticks shown in pic "A" to look like the model airplane shown in pic "B"........
Pete Fardell
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2013, 04:53:57 PM »

Thanks for the kind words! I still think there is an even easier variation of this method waiting for my, or someone else's brain to discover it. If only the spokes could be threaded BEFORE the plywood circle was removed then it would dispense with the need for a jig altogether and make the threading process a doddle. Perhaps the answer would be to cut the ply circle out in all but 3 or 4 points and then do the spokes before carefully cutting it completely free . Of course you'd still then have to get the loose disc out from the middle of the finished wheel, but you could probably just gradually demolish it by working small scissors between the spokes. I might try that next time.

(Or I could use ice instead of plywood and just let it melt away!)
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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2013, 05:33:30 PM »

Quote
(Or I could use ice instead of plywood and just let it melt away!)

Did you see Robert Pajas's method? (possibly posted on SFA) He melted away foam with thinners as I remember.

I have developed a different way that relies on fairly extensive jigging .... I was hoping to make these a 'production item' at one stage, but I still have a few problems to crack  Undecided
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piecost
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« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2013, 08:24:40 PM »

Nice method Pete,

I had a go at spoked wheels for my Aerographics Jenny. I employed a chemi etched rim out of 5 thou brass, formed into a semi-circular cross section on the inside of a plastic curtain ring. A couple of etched disks with elliptic holes took 0.25mm carbon spokes. It sounds very impressive until I admit that they are not very round! (I was hoping that the balsa tires would force them into shape. I kind of lost heart and didn't finish and paint them very well.

The bottom of the picture shows part of the chemi etch art work
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2013, 09:14:55 PM »

They look round enough to me. Very nice, and the rims are a more authentic shape than mine.

Russ, I missed Robert Pajas's method, but bet they were beautifully done. Dissolving foam sounds like a pretty good plan (if you don't mind a few poisonous fumes of course!)
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yagua
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« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2013, 09:13:15 AM »

I REALLY like it!!!! nice and simple tutorial!!!  Grin
I was thinking about your post on a easier variation: How about setting all threads with the wheel outside the jig (in the air), with the end loose? then putting it back to the jig, tightening the spokes carefully while puting them up and down the central hub and glue them in place? just an idea...  Undecided of course, it´ll force you to put another jig under the central hub, in order to keep it high enough in the righ place... (¿it´s me, or I´m just adding more complications??? Tongue)
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« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2013, 09:42:10 AM »

Since there appears to be a lot of interest in this topic, I thought I'd post a pic of the Acme Uneeda Wire Wheel Dohickey.  Plans, procedures, etc. in the gallery.  This approach wastes a lot of (cheap!) thread, but offers the advantage of giving lots of room to make even very small wheels (the smallese I've made are about 5/8" in diameter, but there's no real reason why I couldn't go smaller; the largest this particular dohickey will make is 3" in diameter).
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2013, 11:55:58 AM »

How about setting all threads with the wheel outside the jig (in the air), with the end loose? then putting it back to the jig, tightening the spokes carefully while puting them up and down the central hub and glue them in place? just an idea...  Undecided of course, it´ll force you to put another jig under the central hub, in order to keep it high enough in the righ place... (¿it´s me, or I´m just adding more complications??? Tongue)

I like your thinking and reckon that could well work (or it could possibly turn into one of those jobs where all your fingers have suddenly turned into fat thumbs!  Grin)
I like the look of the spoking gizmo too.
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« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2013, 01:19:30 PM »

Out of all the techniques I've seen this is my particular favorite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk5e8bs9Sac
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Pete Fardell
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« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2013, 01:37:43 PM »

I saw that and agree- it's a very nice method. The wine corks bit was especially inspired (although it does still rely on tyres being added at the end).
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