LIGHTWEIGHT WHEELS FOR SMALL SCALE MODELS

PETER RAKE describes how he makes wheels for his WWI style models

Left. A complete set of components for a set of wheels. Not a bad ideas to make up a kit like this before final assembly




Right. The ply and balsa hub, pegged and left to set

This article was prompted by letters from various readers requesting more information in support of some of my planes. I feel it is only fair to admit there is nothing new involved. All of the techniques employed are frequently used for many of the older free-flight scale models. However since not everyone came into the hobby via that route, the ideas may well be new to some.

It often surprises me to realise that many modellers are completely mystified by things that are 'old hat' to those who have been in the hobby for several years. We seem to take certain techniques for granted without appreciating that it may be many years since an idea was last published, and that whole generations of modellers are unaware of it.

So by way of trying to make up for that, here is how I go about producing scale-like wheels for my small electric powered WWI models. I do hasten to add that the wheels are only scale-like, not 100% accurate. But, since my models tend to fall into the practical sport scale category anyway, this is not a problem.

Begin the construction of each wheel by cutting out two 1/32" ply discs to

slightly more than the wheel size, (less the tyre).

Now cut a disc of 1/8" balsa which is itself 1/8" less diameter than the ply discs.

This will form the core of the wheel and should be securely glued between the ply discs with its grain at ninety dgrees to that of the ply (see Fig. 1).

If each disc is accurately drilled through its centre, they may be assembled onto a piece of brass tube which will assist with accurate alignment. Make sure that you use the same size brass tube that you will be using as an axle bearing, or you could end up with slop problems later on. As can be seen from Fig. 2 this assembly provides a rim for the tyre to seat on.

Onto this assembly we then epoxy glue a drilled recatangle of 1/8" plywood to provide a more firm and stable mounting for the axle tube.

I would not recommend using Cyano for this job, as it dries too brittle and is likely to fracture. I'll leave you to work out how I discovered that!.

Epoxy a short length of brass tube into the centre of the hub so that it protrudes about 1/32" either side and we have the hardest part finished. (Fig. 3).

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