Burrell Steering Wheel

Creating the Burrell steering wheel was a fun make to get me back into the project. I’ve had some time out on other projects and a sort of hiatus as I generated more drive for this tiny traction engine. Hence, whilst waiting for material for the cylinder I worked on making the small 22mm diameter steering wheel.

roughed out steering wheel

This was machined from a piece of 1 inch round brass stock.

I turned the outer diameter down to 22mm and then formed the first part of the rim using the special tool shown below.

Then I moved to the mill and rotary table to cut the voids to form the 6 spokes. This was all done using a 2mm diameter slot drill.

case hardened tool for brass

I made a special lathe tool to allow me to turn the rim of the wheel. I made this tool from mild steel and then case hardened the end. This makes it easy to create the form in the mild steel before hardening.

I used a 3mm diameter end mill to create the half round cutting form.

machining the back of the steering wheel

The centre of the wheel was tapped 8BA. I also tapped the centre of the remaining brass stock. This allowed me to bolt the wheel back onto the bar stock after parting it off.

This then shows me turning the centre recess and boss on the wheel.

I then used the 3mm half-round lathe tool to finish the rim form.

I filed the spokes and used a small emery cloth strap to round each off in turn. Once this was done I then tumbled the wheel for an hour.

Burrell steering wheel
This wheel is quite small, but it needs to be strong enough to work.

Steering Wheel Speed Handle

On a traction engine you have to turn the wheel quite a few times from full lock left to right. This means that they normally have a speed handle / knob located on the rim of the wheel for fast action.

The steering knob was made from 2mm round brass stock. It is approximately 6mm long. The pin that goes through the rim and secures it is just 1mm in diameter. I slightly countersunk the hole through the rim on the reverse side. This allowed me to peen over the pin to secure it. I then just lightly sanded and polished this area.

The speed handle doesn’t rotate as it would on a fullsize wheel, but this will be a light finger touch to operate.

Burrell steering wheel
Finished 22mm diameter steering wheel.

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