Front Wheel Assembly

pair of front wheels

Rims turned, hubs machined and spokes cutout, it’s now time for the front wheel assembly. A lot of parts, some errors along the way and so time has gone into the manufacture of all of the parts, now it’s time to enjoy the assembly process.

wheel rim and a single spoke

The first step was that I pickled all of the brass spokes and hubs. This would then improve the soldering step to come later.

The rims are only 70mm in diameter and with 14 individual parts to assemble this feels a tad like jewellery.

wheel jig

I made a jig that located tight on the inside tread band of the wheel rim and has a 4mm axle through the centre.

The hub was only located on centre with the rim, but the hub could still move on the axle. Therefore allowing the 12 spokes to bring the hub to a natural aligned plane with the rim.

wheel assembly on the jig

The rim, hub and spokes were gradually assembled. The spokes were fixed to the rims using 1/16th inch steel rivets.

I added a spoke, riveted it in place and then put it back onto the jig. Once all spokes were assembled I then soldered the spokes to the hub. This was a bit of a messy finish, but the result was a very solid wheel.

hand cranked lathe

The wheels were very solid in feel once riveted and soldered. However, I still wasn’t happy about machining the hub to remove the excess solder in the lathe.

Hence, time to hand-crank the hobbymat lathe.

The machined and soldered wheel back on the jig for a final touch of solder where I missed one edge.

front wheel assembled on the jig

The front wheel assembly was a real highlight after around 20 hours of machining parts.

traction engine wheels
Four wheels for the 1/20th scale Burrell traction engine.
About Nigel 308 Articles
Have been making models since I was around 7 years old and using a lathe from the age of 11, a self taught engineer with a passion for making model engines.

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