Monday, December 13, 2010

making wheels

metal circles are really useful, but how do you make them?
for wheels, bike rims...

Anyway, I'm thinking of this again, because I recently visited Haystack Observatory, and they have this giant metal circular track that's bent railroad track. [edit: and by giant I mean 50'+ diameter GIANT) And because of imperfections in the circle which come from bending railroad track, the concrete is actually cracked as the antennae rotates. Is that the state-of-the-art of giant metal circle making?

1. Maker Faire NYC:
giant 5 ft wheels: apparently they just picked the rim up as trash from electrical work around the city

2. Mars's Pennyfarthing:
which sits rider-less at MITERS because he miscalculate and his legs won't reach the pedals-
apparently, there was round table of the right-ish diameter (3 feet?), so he just took the ?steel? and literally rolled it with his hands...


3. Bend some conduit? They... probably wouldn't stand up to use though, if you can bend them that easily.

4. Plastic instead of metal -- melt plastic bags and form as appropriate (Star has this up on Instructables somewhere)

Would metal casting work? For small wheels, I guess there's no reason why not.
Make induction furnace to melt aluminum (Josh is building this). Pink styrofoam insulation cut out in the shape of a wheel with a bit sticking out. Sand to bury the styrofoam except for a small bit. Pour Al, melt styrofoam to nothingness.

The internets hold few answers.

Machine 'em: some amazing model train wheels here:
(details here:

The English wheel threw me for a bit, but it's more for planar curved surfaces, not rims:
(see pics here:

anyway, I should stop punting (aughhh 2.005, I just want to throw in the towel and fail the final and go on my merry way.... >.<) (is it a hub motor? O.o)

[edit 16 dec 2010 -- yay finals punting] Well, yike bike's hubless so it's clearly not a hubmotor ^^;
Also, page 25 on this guide says custom wheels can be made with "three plates: Two outer flanges, one (or more) slightly smaller middle."

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