I responded recently to a post from someone looking for help assembling the Photoetched wire wheels from a Model Factory Hiro kit. I didn't hear back from the original poster but had an opportunity to assemble another set of wheels from a 1:24 MFH 1952 Ferrari 500 F2 that I'm currently trying to build. I thought I'd take a few photos and put together a brief tutorial in the hope that it might be useful. Always interested to hear feedback if you have any. Thanks!
Assembling Model Factory Hiro Wire Wheels.
- Photoetch wheel element sheets
- Billet aluminium wheel hubs (3 parts for each wheel: casing, spacer and back rim)
- Turned wheel hub (1 per wheel)
- Scalpel/Exacto knife
- Dremel with sanding stone or coarse/fine wet and dry paper
- White spirit/degreaser + cloth
- Cutting mat (For greater excitement use your mum's favourite piece of furniture instead)
- Heavy book or other weight
Please Note: This tutorial details how to assemble a rear wheel assembly. For front wheels the assembly sequence is very slightly different but the principles are the same.
Because the sheets of Photoetch for the wheel assemblies are so fragile, my first recommendation is to split them in two so that you're only working on one wheel at a time. This also helps prevent you from mixing up the elements of the wheel inadvertently. Once you've separated the Photoetch sheets, select the one for the wheel you wish to assemble and store the others safely. Notice that each wheel is made up of 6 spoke assemblies which will be layered to provide a 3 dimensional wheel rim once assembled. Notice too that there are 3 different styles of assembly, with two of each style: one where the spokes twist from left to right and one when the spokes twist from right to left. We'll refer to the assemblies by number later in the guide so be sure to note their numbers.
Now we need to remove the six spoke assemblies from the Photoetch sheet. Put the sheet on a cutting mat and use the Exacto knife to carefully cut through the spurs holding the spoke assemblies to the sheet. Take care not to twist or bend the spoke assemblies while you do this. Once you've removed all siz elements, discard the empty Photoetch sheet.
In order to ensure that the spoke assemblies can fit securely into the wheel rim you'll need to remove the sharp spurs from the spoke assemblies. You can do this with wet and dry paper but a Dremel with sanding stone makes light work of these. As always, take it easy with the Dremel - it's easy to be too rough and damage the spoke assembly.
You can see the difference below of a spoke assembly that has been sanded to remove the spur versus one that hasn't.
Now locate spoke assemblies 1 and 2 from the original sheet. These are identical to one another apart from the lean of the spokes: left to right versus right to left. You will notice that each spoke assembly has a notch cut out of the outer rim. We will align these to ensure that the spoke configuration is correct when we assemble the wheel.
Start by placing assembly number 2 on the table and placing assembly 1 on top of it.
Align assemblies 1 and 2 with each other being sure to align the notches with one another.
Compare the upper and lower faces of this configuration and you'll probably notice that one side appears more shiny than the other. This is as a result of the Photoetching process. Place this assembly shiny-side-down on the table.
You shouldn't need to use any glue at this stage but if you find that later in the tutorial the spke assemblies are getting out of alignment you can track back to this stage and place a TINY drop of superglue on the outside edge of these assemblies so that they are permanently joined in this configuration.
Place the largest of the wheel rim sections (the wheel casing) face down on the table with the wider opening facing upwards. If you wish, you can use a soft pencil and a ruler to carefully make a vertical line that can be used to align the spoke notches against.
Carefully place assemblies 1 and 2 into the casing with the shiniest side facing downwards.
Place the wheel hub into the centre opening in assemblies 1 and 2 with the screw thread pointing upwards. You do not need to apply any glue.
Edited by mad_dr, 22 January 2012 - 11:16 AM.