Photo etch steering wheel construction

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I've done some experimentation with very limited success in making a full circle race car type steering wheel in photo etch, with a resin grip. I would like to come up with a way to make the grip of the wheel out of resin, but have the grip in two separate halves that then sandwich a circular rim of the photo etched spoke section. I'm thinking of this for 1/25th, 1/16th and maybe larger scales. Any thoughts?

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Posted · Report post

That sounds like a great idea. Check out using an O-ring for the halves of the ring. Detail Master uses an O-ring as the rim in one of their wheel kits. You could also try sanding down a styrene wheel rim the size you want and using that to make the mold.Getting the halves equal so that when sandwiched could be the hard part.Maybe some fine tuning on some abrasive would be necessary. HTH

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Posted · Report post

Thanks Mike. I tried molding an O-ring, but the rubber wouldn't set up in the immediate proximity of the ring, so... LOL Up to that point in time, my thinking ran parallel to yours, mold an o-ring, sand resin castings of it down to an appropriate thickness, and voila, it's all good. Guess not! :) Your suggestion of taking a styrene wheel and sanding it down to half might be the most direct thing to try now. I truly appreciate your response. I'll try to work on that when I have time... thanks again! SP

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Posted · Report post

The o-ring material probably inhibited the rubbers cure. I was on a jewlery site one time,and thye had a tool to make rings.I'll see if there is anything worth while.

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Posted · Report post

Scott I have seen some 3 piece sport car wheel w/ photetch center. The rims are made from brass which would be perfect for casting. I try to find some and send you a link.

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Thank you, all, for your thoughts, suggestions, experience with this. I'm sure, when given the time, I'll be able to adapt one (or several) of these ideas into a usable end product... :)

Mike - My original idea had been to "mass produce" the grip, which was why I tried the O-rings. That plan obviously had some flaws. LOL

Jacen - Mike's and your suggestion about sanding down a styrene wheel was the route I was starting think I'll need to take, and that's probably what I will do in the short term. If I get into larger scales, I'm not sure if there are any suitable stand-ins of the right dimensions that would work, say, for 1/16th scale.

Len - If you run across anything let me know.

I appreciate all of your answers.

SP

Edited by futurattraction

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Posted · Report post

WOW! This is scary. I went right to it! It's little pricey though.

http://www.ottofrei....der.html?page=1

That is slick! When it comes to Cool Tools I just go crazy.

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Posted · Report post

I've done some experimentation with very limited success in making a full circle race car type steering wheel in photo etch, with a resin grip. I would like to come up with a way to make the grip of the wheel out of resin, but have the grip in two separate halves that then sandwich a circular rim of the photo etched spoke section. I'm thinking of this for 1/25th, 1/16th and maybe larger scales. Any thoughts?

Unless you are modeling a wood-rimmed steering wheel, why split the rim into halves (half round section). If you have one of the new Revell Kurtis Midget kits, check out how they engineered the PE steering wheel. It uses a one piece rim, notched on one side at 90-degrees apart, into which you put a small drop of epoxy, then lay the PE spoke section into those notches.

Open wheel race cars, since the early 1920's have used steering wheels that look very much like steering wheels of today, only the diameter and thickness of the rims will have changed.

I built, from brass, a steering wheel for my 1904 Knox Waterless truck project:

1904Knoxsteeringwheel.jpg

Of course, since this is a one-off, I simply milled the spokes/center section from sheet brass, then formed the rim in K&S brass rod, annealed (heat the brass rod to red-hot, then allow to cool, it becomes VERY soft, easily bent and formed by your fingers). This sort of wheel rim will be far more stable and sturdy than anything you make from plastic, and surely better over time than an O-ring. I bent the brass rod stock around a piece of scrap aluminum round bar stock that "looked right" to me, but a walk through the plumbing department of any home improvement store should turn up several sizes of short brass or copper pipe that will do the same thing.

I would make two brass rims, both the same size, making absolutely sure that I bent the rod stock around whatever I use for a form, so that the circular curve goes past 360-degrees. I'd remove that sort of "coil" from the form, and cut the ring with a Dremel and cutoff wheel (make the piece a bit over-length here, as it will be easier to shorten up one end of your "rim" than to stretch it if you cut it too short. Make sure to get the ends of the bent rod as true and square as you can, and once you are satisfied with two perfect circles of brass rod, solder the ends together (Stay-Bright Silver Solder works very well here). Next, carefully file and sand the joint in each ring so they are smooth and round like the rest of the rod stock.

Now, if you are insistent on making the rim split into two parts, each having a half round section, you can do that by rubbing them against fairly coarse sandpaper, until each is cut down to a half-round section. However, I would probably use the rings to make RTV molds, then cast up a few of them in resin--then carefully mark the 90-degree points where you want the spoke unit to attach, and notch those with the very smallest cutter you can find for your Dremel (hint: Ask your dentist if he has any old bits for his belt-drive dental drill laying around--many dentists have been known to save them for modelers who ask--they will be a bit dulled for dental work, but still sharp enough to work very nicely in plastics, resins, even soft metals, in my experience!).

If you mess up one of the resin rims, just cast some more, and keep trying, until you get it. The only thing left to do would be to make up, or have a PE shop make up for you, the spoke units. The notched rims that you finally come up with become your new resin masters for casting--just make molds for them, make steering wheel rims to your heart's content!

Good luck and happy scratchbuilding on this project! I will be eagerly watching to see what you come up with!

Art

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Posted · Report post

I've done some experimentation with very limited success in making a full circle race car type steering wheel in photo etch, with a resin grip. I would like to come up with a way to make the grip of the wheel out of resin, but have the grip in two separate halves that then sandwich a circular rim of the photo etched spoke section. I'm thinking of this for 1/25th, 1/16th and maybe larger scales. Any thoughts?

A split-grip rim like you describe is already being done in 1/8 scale, but the spokes are machined, not photoetched.

http://modelmotorcar...#steeringwheels

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