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Old 01-10-2013, 03:34 AM   #1
CNY_Dave
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Default Making wheel axles

Anyone have a good method to make their own wheel axles?

The type where the aluminum strut comes down, and a small bolt bolts in with a stub axle sticking out.

Like this-


My lathe isn't set up yet, so I'd be using music wire of the axle diameter and threading it (seems sketchy) or maybe using a short bolt drilled lengthwise with the wire inserted into the hole and held captive with sleeve retainer, solder, etc.

Anyone braze something clever together or such?

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:03 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by CNY_Dave View Post
Anyone have a good method to make their own wheel axles?

The type where the aluminum strut comes down, and a small bolt bolts in with a stub axle sticking out.

Like this-


My lathe isn't set up yet, so I'd be using music wire of the axle diameter and threading it (seems sketchy) or maybe using a short bolt drilled lengthwise with the wire inserted into the hole and held captive with sleeve retainer, solder, etc.

Anyone braze something clever together or such?
I've got a 12 inch lathe and small milling machine in my workshop. However, doing two of these axles would take a lot of time. Especially when they can be purchased for perhaps $5.00 at the LHS.

If you'd decide to proceed, note that music wire would make good axle material. But trying to thread that stuff would be a nightmare. That music wire might take the teeth out of your taping die.

The "stud" that goes through the aluminum LG could be drilled through with a proper size number drill on your lathe. Then the music wire axle can be slid inside, and silver soldered to keep it in place. You could make the "Stud" out of a couple short 5/16 inch diameter bolts.

Brazing would be a lot stronger, but heating up the music wire to red hot conditions for brazing would likely result in a very soft piece of music wire. And throwing that project into cold water to restore hardness might turn that music wire into a piece of "Glass"!

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:20 PM   #3
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I'd just use a couple of small bolts that are the right diameter with a few locking washers or nuts. This is what has been on all of my eflight kits.
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Old 01-10-2013, 07:34 PM   #4
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Since there are already huge 3/8 inch holes in the struts, I'm leery of a small bolt with a comparatively large washer being secure enough.

The cheap side of me says to bend some music wire so it sticks through the hole where the axle bolt goes and then to secure it to the strut using 2 securing collars that have a screw with a head sticking through the strut (just the right screw length would be needed to have it grip the music wire and secure the collar to the strut, of course)

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Old 01-10-2013, 08:44 PM   #5
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I am not sure these would hold up but your initial picture reminded me of the inflator needles used to pump up balls.


I am sure the main concern would be their strength but I am sure on smaller models they might hold up.
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:52 PM   #6
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You could jam some piano wire into the tube and get a bunch more strength.

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Old 01-11-2013, 08:49 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Fig View Post
I am not sure these would hold up but your initial picture reminded me of the inflator needles used to pump up balls.


I am sure the main concern would be their strength but I am sure on smaller models they might hold up.
Those inflator needles are of course hollow and therefore very weak. They bend and break very easily.

If you have the patience I think it's great to "roll yer own". I wish I had a small metal lathe and milling machine. I'd love to make piles of expensive metal shavings! The skill and lessons learned are priceless.

My late uncle used to do stuff like that. He'd work for a couple hours to make a small dc power connector rather than go to Radio Shack and buy a 2-pack for 99 cents.
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Old 01-11-2013, 10:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Beemerider View Post

If you have the patience I think it's great to "roll yer own". I wish I had a small metal lathe and milling machine. I'd love to make piles of expensive metal shavings! The skill and lessons learned are priceless.
.
Yeah
I bought a Sherline Lathe and milling machine attachment years ago. It's not a bad lathe, but forget it if you want to machine anything over an inch in diameter. The motor drive is a DC variable speed unit, and when turning over at low RPM's that motor has no torque.

A guy at work sold me his 12 inch Craftsman metal lathe for $100 awhile back. Best purchase I EVER made!

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Old 01-11-2013, 10:36 PM   #9
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Mines a 9x20, I think. Sure doesn't look that good, though!


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Old 01-11-2013, 11:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post
A guy at work sold me his 12 inch Craftsman metal lathe for $100 awhile back. Best purchase I EVER made!
That's an incredible deal! Maybe I'll run across one in a yard sale one day.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:16 PM   #11
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Use your music/piano wire and the bolts as you suggest but maintain the wire strength by roughing the wire going into the hub (milling lightly perhaps and using the resultant interference fit with Araldite, Plastic Steel, or similar ahesive pushed into the stud then the wire,(tapped in with light fast strokes) I have never had one of these fail at the joint. If as has happened the wire has snapped you can heat up the bolt and drift out the wire from the other end (Providing the hole has gone right through in the first place. Should be simple if lathe used to drill hole) Then repeat wire milling/roughing and glueing. Ssimples.
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Old 01-11-2013, 11:16 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by CNY_Dave View Post
Mines a 9x20, I think. Sure doesn't look that good, though!

Very very nice!!
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:26 AM   #13
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I have used brushless motor shafts. They have threads & relatively cheap in packages.
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Old 01-12-2013, 01:56 AM   #14
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I haven't run across a motor shaft with threads- do you mean the bolt-on rotor-end adapter?




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Old 01-12-2013, 01:40 PM   #15
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A few of mine.


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Old 01-16-2013, 07:43 AM   #16
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Some kits of yesteryear had Piano-wire and alloy sheet gear.

The Piano-wire was bent into a single wide V with ends as axles ... so top was fastened to model underside with the alloy sheet legs, the axles then passing through the holes in leg ends as axles. So you had the cosmetics of the sheet and flex of the piano-wire.

I use Hobby Kings 2mm metal control rods for my legs / axles as they are really strong, with threaded end. I accept that in bending I am not having a single wire run - but binding two together with strong thread and then CA / epoxy sorts a centre join fine. No need for solder / fuse wire binding etc.

If I want just alloy sheet legs and axles alone - then it's bolts with alloy tube collar to provide smooth surface for wheel hub to run on.

Never had to resort to lathes etc.

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Old 01-16-2013, 04:05 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
Never had to resort to lathes etc.
Some of us are just looking for an excuse to get a lathe.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:24 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Fig View Post
Some of us are just looking for an excuse to get a lathe.
Must admit ... I have wood cutting gear .... so we all have fancy's !

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Old 01-17-2013, 03:08 PM   #19
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What I really need to set the lathe up for is to extend the prop mounting surface through the cowl, am using a bolt-on (rotor end) mount, and need to make a shaft/collar with large surfaces at the ends, but necking down in the middle.

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Old 01-19-2013, 12:41 AM   #20
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what about silver soldering or brazing tube to collar or even epoxy together? O.K. shoot me down now but worth a thought I thought . J.M.
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:50 AM   #21
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Lotsa options for the prop spacer, just needs to be balanced, concentric, faces need to be perpendicular, and it must be able to handle the compression from the prop nut.

What makes it easy to do on the lathe and maybe harder otherwise is it really should be large on the ends and a bit skinny in the middle.

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Old 01-19-2013, 12:58 AM   #22
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I always remember that Hanno Prettner, former World Aerobat champ became rep for a model tool co. with lathes, drills etc.

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Old 01-19-2013, 05:23 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ONETENOR View Post
what about silver soldering or brazing tube to collar or even epoxy together? O.K. shoot me down now but worth a thought I thought . J.M.
Silver solder is fairly strong, and can be applied with a common propane torch. Of course, you can't silver solder aluminum and similar type materials.

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Old 01-20-2013, 12:01 AM   #24
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Alumalloy is supposed to work decently for 'soldering' aluminum, I think it's mostly zinc.

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Old 01-21-2013, 02:44 PM   #25
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For years I bound with fuse wire and then ran solder over it all ... to join wire / alloy etc.

Now ? I've changed to a much easier method, which is also much easier to replace / repair.

Carpet thread .. which is STRONG ! but not too thick a gauge. I bind the aticles with that - much easier than with wire ! Then using either epoxy or CA - I flood the thread to harden / set it up.

I have a 15cc gasoline powered Biplane that has that for it's cabanes and undercarraige ... survived better than wire / solder ...

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