Wooden wheels

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Forum topic by superdad posted 12-02-2009 09:52 AM 9527 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View superdad's profile


22 posts in 3138 days

12-02-2009 09:52 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question jig

I’m making some toys for christmas and I have to make a ton of wheels for all the cars and trucks. I’ve been using a hole saw to cut them and then putting them on a dowel and using my rotary tool to round the edges and give em a bit of a clean up. Then I hand sand them to make them pretty. It’s a very long process and I have to do it over and over again. Anyone have any ideas how to speed this up? I was thinking about buying the dremel router table attachment and routering the edges of the wheels to round them, but of course then I have to buy a dremel rotary tool as well(mines a knock off, but it works great). So any ideas for a jig to make this a bit easier?

-- Another one of Santa's elves, only taller.

23 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10542 posts in 3456 days

#1 posted 12-02-2009 12:14 PM

I’m going to try the same thing, even though purchased wheels are fairly cheap. I had thought of a 1/4” threaded rod chucked into the drill press. Run a nut and washer up to the top, load on as many blanks as you have room for. then, another nut and washer on the bottom. Leave enough rod at the bottom to fit in a 1/4” hole in a piece of 3/4” hardwood clamped to the table.
I planned to use a rasp held against the spinning stack of wheels. (Slow speed). A tool rest would be nice. but I haven’t figured that out yet. Possibly a smooth rod or square piece of tubing captured between a “C” shaped carriage and clamped upright next to the stack of wheels.
If the tool rest works, I’d feel OK using a sharpened screwdriver as a “lathe” tool.
Just my thoughts….

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View rustedknuckles's profile


160 posts in 3779 days

#2 posted 12-02-2009 12:28 PM

Ask Grizzman, he would know the best way.

-- Dave- New Brunswick

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3396 days

#3 posted 12-02-2009 01:13 PM

HERE is an easy plan for a mini router table from my site. can use any Dremel type tool.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 3941 days

#4 posted 12-02-2009 01:38 PM

Extending on Gene’s idea, why not actually use a lathe – put a blank between centers and turn a bunch at the same time?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10542 posts in 3456 days

#5 posted 12-02-2009 05:37 PM

Papadan, That’s a neat Dremel setup. Thanks for posting it.

Daltxguy, That would be best. But, some (few) of us don’t have a lathe.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3313 days

#6 posted 12-02-2009 05:41 PM

I’m with Steve on the lathe idea—of course that only works if you have a lathe. I did a similar process for some medallions I made. Gene’s method is very similar, only using a drill press. Don’t see why that wouldn’t work either.
Then there is the router table—or Dremel in a table. I like Dan’s design. Using the right jigs, this is also a good alternative. I ‘ve done some round work on a router table, but I’m having trouble thinking of a safe way to do a full circle. It’s easy to build a jig for a half round piece.

I guess it boils down to the equipment you have.
Maybe one of us will give you something you can use.


View bobdurnell's profile


315 posts in 3924 days

#7 posted 12-02-2009 05:53 PM

Superdad—-I know what you are going thru so I’ll put in my two cents. I use the hole saw method for making wheels also, but here is where the fun begins. The only tool (machine) I use for the rounding over step is an inflatible horzontal drum sander. I make a mandrel using a smaller wheel and glue in a 1/4” dowel that has more sticking out for my hand and the other end the wheel will spin on. I sand the spinning side of the dowel so the wheel spins freely. As the drum spins I slowly touch the wheel to the drum and the wheel will spin. By angling the mandrel to the drum material begins to get removed and the wheel is still round and the tedius and sometimes dangerous router technique is illiminated. I hope this helps. If you want some more info just leave me a message and I can explain more. bob

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View mjrhavoc's profile


8 posts in 3433 days

#8 posted 12-02-2009 07:08 PM

A couple possible solutions:
1. Buy the wheels from a local hobby shop or online supplier. On my last visit to Woodcraft I noticed they carry them. This could eliminate the monotonous task of wheel-making, affording you more time to work on the unique/creative aspects of the toys.
2. Do you have access to a lathe? You could turn wheels pretty quickly that way but still a bit of a hassle. (This is why all of us [myself included] should update our workshop pages to reflect the tools we have. If I knew what you had…
3. I decided to take a quick look through a couple toy making books I have before posting my reply. Imagine my surprise when I came across this Wooden Toy Wheel Jig in one of the books. [Scanned and uploaded to Flickr]

I started this reply last night right before heading to bed and finally finished it now almost 8 hours later. Hopefully it still proves useful. You asked for a jig so I couldn’t post without providing one, right?



-- Cameron

View MrsN's profile


986 posts in 3553 days

#9 posted 12-02-2009 08:03 PM

I have used a method similar to Gene’s by pretending my drill press is a lathe and sanding the shape as needed. Then I discovered that my local JoAnn Craft Store sold a 20 pack of wheels for 3 bucks, I decided that it was more fun to spend my time adding detail to other aspects of the cars I make and buy wheels.

View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 3266 days

#10 posted 12-02-2009 08:41 PM

How about a jig for the band saw, I think I have the plans, I’ll look for them once I get back from work.

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

View MrHudon's profile


114 posts in 3237 days

#11 posted 12-02-2009 08:57 PM

I would buy them, I just purchased some other items from these folks. Quick delivery, great prices, quality product.

-- Mark,

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3554 days

#12 posted 12-02-2009 09:02 PM

Using a rosette cutter on the drill press, do both sides and there are almost perfect wheels. Be careful to leave a little wood so the second side does not break out the wheel and send it flying. After both sides are cut, the wheels can be cut with the band saw, scroll saw or what ever and a touch up sanding to the cut.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 3266 days

#13 posted 12-02-2009 09:29 PM

Ok I got the plans for anyone to use

Band Saw Circle Jig

Have fun

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3142 days

#14 posted 12-02-2009 10:44 PM

Being a LumberJock also mening to all of the work by yourself even the tedius one`s and to be praut of the procect and in your own hart to now that you did it all the bedst way you now.
just a humble qestion and opinion from.


View highflyer's profile


35 posts in 3173 days

#15 posted 12-02-2009 11:17 PM

Just a shot in the dark, and this has probobly already been mentioned but have you thought of trying a hole saw. They make a different sizes.

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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