There has been an ongoing discussion forum about repairing the handwheels from member Gushee's 1924 Walter. The wheels control the midship scraper plow (not currently on the truck). The wheels were first thought to be wooden but proved to be more of a bakelite, traditional steering wheel type material. We are working toward a wooden replacement wheel and the following photos explain our progress. I'm hopeful that getting this beyond the discussion forum and onto this page we will get more helpful advise.
The wheels originally had a wire centered bakelite ring. One problem now is that some of the end clips are missing and we are entertaining an idea to secure the spokes to the new wooden ring. Photos below.
This shows how the spokes are bent but should be readily straightened. We are sure that the spoke material is weldable and member ChipAustin is talking about TIG welding the replacement outer ring to the spokes. Yet to be determined is whether the ring is a plasma cut piece or flat stock steel formed into the circle. The following are two sketches of a proposal to secure the ring to the center.
Any thoughts about this would be greatly appreciated. The thread is alive and well in the discussion forum section.
I spent some time on my mockup today. The following pics show the progress. This mock-up is not quite to size but will provide good practice for the real thing.
Five sided blank for the five spoked hub.
Jig for turning the circular wheel tops and bottoms.
Adjustable center for the three different radius's required for making the wheel halves. One for ID, one for OD and one to cut the center to accomodate the welded steel ring.
Work continues on cutting the mockup.
Photo of cutting the inside diameter of the mock-up.
I changed the radius adjustment from original design- it was too difficult to make adjustments as you had to take the whole thing apart.
Making the final cut for the outside diameter- I did it in three passes.
Mock-up ring. This one is @18" OD and 16 1/2 ID, only practice and not to needed dimensions.
Poor photo of the finger joint. Five of these on the top half will be off set from the bottom joints for strength. Additional work will include establishing final thickness (@ 5/8" each), round-over (1/2" Rad) on both inside and outside diameters, cutting for the welded ring, hand fitting the five spokes to both top and bottom and some sort of process for the finger grips.
Latest sketch for handwheel includes some positive notes and some so-so's. Dimension of the ring could be 1/2" wide by 3/16" (or something close to that). Not much wider for sure but the thickness just might match available material. This does support the idea of fancy brass or stainless screws around the ring with the flat ring centered in the wood. Having the ring on edge not so much of a benefit for this. Actual wood will be hardwood (cherry or oak I suppose) and not the pine used for the mock-up. BillCutting and welding the rings to the spokes
Here are the two new rings that will be welded to the old spokes.
These rings were cut using a CNC waterjet, technically an abrasivejet.
A waterjet uses pure water at up yo 60,000 psi. to cut softer materials like foam or plastic.
An abrasivejet adds a cutting material to the water such as garnet to cut through hard material like steel and stainless steel.
The rings are 3/16" mild steel and 3/8"wide.
Cutting on a waterjet enabled us to keep the material cool to prevent any warping.
The CNC stands for "computer numeric control". The operator programed the information into the computer and the waterjet cut two identical rings that are so perfect no deburring or grinding is neccassary
The spokes are straightened and welded to the rings.
I took a chance and welded them with my mig welder because I don`t have a tig welder.
I was very careful to position the spokes in a consistent position around the ring and to get the ring centered on the hub.
I used a very low setting and skipped around a lot to avoid warping the rings.
Look at the handwheel that is face down on the table, no gaps any where.
These units are very rigid.
Next step I will sandblast them to prepare for coating.
Walnut is now the wood of choice. A long time ago I got a deal on some walnut. The problem at the time was that it was not clear, but had knots. I always knew a job would come along where I could use some of it as short pieces. This is 5/8" but will be finished to 9/16" to give a final thickness of 1 1/8". I'm still thinking the wheel will be 1 1/4" wide. The ID and OD will be adjusted so that the flat ring runs pretty much down the center to insure that the fasteners run thru the ring.