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Reply with quote  #1 

Am working on a monster truck and wanted to share how I have created the wheels.  I saw a similar approach to making the wheels on YouTube or Pinterest and thought I would give it a try.  The results are pretty good but the method was very time consuming.  The tread on the wheels is surprisingly strong, but I'm thinking about modifying the approach for the next one that I build.  This approach could be used to create tires for tractors, loaders, etc.

I started off by creating 2 3/4" wheel blanks from 3/4" poplar, with a 3/8 hole in the center for a dowel-axle.  I cut them out with the band saw and then put them on the lathe so I could "true" them up.  There were 8 wheel blanks in all, since I wanted the wheels to be extra wide like they are on the monster trucks.



When I started making the wheels, I didn't have a drill chuck for the lathe, so I had to make an improvised jig.


After making them true, I put layout lines on the wheels to break them into eight equal parts.  I set the layout lines up on a piece of scrap hardboard and drilled 1/8" holes for marking.  I put a 3/8" hole in the center to help line up the wheel center when using the jig.


I marked each wheel blank using the jig and then used a center finder to layout lines as shown below.


The end result looks like this:

Next, I transferred each line onto the side of each wheel blank so I could use it as an index mark on the groove cutting jig that I created.  The jig was created from scraps of 3/4" plywood, with the wheel set at a 45 degree angle.  I created a left and right jig so I could cut the grooves on each side of the wheel.  Since each wheel is created from two blanks, there is a left and a right blank.


The jig is designed to be used with a cross-cut sled on the table saw so that a 1/8" groove is cut in the wheel.  I lined up the index marks on the side of the wheel with the index mark on the jig.  Once the first cut was made, I rotated the wheel to the next index mark and cut again.  I repeated this process until all cuts were completed.


After cutting each blank, the wheel comes together as shown below:

Next, I went back to the lathe to create the hubs for the wheels.  I created identical hubs on the left and right side of each wheel.


I glued and clamped the left and right side of each wheel together and let them dry.  I used a piece of 3/8" dowel to align the centers of each side of the wheel.  Once the clamps were in place, I removed the dowel.



Next, I cut 1/8" pine strips to go into the grooves in each wheel.  The strips were cut with a 45 degree angle on one end and were a little long so I could sand them flush with the wheel once done.


The strips were glued in and after the glue dried, I went back to the lathe to sand them down to the final shape and dimension.  I used a caliper to make sure the finished wheels were the same diameter.


The picture above is what I ended up with.  A lot of time to create them, but I think they turned out pretty good for the first try.  I wouldn't create these wheels for toys that are intended for larger production runs, but I think they'll be nice for a model or toy intended for an older child.

When I make the next set, I'm going to increase the diameter of the wheel blanks and use the jigs to cut grooves that will result in raised tread similar to the end product here.  If it works out, then the wheels would be less time consuming to make and probably more durable.

Miriam Janssen

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Reply with quote  #2 
Wow, this is great! The result is beautiful!
Thanks for sharing it.

- Miriam -

Wood is made of trees

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Reply with quote  #3 
Very informative, can't wait to see them installed.

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Reply with quote  #4 
Great work.

If you made a lot of these you would get faster as you figured out more efficient methods of making them. My first Hot Rod Freaky Fords took me several days to make 4. The last time I made them I was making a custom order. Since I was already cutting the 2x4 I decided to make as many cars as I could out of it. I made eight in about 6 hours.

I thought you were done before you added the pine strips. I would have stopped right there. If I were making a toy the splines would make it harder to roll and I suspect they would break fairly easy. If I were making a model that would sit on a shelf ....

A router with a v groove or corebox bit could be used to give it a different look.

You could design the cutting jig so that it indexes off the first cut on a pin that way you would not need to draw all the layout lines.

OK, I need to stop. Your post has generated a flood of ideas and I really need to do something else. Thanks for your post and taking the time to stop and take photos while you work. They pretty much tell the story on their own.

Advanced techniques are the basics perfectly applied.
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Posts: 122
Reply with quote  #5 
Good looking tires. While time consuming,I am sure they will make the toy stand out
john lewman

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thanks for the super tutorial on making large treaded wood toy wheels. I am impressed and have found this extremely useful. I would love to see a post about the actual wood toy project that these will be applied to.

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Posts: 179
Reply with quote  #7 
Thank you all for the replies!  One of the things that I love about this forum is the ideas and additional techniques that we learn from each other as we post about the things that we're making.

BadBob: I'm intrigued about your idea of having a pin in the jig to eliminate the need for the index marks.  If I understand correctly, I would drill actual holes on the back side of the blank using the hardboard template that I created and then slide the pin into those holes from the back side of the jig face.  Is that what you were thinking?

BTW...this will definitely be one of those "sit on the shelf" toys.  I won't go as far as calling it a model since the end result will be far less quality that what real modelers make, but the person that I'm making it for won't care.  He's is physically an adult but, due to some illnesses in his early childhood, has limited mental capacity.  He has a book case of treasures and was excited to add a set of the Fat Fendered Freaky Fords at Christmas.  His mom said that monster trucks are one of his favorite things so I thought I would have a go at creating a somewhat realistic one for him.  I'll post pictures of the final product.

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Posts: 191
Reply with quote  #8 
Excellent looking wheels Jason, and although they must have been VERY time-consuming, no doubt worth if for a model or toy for an older child. I'd be interested to see any ideas you come up with to streamline the build process, and also to hear if you've tried BadBob's idea.

Thanks for posting.


Kind regards


Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #9 
Es ce que vous avez un plan complet de votre camion monstre si oui es ce possible de l'avoir svp???

Posts: 122
Reply with quote  #10 
Great tutorial on making tires, please ensure you post pics of the tractor they are going on
phantom scroller

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Reply with quote  #11 
Fantastic looking wheels and a great tutorial.[thumb]
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