BadBob
   I've been putting washers behind the wheels on my cars to keep the wheels from rubbing against the body and act as a crude bearing. All of the cars I made like this roll pretty good. I ran out of washers and assembled a car without the washers. Big difference. It got me thinking that there should be sme good techniques you can use for cars with wood axles to get them to roll better.
   I'm pretty sure a nylon washer would work better than the zinc plated steel I've been using.
   It seems like axle pegs would work better than dowel axles. Put a little wax on them might help.
Any ideas?
Advanced techniques are the basics perfectly applied.
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Muskokamike
yeah I've put lithium grease on the axles but not a HUGE improvement....the dowels just aren't smooth enough for it to make a difference.

Not to sound all arrogant or anything but to get them rolling freely you have to overcome the resistance (you probably already know this)....there are many ways to do this:

-You could install a bronze bushing in the body of the toy.

-You could use a steel rod instead of a wooden dowel. This coupled with the bronze bushing and grease would get them rolling smooth and easy (but a little heavy).

-The individual pins instead of a through dowel would make them roll easier since the friction is divided between 2 individual wheels.....ie: if one is rubbing against the body, the other won't and will spin freer.


-The nylon washer between the wheel and the body would work well, and it only needs to be slightly larger than the dowel. This smaller size would decrease the contact area of the wheel to the washer to the body. The less contact, the more freer movement.

-sanding the dowel smooth will help too....the dowels I have available locally all have imperfections and dents and swells in them.....I had one that changed in diameter about 1/16th of an inch over 12"..that one went into the paint stirrer bin.....

-Now if you REALLY want them to roll, order some bearings. They have all kinds of sizes and they're CHEAP. You can get 1/4" ID 1/2" OD sealed deep groove ball bearings 10 for $2.55....with free shipping!. Better than $8.00 each locally. Use those with pins instead of through dowel and you're off (literally) to the races....

-I saw plans online for a race car that used Rollerblade wheels with ABEC 7 bearings...that thing, with some lead weight, would scream down a track. FYI: the higher the ABEC number the smoother the individual balls and race is therefore they roll easier and faster. I changed the bearings in my blades from 5 to 7 and it was like night and day...I could get going faster, easier.....
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Steve W
When I started making toys I first used steel washers but I thought twice about the rusting and being a bit thick. On a rethink I decided to use a coat of Acrylic sealer to the axle section and the holes through the wheels always ensuring there is enough clearance between the mating parts. Do not the seal the section of axle that is to be glued into the car body thou. I then cut washers out of a plastic damp proof membrane used for house building, is probably about 1mm thick (0.040"). You can use hole punches or sections of pipe if none available to cut them. When I assemble the wheels and washer I will coat them with some beeswax and this has always had my toy wheels to run freely.
The Acrylic seal has reduced the friction of the wheel and axle acting like a wheel bearing.. Always bear in mind that wood does create friction on mating moving parts.
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BadBob
Lots of good ideas here. I may have to give those a try just for the fun of it.
Mostly I trying toget them to roll good so my grandson can roll them down a ramp. He likes doing that.
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Muskokamike
I think for your grandson, using the axle pins instead of a dowel, and a thin nylon or plastic washer between the wheel and the body will do the trick....

edited: I'm building a fairly large front end loader with 4" wheels. Due to poor design it was difficult to drill the through holes for dowels. What I did though is I had about 50 5/16" cap screws left over from a job so I cut them off about 4" long, added some washers and they roll amazingly well. Since the hole in the body is too large to thread, I'll just epoxy them in.

If you're using 1/4" dowel, you might want to pick up some 1/4 x 20 bolts, the ones with a smooth shoulder and not threaded all the way to the top. Then epoxy them in...I think that would help out immensely.......I thought of using threaded rod for axles but the threads would wear away the wooden wheels in no time.....


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BadBob
I thought about using bolts. Nails should work good for the smaller wheels. They use nails for the pinewood derby cars.
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Udie
How about a flanged bushing - bronze, plastic or nylon just to name a few materials.

Flanged Bronze Bearing.jpg 
Kill two birds with one stone.
You will have a bushing as well as the flange part which will prevent the wheel from rubbing against the vehicle's body.
Just throwing an idea out there.
The hard part might be finding something you can use that is readily available in your area.
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JTalbot
All the cars I build use a thru axle, wheels glues to it. when assembling them , I coat the axle with paste wax, before running it thru the body, and gluing the other wheel on. It's a little stiff at first, but after a few miles down the road, perfect!
Jeremy
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Jodywright
SteveW
Are you talking about Tyvek building paper to make your own washers? I have some and it seems very thin indeed. So I glued three sheets together and this seems to have a bit more structural integrity. My friend tells me that it would be no problem to punch out washers, but then I have something which will need painting. What do you do?
thanks
Jodywright
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BadBob
So far the best thing I have found is:
  • axle pegs sanded very smooth
  • Johnson's Paste Wax on the axle
  • Nylon washer between the wheel and the body

Tested this by rolling the cars down a ramp elevated 4 inches on one end to see which one rolled further/faster. Not very scientific but the difference was pretty dramatic. I did not account for weight or and other factors.

Polished metal axles would work better than wood but I'm not going to spend my time polishing nails or screws.
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Jodywright
Do you buy or make your nylon washers.  I am sorry to belabor this point, but washers seem to me to be terrifically overpriced for something which costs less than a penny to make.  I would like to be able to make my own and then I could size them appropriately.
Jodywright
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BadBob
Yes, at the big box stores nylon washers are crazy expensive. I bought mine on eBay from someone in China. This link should get you lots of washers. The price was less than $6.64 delivered for 200 M6 Nylon washers. It does take awhile for them to get here via China post but the price is right. They are all metric sizes. Now that I know they work I'm probably going to buy a bag of 1000. It doesn't take long to use up 200 washers. This helicopter i made for my grandson (Quality Assurance Inspector) uses uses six washers. He calls it a wop wop.


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Jodywright
thank you so much BB.  That link is going to make my life much easier, and the wheels with turn easier also.
JLW
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mlusk123
Okay folks. I'm totally confused now. How about making some video's on what you are doing. Keep in mind, keep it simple for us beginner toymakers. The link for the washers is no longer available, and yes, I realize these posts are 3yrs old LOL! Things might have changed so maybe we can get some updates? 
 
 

Michael Lusk
Springfield, Tn. 
Disabled Vet Woodworking Hobbyist



 
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BadBob
mlusk123 wrote:
Okay folks. I'm totally confused now. How about making some video's on what you are doing. Keep in mind, keep it simple for us beginner toymakers. The link for the washers is no longer available, and yes, I realize these posts are 3yrs old LOL! Things might have changed so maybe we can get some updates? 
 
 


Put a nylon (or metal) washer on the axle between the wheel and the body. Simple. No video required.


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