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Posts: 61
Reply with quote  #1 
I wanted to buy some small wheels for the super Simple play pal toys as per the instructions. They cost $17.75 for 500 - good price! But, the freight to New Zealand was $65 USD and the currency exchange rate put the total cost up to $105 NZD. Too expensive to use on give away toys.

So I decided to make some 20mm wheels. My hole saws were either too big or too small so I got some 20mm diameter pine dowel rod and cut 6mm thick wheels from it. I found the centre and tried to drill the hole with my drill press but the drill bit kept moving off centre.

I tried drilling the dowel first and cutting the wheels after, but again the drill bit kept going off centre. 

If anyone can please tell me a way to make these wheels with a hole in the centre I would really appreciate it. Thank you


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Posts: 238
Reply with quote  #2 
hi there you can get small size hole saws my set had about 15 hole saws in it and they went down to 10mm i have also used a lathe before mount the stock in the head stock and use a chuck with a small drill in the  tail stock to mark/drill the center hole. if you use a bradpoint drill bit they will stay in center better then a standed drill bit.hope this helps.
Gary Wisbey

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
Hi Ceefa,
Here is a way I read about using a Drill Press.  It is a simple jig, easily set up.
  1. Take a sacrificial piece of wood with a depth at least as deep as the wheels.  Clamp it to the base of the drill press.  Make sure the drill press base and  sacrificial wood are secure and immobile.
  2. Chuck in a drill bit the diameter you need for the center of the wheels.
  3. Drill a hole through the sacrificial wood with this drill bit.
  4. Now without moving anything replace the drill bit with a drill bit the same diameter as your wheels.  Check it is centered where you made the first hole.  If you did not move anything it should be true.
  5. Drill a pocket in the wood to hold the wheel.  Do not go all the way through the wood.  You want it deep enough to hold the wheel in place.
  6. Replace the drill bit with the first one again.
  7. Now when you place your wheel in the pocket you created the drill will make a perfectly centered hole in your wheel.

I hope this helps.  Let us  know how it works out.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
(Edmund Burke)

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Posts: 1,179
Reply with quote  #4 
Ceefa: On the home page of this web site is a tab labeled 'Wood Toy Workshop'. Click on that and you will see two (2) articles with photographs that I think will help you. One article is on 'How to make perfect small wheels' and the other is 'How to drill Axle holes for small wheels'. I have attach a link to each article.

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #5 
Similar to Udie's system to make the toy wheels. Set a length of plank slightly thicker than the wheels you need and a little wider than required. Using your hole saw on a drill press,drill to a depth a little deeper than the thickness of the wheel. Simply keep on drilling in a row, when you have enough take the plank and run it through the table saw to the thickness of the wheels, all the wheels will simply fall out. It saves trying to dig them out of the hole saw.

Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #6 
Those are some great ideas. I would like to ask another question along the same lines. I am new to toy building, and I am lovin' it. I have made some of the small toy cars but I am having trouble cutting the small dowel for the axels. Before I can get all the way through the cut they tend to break on me. Any ideas on what I can do to get a clean cut?

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Reply with quote  #7 
VinngiG: Two (2) quick tips come to mind. Score your cutting line with a knife and then cut. Similar technique used in eliminating edge tear out when cutting plywood. Try raping the end of the dowel with painter tape, cut and then remove the tape.

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Reply with quote  #8 
Thanks Udie I'll give it a try.

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Reply with quote  #9 

VinniG what are you using to cut the dowel?

You can make a dowel holder to cut using a Japanese saw or any fine hand saw including a scroll saw.

Step 1
Grab a carefully selected piece of prime timber from the projects-in-waiting box and drill a hole through it the same (or very slightly larger) size as your dowel. That also translates as 'grab some scrap from the scrap box' [wink]


Step 2

Insert your length of dowel into the block and mark the intended length.


Step 3
Gently push your now marked dowel level with the hole in the block.


Step 4
Cut with your fine hand saw/fret saw or whatever saw you chose to use.


Step 5
If there is any sprue they can be touched with a 220 grit paper.


This is just one of many ways you can avoid splitting your dowel axles when cutting.

Make a new block for each different size diameter dowel you use and you have yourself a nice range of handy kit.
Then go have a nice coffee [thumb]
Hope this helps.
Sorry about the gaudy colour in the background, that's my drill press table - I'm colour blind and painted it whatever colour you see there [rolleyes]


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Reply with quote  #10 

   Islandtrader and I had a little chit-chat using the Forums Private Messages. (Works great, check your profile to ensure you have turned yours on.) He is unable at this time to post photos of his technique and I agreed to give it a shot and show the results. Hold onto you hats ... this is great stuff.

Went to my famous scrap bin and got some 3/4" Pine.
I am going to fabricate some 1" diameter wheels with a 1/4" axle hole and a thickness of 3/8".

Grabbed a 1-1/8" hole saw, mounted it into the drill press and set the depth gauge stop so that the teeth of the hole saw did not penetrate thru my Pine board.
1 Set Depth.jpg 

Drilled a series of six (6) holes) close to the bottom edge of the Pine board and close to each other.

2 Drill Holes.jpg 
Looking good so far.

I then added a piece of clear packing tape.
The purpose of the tape is keep the pieces away from the table saw blade when cutting.
This is a procedure I do when cutting wooden plugs used to conceal fastening screw heads.

3 Tape.jpg 
Now over to the table saw.
I raised the height of the blade to cut just above the grooves made by the hole saw.
I did use a piece of Pine wider than necessary.
I wanted the table saw blade to be concealed in the wood, making a tunnel.
Giving my hand some protection from the blade at all times and only exposed during exiting.
Using my 1/8" and 1/4" set-up templates, I positioned them between the table saw blade and the rip fence and tightened the rip fence in place.
This set-up should give me 3/8" thick wheels, correct?

4 Set TS.jpg 
Lets cut.
I place the taped side of the Pine board against the rip fence.
Reasoning behind that was to ensure the pieces did not pop our during cutting.
I really did not want pieces flying around the workshop.
The next photo is looking from the back of the table saw showing me feeding the wood into the blade.

5 Cut.jpg 

Here is the what the board looks like after feeding it thru the table saw.

6 Show Cut.jpg 

Now peal the packing tape back and you will find all wheels have stuck to it.
They came out their little pockets with out any problems.
There was no visible burn marks or chipping.

7 Remove Tape.jpg 
Do they not remind you a some candy strips we used to by when we were kids?

Here you can see clearly how close I drilled the holes to each other and how close I drilled to the edge of the Pine board.

Now for the moment of truth.
Let us measure the results.

8 Thick.jpg 
My mandate was to create 3/8" thick wheels and I got 3/8" wheels, as shown above.
There was not a lot of time spend on setup as demonstrated above.
And even if you were a little thicker or thinner, that's ok ... it is more than acceptable.
The outside edge (tread area) looks and feels very smooth and only requires a little sanding to remove the sharp edges near the surface.

Ok, let us look at the diameter of the wheel.

9 Diameter.jpg 
The diameter measured 1/32" less than 1", which makes it 31/32" diameter wheel.
Each gradient marking on this caliper is 1/64" and 2 x 1/64 = 2/64 which converts to 1/32".

Why was the diameter smaller than 1" ... let me expand on the math.
A 1-1/8" hole saw's purpose in life is to make a 1-1/8" hole.
It does not care about the inner hole or the core.
Only we care about the inner core, we want to make wheels.
The teeth are off-set, meaning one tooth is bent in the next tooth is bent out.
Depending on the angel the teeth are set to, you know you will lose at least 1/16".
The tooth angel of the hole saw I used proved to greater than 1/16".
Your hole saw might be less or more, you will not know until you try it.

Is that acceptable for a 1" wheel. Yes sir!

You will not have to make any changes to the location of the position of your axle holes in the body of the vehicle you are fabricating.

Lets look at all the parts and review.
Hole saw, Pine board, drill press, table saw and some packing tape ... that's it.

Note: You do not need a drill press ... the same holes can be drilled using a hand drill. All that is  
         necessary is to wrap some painters tape to the hole saw as a depth indicator.
         Table saw can be substituted with a Band Saw.
         You might be able to scroll saw providing the height of the pine board does not exceed your saws   

 10 Results.jpg 
It took me more time to present this to the Forum than it did to make the wheels.

I made twelve (12) wheels in is just over fifteen (15) minuets in the workshop.

There were no major safety concerns when making these parts.
I feel confident that wheels up to 1-1/2" are accomplishable with little concern.
That is not the top limit, 2" wheels can be fabricated also with a little more caution.
I would probable hot melt glue a piece of 2x4 to the board I was cutting for a 2" wheel, just to give me something more to hold onto and assist in keeping the board flat against the rip fence when ripping.
Standard shop practices and awareness do need to be applied.

Thank you Islandtrader for this super tip and trick on manufacturing wheels.
It is a real time saver with accomplishable results for novices to seasoned toy makers.

Photo Note:
The photos I took were using a high resolution digital camera and the file sizes were close to and larger    than three (3) MB.
These file sizes can not be up loaded to the forum, the file size cap is 1.06MB.
I did use the program 'Fast Stone Image Resizer' to convert the files to usable sizes for uploading.
Very user friendly program and free to download.
These photos are all now close to 100KB in size and the quality was not really affected.
If you wish to learn more about the Resizer, information is posted in the 'General Discussions' section under 'How-to's' 'Learn How To Upload Photos. I have attached a link for your convenience.


Ken Martin

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Posts: 988
Reply with quote  #11 
Awesome Idea about making your own wheels.
Thanks for sharing this and the info about uploading.
Great stuff, even for us beginners.
Thanks Islandtrader and Udie for working together to get this out to all of us.

Kenneth W Martin

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Posts: 61
Reply with quote  #12 
Thank you Islandtrader for that really great idea. I will give it a go


Posts: 12
Reply with quote  #13 
Actually used Udie's plan today and the wheels came out really good gonna do more in th am. once again thanx

Posts: 66
Reply with quote  #14 
Awesome.....great work with wood.
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