Wooden Toy Wheels

How to make wooden toy wheels

Most of the time it is a lot easier to buy ready made wooden wheels, but there may be a reason that you will want to make your own.

Who would have thought making a simple wooden disc would be such a challenge? As with most things in life, it is easy to do, but not so easy to do well.

Tools

drill press Use a drill press at the lowest possible speed setting.
circle cutter

The first step to making your own wooden toy wheels is to modify a circle cutter.

A circle cutter is designed to cut holes, but we want to use the leftover bit, that is the plug, to use as wheels. The cutters are shaped in such a way that it will leave a bevelled edge on the wheel.

What I did was to grind the bevel of the circle cutter on the opposite side so that the wheel came out nice and smooth. All I need to do now is to bolt the wheel into the drill and sand the edges smooth.

wooden_toy_wheels_11.jpg

The photo shows a circle cutter in action. Note how the workpiece is clamped onto a piece of scrap.

Keep well clear of those spinning arms, and be sure to use a slow speed setting. Most circle cutters and wheel cutters recommend a maximum speed of 500 rpm.

wooden_toy_wheels_13.jpg With a nut and bolt to clamp the wheel in the drill, use a wood file to remove the bur and round off the edges.
wooden_toy_wheels_14.jpg Use a small sanding belt for a smoother finish.
wooden_toy_wheels_15.jpg For the final touch, plug the hole with a short length of dowel. Using a simple jig as shown clamped in place, drill a shallow hole with a 16mm spade bit.

Tips

wooden axle wheels

To fit the axle to the wheel I prefer a snug fit. To relieve the pressure on the wheel, cut a groove about 6mm (1/4") deep in each end of the axle. Make sure to cut along the grain rather than across it.

Fit the axle to the wheel, with the cut in the same direction as the grain. This tip serves two purposes, it minimises the tendency to split the wheel, and provides a tiny reservoir for the glue.

Make washers from plastic milk bottles using a hollow punch.

Apply candle wax to the area of the axle that fits inside the body of the toy.

More ways to make toy wheels.

To make small diameter wheels, use a wooden dowel cut into slices. The challenge then becomes to locate the center for the axle.

This type of wheels may prove to be fine for small pull-along toys. Be aware that small objects may present a choking hazard for small children.

Links

It may be easier to buy a selection of ready made toy wheels.

A selection of wooden toy wheels from Amazon.com including axle pegs.

Woodwork forums discussion on using circle cutters to make wooden wheels.

Making wooden toy wheels - from woodwork forums, how to make wagon type wheels.

Spoke wheel jig for model makers, also from woodwork forums.



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