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wheel retainers for small models

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wheel retainers for small models

Post  roddie on Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:38 pm

You can't buy them anymore.. but you can make them"! I used a piece of .015" diam. music-wire about 6" long.. for the wheel-retainer material.. and a short piece of .045" music-wire for a winding-post... just to see if it could be done.




This coil was "crudely" hand-wound.. and would actually fit a .055" dia. axle.. however; using a piece of .055" music-wire as a winding post, would yield a coil that would be correct for a .062" dia. axle (the standard size) The coil will "relax" (open-up) a few thousandths of an inch after winding. I used my bench-vise to secure the winding-post and a small set of locking pliers to clamp the .015" music-wire to the post.. and just wound it around by hand; keeping it somewhat taught.

"Dress" the coils ends with a cut-off wheel and use wire-cutters inside of a sandwich bag to cut pieces of the coil to length (so as not to lose them) approx. 1/8" long.. and use a blade to separate one coil and bend it out with tweezers/needle-nose pliers for winding onto your axle.

Give it a try on the next little airplane you build with landing gear. They're also useful for retaining pushrods without using a Z-bend.


Last edited by roddie on Fri Jun 10, 2016 5:31 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  Jason_WI on Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:52 pm

Nice work. I had a bunch of these spring wheel retainers NIP from I believe Perfect that I sold to a member here. Hard to find now.

DuBro used to make a spring winding jig but I think that was for larger music wire for the front coil spring landing gear.

Jason
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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  Cribbs74 on Wed Sep 17, 2014 8:10 pm

That member has really enjoyed them and put them to good use Jason.

Roddie!

Great idea and I am glad you find them useful. 1/16 wire a washer and a spring is all you need to be in business. The springs are lighter than a collar and quicker to install.

Ron
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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  RknRusty on Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:50 pm

The Rod does it again!
Thanks roddie. I will have some of the right wire on my next shopping list.
Rusty

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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  pkrankow on Wed Sep 17, 2014 11:21 pm

I'll have to try these some time as there are times I really do want removable items (not necessarily wheels) and collars are not convenient.

Phil
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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  Surfer_kris on Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:46 am

Aaah, but you need a wire-wrap tool to get a nice coil too!
One can never have too many tools... Wink

You can easily make your own wrapping tool from a brass or copper rod. Drill a deep hole in center for the post (i.e. inner diameter of the coil) and a larger shallow one that is just the right size for the outer diameter of the coil/spring. A little notch (or hole) at the end for directing the music wire, and you can start to produce some really nice looking springs: Smile
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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  roddie on Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:52 am

If you have a drill-press with a chuck that will tighten down small enough to hold the winding-post.. you could start the coil by sticking the small wire up in between one of the slots in the jaws.. bend it 90 degrees and slowly turn the chuck by hand. Being able to turn the "post" to wind the coil.. is better than having to wind the wire around it fixed. The coils (springs) that you're making; only need to be 5/16" to 3/8" in length, to produce several collars.. so it's not necessary (or desirable) to wind a coil much longer than that.. (i.e. the "post" will start to bend, if you go too long with the coil) Practice by making up 1/2 a dozen lengths... and toss them in your wheel-collar bin. You'll have enough stock for quite a while.
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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  roddie on Fri Jun 10, 2016 6:33 pm

Rather than start a new thread.. I changed the title of this one to be more "generic".. because I thought I'd share another method of making wheel retainers. These would need to be soldered.. but they'd fit the smallest of axles.

Materials/tools needed; .005" sheet-brass, a standard "plier-style" paper-hole punch, a push-pin, a block of wood, a clear plastic bag and soldering tools.



Cut a small piece (about one square inch) of .005" sheet-brass and hold it in the jaws of the hole-punch and insert into the plastic bag to catch the small cut piece(s) Squeezing the punch hard and quick works best.



Place pieces on the wood-block and center-pierce with the push-pin.



It doesn't take much force to pierce the part.. so if you're fitting to small diameter music-wire, press lightly. This will yield a needle-size hole. You can make it bigger by pressing harder. Push-pins have a nice smooth taper as compared to a regular thumb-tack.

This is .047" music-wire. I used a piece of alloy tubing to press the disc on for a tighter fit.


You could solder these in pairs per axle (each side of the wheel-hub) which would help a thin aerodynamic wheel to track straighter.. and prevent it from slipping around the bend and up the gear-strut wire.

Of course steel washers have been soldered onto model axles for generations.. but try to find washers this small and lightweight. You could also make a 90 degree bend in very light gage wire to hold a wheel on.. but that's just crude.. Laughing

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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  pkrankow on Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:45 pm

I bet those resist having solder wick through the joint too.

Phil
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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  KariFS on Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:28 am

Pure genius Thumbs Up
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Re: wheel retainers for small models

Post  roddie on Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:03 pm

KariFS wrote:Pure genius Thumbs Up

Thanks, Kari and Phil for the comments! Kari.. you're too kind.. Smile It's actually "all of you" on this forum, that are the catalyst for many of my ideas. Someone will post about a particular challenge they're facing.. and it gets my mind going.. stirs the old grey and white matter to try and think-up a solution. I know that it probably irritates some.. especially people having a lot more experience than me. I look at it one way; if I can help one person to solve a problem or save some time/$ by making a part from common materials they might have around the house.. then it's worth my time.

Wheel retainers... they're not for everyone, especially combat flyers.. but I look at every model airplane as a miniature version of a full-scale aircraft. Sure you don't need wheels to take-off or land a model.. but part of the scale-realism to me is being able to rise off ground.. and land (intentionally.. Laughing ) on rolling gear. To me.. it's all part of the flight.

Landing-gear... personally; I really enjoy fabricating this part of my flying-models. Bending music-wire.. making wheels (as opposed to buying them..) bushing their hubs and mounting the gear to the model. Yes it's added weight.. but it's also a functional way of trimming the CG after a model is built and finished. Tail-heavy; install heavier wheels.. nose-heavy; install lighter wheels. You can bend music-wire struts slightly fore/aft as well. Swapping to a different type of engine can change the CG. A different weight wheel-set can help here too.

In my opinion.. one can never have too much in the way of model hardware materials on hand.

This is just "some" of what I have on hand. I keep long lengths of wire/rod-stock in an old kit-box. A box-o-wheels.. alloy sheet/ tubing assortments.. most of which was obtained over the course of time without any particular model in mind.. but rather modelling in general. An "I'll probably need this someday" attitude.

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