Friday, May 30, 2014

English Wheel - Again

In response to the comment I received about my English wheel in the previous post, here's a rough sketch of the dimensions. The main frame is made from 3" square tubing as are the gussets in the corners. The frame is trussed with a piece of 3/16' x 1-1/2" flat around the top and side. The two legs you can see in the photo are 2"x3" tubing and there is a lug on the opposite side so the frame can be bolted down in three spots. The throat width is 18" inside the wheeling surface and is 30" inside the frame in the vertical direction. 

The top wheel is 9" OD x 2-1/4" wide and spins on a couple of common metric bearings (6203 for top wheel, 6202 bottom wheel if I remember correctly). The "U" shaped bracket holding the wheel is made from 3/8" flat bar that is welded to a piece of 2" sch 80 pipe that I turned to 2-1/4" OD and cut a 3/16" keyway the length of it to prevent the assembly from rotating when cranking on the handle. The 2" pipe slides inside a 3" sch 80 pipe (maybe even sch 160) that was bored for a bronze bushing. I also whittled down the OD to 3-1/4". The outer pipe is welded to a 3/8" flat plate that bolts to an identical plate on the end of the tube frame. The outer pipe has a slot milled in it that receives a key to match up with the keyway in the inner pipe. Basically, the whole assembly works like a Wilton machinist vise - key, slot, acme screw thread, couple of thrust washers, handle.

The bottom wheel support is a little tricky. There are two pieces of brass that support the lower wheel that ride in slots in 1/2" flat bar and sit on a 1" round bar. The bar has a flat machined on each end so you can spin the bar around and when the flats align with the brass pieces, it relieves the pressure on the wheel so you can take your part out and check it. When you put it back in, you turn the handle on the round stock and you go right back to the same pressure setting you had.

A clever guy who is a decent machinist could probably build this thing off of what's here. I made mine after looking at some plans and from my notes at the school I attended. The only real cost that was involved for me was buying the bearings and the acme screw thread to run the top wheel up and down. I didn't have a piece thick enough to make the wheel so I welded three pieces of 3/4" thick material together and then machined everything up true. Neither the top or bottom wheel have been heat treated but I figured I was going to be working primarily with aluminum, so that wasn't going to be an issue. I don't have a CAD program anymore or I would measure everything up and whoever wanted the plans could get them with a click. If someone wants some more detailed measurements, I could probably get those in a somewhat timely fashion and post them here.

The machine work requires a lathe and a mill. It's nothing a decent machinist couldn't handle but it is time consuming. If you had to farm it out, you might be better off buying one. Cheap ones can be had for as little as $300.00 - good ones run between $2,000.00 to $3,000.00 depending on bench model or floor model and you can buy the machined pieces and build the frame yourself for less money. Or you can shop around and buy a vintage one with a cast frame for slightly less than an arm and a leg.

If I ever get half-assed caught up and decide I need to build anything else, it will be a louver press. There's been more than a couple of things I've built over the years that would have profited from a couple of strategically placed louvers. In fact, I'm sure I could find  a couple of spots on the VW that could use a few. In the meantime, I'll try to figure out where to put my stake plate.


Frankie Flood said...

Thanks so much, Shop Teacher Bob! That is very helpful!

You are correct that a louver press is on my lists as well. I would love to louver my VW hot rod.

Shop Teacher Bob said...

If you need any more detail on the wheel, let me know.

Always something else on the wish list, isn't there? More tools, equipment, space, time, money, or something. It doesn't seem to be holding either one of us back much though.