Author Topic: Steering wheel  (Read 1268 times)

39delux

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Steering wheel
« on: September 22, 2017, 03:41:50 PM »
I would like to add an original (looking) steering wheel to my '39.  I have power steering on the '39 so a 17" big honker wheel would not work right.  I am thinking about casting my own 15" wheel to look somewhat like the original.  Think that I can come close with the Rosewood Tan color in the resin and already ordered 3/8" round stainless for the spokes.  Also have a center spline that fits a GM column but I'm hunk up on the horn and hub.  Simple way to do it would be to make the hub to fit a Le Carra horn button which is round.  There are videos on line about casting a wheel and companies that sell the necessary supplies but I would really like to hear from someone who has actually done one.  What do you think about a round hub?  Inputs?

sammons

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2017, 06:03:40 PM »
Interesting, i'd like to see one built from scratch. I've cut down several using the original wheel and getting a 15" donor wheel rim.  The horn ring was real close to the rim on my '57 Belair but it turned out handy, I could just stretch out my thumb to opperate  ;D
« Last Edit: September 22, 2017, 06:13:13 PM by sammons »

39delux

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2017, 08:38:06 PM »
Making the jig to weld the spokes to the core ring and hub.  Spokes will be stainless (304) the outter ring is 3/8" cold roll and the hub will be 1/8" steel.  First mistake I made was cutting a 15" ring groove in the MDF then discovering my La Carra wheel is actually 14".  The GM power steering pump puts out about 1200 lbs and the Ford rack normally runs on 1000 psi or so there is no need for a huge knuckle banging wheel.  Once the spokes and hub are welded I'll open the outer groove to 1 inch wide and 1/2" deep and make another just like it for the other half of the mold.  I'll have to clear coat or paint a thin coat of resin on the MDF to seal it otherwise I'll end up with a square MDF wheel with an unseen resin core. 

39delux

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2017, 11:57:33 AM »
Little update.  Trying to find welding talent to TIG the stainless spokes to the mild steel ring.  Meanwhile I have to make a vacuum chamber to degas the resin.  Found a pressure/vacuum canister with no lid.  Found a piece of 1/2" pexiglas for a lid so that I could see the degassing.  Getting the protective paper off OLD pexiglas took two days.  Hope it will stand up to the vacuum.  I'll be using my A/C vacuum pump to draw the vacuum.  Had to make a gasket to seal the lid.  Found a very secret process of making a silicone gasket called PROTO PUTTY.   Very easy to do, lots of videos on line showing the process. 

TFoch

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2017, 12:41:48 PM »
Nice work!  Anxious to see how it turns out.
Working for a living gets in the way of finishing my car

chopper526

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2017, 01:17:06 PM »
You guys sure have some talent here.....
Tighten it up til it strips, then back it off a quarter turn

Rattiac

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2017, 02:00:56 PM »
I'd like to make one of those Mad Max steering wheels with skulls, bullets, rivets, etc. But that's down the road and another vehicle.

sammons

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 08:09:46 PM »
Looks like you are figuring it out, great idea!

39delux

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 08:37:50 PM »
Progress is painfully slow.  Got the skeleton welded.  The two exposed spokes are polished stainless, the rest is mild steel.  Had it TIG welded by an expert.  Working on the mold a bit then decided to get a larger router bit.  Also having problems with the finger lumps on the back of the wheel.  Can't figure an easy way to do them except with a Dremel tool.  Ideas welcome.  Starting to be a bit concerned about voids when I do the actual pour.  I'll only get one shot at that.

EDNY

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2017, 07:07:18 AM »
My thoughts:  Once you have the wheel cast and semi polished make a metal jig (half pipe) with a few finger grooves that can be clamped on the perimeter ring.  Then from the back use a soft wire brush on a table grinder to remove material between the metal jig grooves.  Once you have the rough grooves cut you could wet polish them to match the rest of the wheel?

Figure a metal jig wouldn't lose it's shape with a soft metal wire wheel removing the plastic and maintain uniformity?  I have a couple extra soft metal wires wheels if you need one...they were given to me.

If this doesn't make sense I can try to make a drawing.
33 Chevy 5 Window, 34 Chevy 3 Window, 37 Chevy 4dr sedan

39delux

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2017, 10:15:43 AM »
What I think you are saying is to cast the wheel a little larger then necessary then cut (wire wheel) the bumps in after, is that correct?  Never thought of that but sure is an option.  Good news is that if the bumps (can't think of another term) are not uniform nobody will know unless they get in one hell of a yoga position.  What you doin down there?   My La Carra wheel doesn't have any bumps but is a good deal fatter then an original early wheel. 

ChevRon

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2017, 10:34:12 AM »
Jerry I believe they are called grips. Wheel is looking good. Ron

EDNY

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2017, 10:39:35 AM »
Attached my draft....weld two pieces of pipe together....then drill a series of indexed holes between them. That way you get a half notch in each.   Then split one in half and use heat to shape it to the radius of the wheel, and clamp it to the wheel...then fire up the bench-top grinder with soft wire wheel and remove the plastic.  The jig will prevent you from going too deep and will make uniform notches.

The picture attached only has (2) grooves ( you can make more) and is taped to a rubber hose to (use clamps) hope this helps?
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 10:47:21 AM by EDNY »
33 Chevy 5 Window, 34 Chevy 3 Window, 37 Chevy 4dr sedan

sammons

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2017, 01:38:55 PM »
The only other thing I thought of (other than what Ed suggested), would be to pre cast the grips in the mold. Cut the lower mdf mold an 1/8" deeper. Then get a donor ring the size you want (14-15") place 1/8" setting blocks in the bottom (3 or 4). Spray Pam cooking spray (or a release agent) on the wheel ring, mix some fiberglass resin up to poor in lower mold and set ring in grip side down. Pull ring out when set and cast as you were going to.

Voids,  i'm not familiar with the cast materials you are useing but could you make a vibrator plate to set under your mold while pouring? Kinda like vibrating concrete.

Just thinking outloud, my brain doesn't work the way it use too ;)

39delux

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Re: Steering wheel
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2017, 08:07:07 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions.  I'd like to cherry pick the ides set forth.  First, I like the idea of cutting the finger grips after casting the wheel.  Thanks Ed.  I also like the idea of vibrating the mold after the resin has been poured.  ChevRon lives close to me and called this morning with yet another idea.  He suggested mounting the completed wheel on a flat surface so that the wheel will spin.  Mount a router, mark where the notches need to be and just run the router across, spin the wheel, run the router again.  From what I understand the resin is easy to sand and polish so I'll definitely cut the notches after casting.  Stay tuned for Karma to strike. 

 


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