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© November 11, 2007  

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How to make MoW Wheels


Written by Laurence Johnson

If you read my article about Building a MoW Tie Setter, you may have noticed I glossed over the wheels used in that rig.  In this article I will show you how I made these wheels using materials I had on hand at the time.  You may find other railroad applications for these wheels.  Here's how I constructed my MoW wheels.
I used a horizontal metal cutting band saw to cut 1” slices of 2-1/2” conveyor roller (you may substitute 2-1/2" continuous weld steel tube) and 1” diameter steel rod. I also cut 3” length plates from 1/8” x 3” stock (right). These square  sections of flat stock will become the flange and the ends of the wheels.  If you're not lucky enough to have a band saw, you can use a hack saw, saber saw or abrasive wheel on a power miter box or circular saw.  It really doesn't matter how you cut it.

1" slices of roller and 1" dia. steel rod plus 3" squares of 1/8" steel.

Next I used a gas shielded wire welder weld the tube section to the 1/8” plate. Visually center the tube and tack weld them together twice (opposite sides) and then weld 1/4 of the inside at a time. This is to keep from warping things. You may use most any another type of electric welder you have access to (click image to enlarge).

You will want to knock off some materials so when this assembly goes to the lathe, you will have less material to remove.  Cut the four corners back to within a 1/4” of the wheel body and then grind the resulting eight corners on a bench grinder (click image to enlarge).

Clamp the wheel into a 3-jaw chuck lathe (right) using round stock spacers between the wheel and the face of the chuck. This will cause the plate to be safely away from the jaws so that both sides of the edge can be machined. (remove the spacers after the wheel has been clamped) Turn the 3-3/4” diameter making a 1/8” flange. Use a double cut bastard file to round the edges and taper the track side of the flange (click image to enlarge).


After the set of wheels have had their flanges formed, reverse them with the back against the chuck face (left) and beginning with a center drill, small diameter twist drills and repeating with greater diameters cut a 1” diameter hole for the hub of each wheel (click image to enlarge).

At the welding table (right), hammer the 1” diameter cylinders into the wheel until they are flush to the back of the wheel and then arch weld. Remove the slag and grind flush. If it appears there has not been adequate penetration in some spot, repeat the process (click image to enlarge).

Back on the lathe (left), with reverse jaws in the chuck, clamp the wheels with the back against the face of the chuck. Center drill then drill an undersized 1/2 diameter hole into the hub before facing the wheels to a 3/4” width (click image to enlarge)

Ream the hole (right) to an inside diameter of 0.500. Remove the sharp edge from both sides of the hole using a hand drill and countersink. Lightly hand file the back side removing burrs. At this time don’t be to concerned about the burrs on the outer side of the wheel (click image to enlarge).

Change the jaws in the lathe (left). Using a 1/2” diameter mandrill whose end is threaded with NF threads, lock the wheel between two nuts. Set the compound to 5 degrees and taking light cuts, taper the wheel (click image to enlarge).

After the whole set of wheels have been tapered, swing the tool around and remove the burr from the inside (right). With hand file and abrasive cloth remove all burrs and sharp edges (click image to enlarge). 


Here is a set of MoW wheels ready for use (left) (click image to enlarge).

After the axles are made and the ends threaded but before the axle assembly is finished, mount each wheel and fasten with the 1/2” nut. Hand tighten the nut down and then back it off by a 1/6th turn or until the wheel “just” moves freely and lock the nut in that location with another nut. Clamp into a vice with a flat of the nut parallel to the drill press table (right). With a long center drill mark the start of a hole in the center of the flat (or between the projections of a castle nut) then drill a hole with the proper bit size that will give good clearance for the cotter pin. On the axle, clean the hole and threads with a thread file or 1/2” thread die (keep that nut with that end of the axle!)  (click image to enlarge).


Don't forget to read my earlier article Building a MoW Tie Setter


Written by Laurence Johnson

Watch for Laurence Johnson's collection of live steam drawings on CD
(due out Fall 2007)


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