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    1. Kit: , by (Member) oldtribefan is offline
      Builder Last Online: Sep 2012 Show Printable Version Email this Page
      Model Scale: 1/8 Rating:  (1 votes - 5.00 average) Thanks: 0
      Started: 09-05-12 Build Revisions: Never  
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      In this thread I will try to show how I scratch built 1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build a banjo steering wheel for a 1930's - 1940's automotive or boat model.

      A good friend of mine is building a 1/8 scale 1949 Chris Craft Racing Runabout from a kit and is less than satified with the kit steering wheel. When you research boat steering wheels from that era, you find that most boat manufacturers purchased their steering wheels from one of the auto companies. I agreed to help him out by making a replacement wheel. What I made is an 18" diameter banjo wheel in 1/8 scale (2.25" od). The rim is made from brass rod, the spokes from SS pins and the center hub from brass stock.

      I will post construction photos and commentary on the process I used to make this wheel.

      Oldtribefan

      Build Photos

      1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build-imgp1604-rev-jpg  1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build-imgp1608-jpg  1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build-imgp1610-jpg  1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build-imgp1612-jpg 


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  1. spinellid82's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    David
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    That is really nice!
    USMC, Retired

    Evil prevails when good men stand idle.
    QUOTE QUOTE #2

  2. jfonticobal's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Javier
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    A real beauty. I will follow the construction pictures.
    QUOTE QUOTE #3

  3. Giovanni's Avatar Established Member
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    Giovanni
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    Welcome to SMC.Glad to see your beautiful project on this forum.


    Regards,
    Giovanni
    QUOTE QUOTE #4

  4. 3.Star's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Michael J.
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    Amazing job on this wheel, I'm loving it and look forward to the building process. Thank you.

    Michael
    QUOTE QUOTE #5

  5. Giovanni's Avatar Established Member
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    Giovanni
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    I definitely want 2 of these wheels, one for my BabyBootlegger and my ChisCraft Barrelback.Dumas should offer a steering wheel option like yours.I would love to lost wax cast these wheels in Argentium sterling silver. It never tarnishes and is more durable than regular sterling silver. It polishes to a brilliant finish, like chrome.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentium_sterling_silver
    Last edited by Giovanni; 09-06-12 at 01:56 AM.
    QUOTE QUOTE #6

  6. Dougritt's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Nice job Kip...you are good friend!
    QUOTE QUOTE #7

  7. fritzz13's Avatar Active Member
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    fred
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    wow!,,,thats amazing,would look great on my 1/8 christcraft boat,very nice.
    QUOTE QUOTE #8

  8. oldtribefan's Avatar Member
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    Kip
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    1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build
    I was told that the Dumas wheel supplied with the boat kit has an outer diameter of 60mm and the hub is 15mm. Since I don’t do metric well (and my equipment is all set up in inches), I resorted to the handy online metric/inch converter to find out that the rim is 2.36” diameter, which equals 18.88” in 1:1 1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build scale. That is a bit too large as my research showed that many of these wheels were in the 17 – 18” diameter range with none larger than 18”. So I decided to model a 17.5” wheel, or 2.1875” in 1/8 scale. Using a clear photo of an actual banjo wheel, I determined that, on a full-scale 17.5” banjo wheel the wheel rim is .75” thick, or 3/32” (.0937”) in 1/8 scale. However, the cross section of a rim is actually a bit egg shaped with a greater thickness from top to bottom due to the finger crenellations on the back of the wheel. To allow for the proper rim diameter in scale, I determined that 1/8” brass rod would work, allowing me to make the 3/32” cross section of the rim and have 1/32” extra brass in the top/bottom direction of the rim to machine the finger crenellations.

    I annealed the rod and bent it around a teak form that I turned to a true
    diameter on my lathe.

    The next task was to cut the brass ring so it can be precisely soldered into a id ring. The challenges here are: (1) all metal has a certain amount of spring-back when bent. The brass would have to be tight against the form when it is cut to make the ring; and (2) how to cut the brass so both cut ends will be square to each other for soldering. To resolve challenge (1) I had only annealed enough of the brass rod to wrap slightly more than one revolution around the wood buck. Doing this left the remainder of the rod stiff and springy. I found that by drilling and tapping a hole for a 6-32 bolt in the flat of the wood block, I could use the bolt to pull down on the stiff part of the brass rod to tighten the ring against the wood form. For challenge (2), I set up my Sherline mill with a thin saw blade to slice through the brass coiled around the wood buck leaving the ends of the ring square to each other. With the annealed brass it was easy to persuade the ends to lie in the same plane.

    Now I needed to assure that the ring was as perfectly round as possible. To do this I used a
    2.5” radiator clamp around the ring, squeezing it tightly against the hardwood buck. This helped to eliminate any small imperfections in the ring and also minimized the remaining amount of spring-back in the brass.

    Next I needed a way to hold the two ends of the brass ring in position for hard silver soldering. A piece of MDF, some sheet metal, three 6-32 screws and washers worked well. The MDF was drilled and tapped for the screws as shown in the photo below. The sheet metal was used as a heat barrier between the brass and the MDF. When the brass ring was held by the three screws/washers, I was able to precisely align the ends of the brass ring for soldering.

    After obtaining some Weldcote “56CF” high silver content hard solder and borax based flux, I thought it best to practice on some scrap brass rod since I had never hard soldered anything before. I used a jeweler’s mini torch on my Oxy-Acetylene set. The test went quite well and the joint was very solid. Now it was time to try it out on the brass ring for the steering wheel. Hmmm, brass melts pretty easily! Turns out that I had way too much O2 in the mix giving too high a temperature. That and the fact that I kept the torch in one place too long while trying to take a photo at the same time damaged the ring. Oh, well, another part for the scrap heap!

    I annealed more brass rod, bent another ring, cut it to size and decided to try the MAPP gas torch for silver soldering. That worked better as it did not overheat and melt the brass. In fact, the solder joint worked quite well, needing very little cleanup.

    Using the radiator clamp again with the brass hoop on the wooden buck helped to make sure that the rim remained round after soldering.



    1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build
    QUOTE QUOTE #9

  9. oldtribefan's Avatar Member
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    Kip
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    1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build
    Now the ring needed to be shaped. By cutting/filing about 1/32 from the outside diameter and slightly “v” shaping the bottom edge of the wheel, the cross section better matched that of the actual steering wheel. Much of this shape I matched to the stock steering wheel from my 1966 Sting Ray, figuring that the cross-section of the rim would be very similar to that of the old banjo wheels. Also, looking at the finger crenellations on that wheel helped me a in shaping the crenellations a bit later in the build.

    To cut/file the outer diameter of the brass ring, I mounted back onto the wood buck I used earlier. The ring was now a tight fit since the kerf of the saw blade made the ring very slightly smaller than
    , so I was able to spin the ring, mounted on the buck, in the lathe and use a flat file to cut off the 1/32” that was needed. Then, using a small triangle file and a needle file, I carefully filed a slight angle on the bottom of the outside edge of the ring. I used a three-jaw chuck holding the outside of the ring to file a similar angle on the bottom of the inside edge of the ring. This angle, forming a slight “v” is important in the final shape of the finger crenellations. Now it was time to determine the spacing for the crenellation cuts.



    There needs to be three segments of crenellations on the wheel, each covering 120 degrees of the circle. Depending on the 1:1 1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build
    wheel I looked at, I counted 12 or 13 crenellations in each of the 3 segments of the wheel. There is also a small section of each segment where the spokes attach to the rim that has no crenellations. I estimated each of these areas to be about 10 degrees of the circle. This left 110 degrees to machine crenellations in each segment of the rim. I decided to go with the 12 crenellations in each segment of this rim, each 9.17 degrees apart.



    The challenge now was to devise a way to hold the rim securely while milling the crenellations. Wow, a chance to make another fixture! With a trip to my plastics drawer (I frequent Tap Plastics to buy different plastic sheets from their scrap bin) I found some ½” thick HDPE that I could use. After cutting a rough
    d circle with the band saw, I mounted it on the lathe face plate and turned it down to 2 3/4” d and used the tailstock to center drill the center of the HDPE blank.



    I then removed the blank from the faceplate, mounted in the 3-jaw chuck and cut a rabbet .0937" deep, leaving the center of the fixture a snug fit to the inside of the rim. I wanted to be able to center the rim on the HDPE fixture and have it secured so it would not move while milling the crenellations.

    To secure the rim on the fixture, I made three brass tabs 1" x 3/16" x 1/16" that I mounted to the HDPE fixture at each of the 120 degree marks on the rim. I used 2 6-32 socket head caps to secure each tab over the rim with a small rubber pad between the tab and the rim. Now the rim would not move when being milled!






    1/8 Scale Banjo Steering Wheel Scratch Build
    QUOTE QUOTE #10

  10. D-Stroke's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    Rick
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    Very nice work.
    QUOTE QUOTE #11

  11. Roger Zimmermann's Avatar Yearly Subscriber
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    Roger
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    Very interesting approach for an easy part (at first glance), but requiring some work and imagination!
    QUOTE QUOTE #12

  12. spinellid82's Avatar VIP/Sponsor
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    David
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    The first thing I learned about scratch building, don't ever think to your self "this will be simple" until you are on the third or fourth attempt. LOL
    USMC, Retired

    Evil prevails when good men stand idle.
    QUOTE QUOTE #13

  13. Tony's Avatar Active Member
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    Tony
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    That is clever, look forward to seeing how you complete this,
    It's easier to destroy, than it is to create
    QUOTE QUOTE #14

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