SEARCH SCALEAUTOMAG.COM

Enter keywords or a search phrase below:

Wire Wheels for Dragsters/Altereds

887 views
10 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    March, 2019
  • From: East Lansing, MI
Wire Wheels for Dragsters/Altereds
Posted by HUMMER931 on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 8:57 AM

I'm looking for information improving the appearance of wire front wheels on dragsters and altereds.   I assume stripping the chrome is good start.   Are there other ideas?  I see on eBay that at least one source makes actual wire-spoked wheels but they are pricey.  Are there other manufacturers of nice wire wheels?  Brooks Stover

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 12:57 PM

There are a number of routes to go here, most of which are either difficult or expensive.

The easier but more expensive route is PE wire wheels. There were a number of aftermarket outfits making these, but they seem hard to find these days. A thorough google search should bring something up. A slightly more expensive route is wheels made with real wire (much better than PE). A couple of outfits are offering these now, here's a link to one example http://www.tedsmodelingmarketplace.com/wheels-tires-1/?sort=bestselling&page=5 .

The trickier method is making them your self. There are a number of methods of doing this. Some guys hand lace their wire wheels using very fine copper wire or fine fishing line and a jig arrangement. This is something I am keen to try myself though haven't yet, so can't offer procedural specifics. Doing a search for wire wheel lacing on this forum or the other one will turn up some threads with tutorials/info.

Other methods of making wire wheels involves using guitar string, piano wire, or thin plastic strip to make individual spokes. Sounds cumbersome, but I have seen examples that were very convincing, much better looking than PE. Again, for specific methods I'd do a search.

This is all probably not much help. The PE market for these wheels was very good a few years ago with several good examples on the market, but for some reason very few PE makers are bothering with these.

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
       - Antoine de Saint-Exepury

Trevor

  • Member since
    March, 2019
  • From: East Lansing, MI
Posted by HUMMER931 on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 2:59 PM

Ted,

I understand the dilemma on wire wheels. Thanks for this info and the link to Ted's'.  There is a great assortment of 'speed products' to tug at one's pocket book here!  I spent a few minutes on the site and only scratched the surface.  The advent of 3D printing and resin casting are going to make more and more of this kind of details available.   

Brooks Stover

  • Member since
    October, 2015
Posted by Tim Boyd on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 5:26 PM

Norm Veber at Replicas and Miniatures of Maryland offered three different types of rail dragster front wheel sets, but he discontinued the products a few years ago. 

Might be worth it to keep your eyes out for a set at that auction site or at model car show vendor displays; they were very well done as you would expect from a product by Norm.   

TIM 

  • Member since
    March, 2019
  • From: East Lansing, MI
Posted by HUMMER931 on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 8:05 PM

Tim,

Thanks!  I'll keep my eyes open, as you suggest.  I spent some time on your website today and will go back again and again!  Thanks for sharing your terrific work so that we can all see it, even us 'johnny come latelies' to the car modeling family.  Your work is truely inspirational!  I've now subcribed to Scale Auto and even bought a couple of back issues with topics of particular interest.  I suspect I'll see lots of your work there as well.  Thanks again!

Brooks Stover

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • From: Seattle, WA
Posted by gbk1 on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 8:12 PM

By now, with the excellent overview everyone has given, you have an idea of what's out there as alternatives for realistic wire wheels for dragsters. I'll chime in with my perspective having used just about everything except lacing my own, and I seriously looked into that as well.

I'll start with the most elaborate and difficult method first, making your own jig and lacing your wheels. The jig is critical and you need to experiment a bit when you do because you need to decide on the hubs, rims and "wire" material you'll be using. The best looking hand laced dragster wheels use either very fine wire (.010" or less) or fishing line. You can use plastic hubs and rims from dragster kit, and now with Molotow, you can even get good chrome appearance once you're done. When I looked into it, not including hubs and rims (which would come from kits I had), I figured on $5.00 - $10.00 materials and several hours protyping and building a jig.

Right now there are no generally available photo-etch dragster wheels. The most realistic p/e wheels that I have used were Norm Veber's wheels and the result was quite good, although you could tell that the spokes were flat, not round like true wire wheels have. Norm's wheels, including hubs, tires and an assembly jig were under $20.00 including s&h, so I thought they were a good deal. Unfortunately, as was pointed out, he no longer offers them because his p/e supplier passed away. He's rumored to be working on a replacement line of wheels and tires. I would assume they will cost more than they did when they were last available. The rims and hub castings were superb, as you would expect from Replicas & Miniatures Co. of Md.

This is what you should look out for if you can find them. Be prepared for a bidding war is someone ever offers them:

Here's a picture of a completed set on a model I built a few years ago.

Recently I started using Curt Raitz's Tru-Wire wire wheels, which, as the name indicates, are true hand-laced wire wheels. They are probably the wheels you are referring to in your original post. They are the finest wire wheels I have ever used, and on par with the finest wire wheels in scale that you can buy currently. They are all-metal with stainless steel spokes and aluminum hubs and rims. For around $40.00 a set delivered, including tires and fully assembled, I think they are actually a bargain. Hand laced wire wheels for model airplanes in a comparable size can set you back $90.00 and more, and often that's for a kit you must lace yourself.

Here are a couple of models of mine showing Curt's wheels:

Bernard Kron Keep On Buildin'

  • Member since
    March, 2019
  • From: East Lansing, MI
Posted by HUMMER931 on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 8:26 PM

Bernard,

Thanks!  I saw several sizes of Curt's wheels on eBay.  It seems that if one wants wires now, Curt's the only game in town...which is fine as his wheels look great and the price is reasonable for the quality. 

Thanks,

Brooks Stover

  • Member since
    October, 2017
  • From: Arvada, CO
Posted by Straightliner1 on Sunday, April 07, 2019 4:49 AM

I built this one. I've also posted a photo of it on the dragster it will live on. It's really fairly easy, if you're willing to invest the time. If you're interested in trying them, I can post a how-to from the old StraightLineModeler website.

 DSC_0007cr by Daniel Himmel, on Flickr

 DSC_0001cr by Daniel Himmel, on Flickr

I build replicas of imaginary race cars.

 

  • Member since
    September, 2013
  • From: Tacoma, Washington
Posted by Gary Davis on Sunday, April 07, 2019 12:37 PM

Man Straightliner1...that wheel really looks good. A how to would be great.

Been a member since 2005. Had to reup after they made their change over in 2013

  • Member since
    December, 2003
  • From: Nova Scotia
Posted by Bainford on Sunday, April 07, 2019 4:14 PM

Gary Davis

Man Straightliner1...that wheel really looks good. A how to would be great.

 

ditto!

Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
       - Antoine de Saint-Exepury

Trevor

  • Member since
    October, 2017
  • From: Arvada, CO
Posted by Straightliner1 on Sunday, April 07, 2019 5:27 PM

[quote user="Bainford"]

Here you go! I haven't yet updated the how-to, but, I have found one method that is similar, that I have adopted part of, and I have added my own new step, which provides a much better-looking wheel.

The former of these involves using a razor saw, or a small file, to file/cut tiny slots around the rim, one, where each spoke meets the rim. This allows the new spokes to "nestle" into the rim. The latter involves using flattened "cones" on the outer side of each hub. The cones are made of 3/32" Evergreen tube. I simply turn one end of the tubing at an angle, against a sanding stick (see new wheel photo from my earlier post). This allows you to alternate whick side of the hub's flange the spokes are cemented to. To clarify: As you make the initial pass around the wheel, cement the spokes to the side of the hub facing you (the inner side of the wheel), on the second (opposing) pass, cement the ends of the spokes to the outer side of the hub. While the method works as shown, in the tutorial, the added part (cone) and the revision create a stronger, better-looking wheel, as compared to the photos of the dragster  featured in the tutorial. Either way, wheels built using the tutorial look much better than either kit wheels or photoetched wheels, because the spokes are more delicate, nor, are they flat-faced.

I would love to see more guys using this technique, so, if you have any questions, or need further clarification, please feel free to ask! Thanks for looking, and thanks for your interest!

 wire wheels b by Daniel Himmel, on Flickr

 Wire Wheels Addendum by Daniel Himmel, on Flickr

 

 

 

 

I build replicas of imaginary race cars.

 

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

SEARCH FORUMS

FREE MONTHLY NEWSLETTER
By signing up you may also receive reader surveys and occasional special offers. We do not sell, rent or trade our email lists. View our privacy policy