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How about Scale Steering Wheels? Custom Gauges too!

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  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: New Braunfels,Tx.
How about Scale Steering Wheels? Custom Gauges too!
Posted by Metalbender on Saturday, March 21, 2020 1:10 PM


     You know I read a lot about the Steering Wheel not being satisfactory in a build. I have come up with two solutions. one is to CAREFULLY trim the kit wheel with an X-Acto till it's scale thin. This goes for the horn ring too.

    The other method is harder and NOT for the Novice builder. Take brass rod stock the proper thickness and cut off a length.  Work it down to the proper circumference. Bring both the fully squared ends together and solder with Silver Solder. That's the rim.

    Now create the center and spoke assembly in plastic. Mount the ring with CA. The horn ring then becomes a thinner brass ring mounted to the backside of your assembly.

   Cover the horn ring with paint from a Molotow Pen. You can create clear Steering Wheel rims from clear plastic rod. Carefully using heat and bending around a brass or aluminum rod or tube the right inside diameter and gently applied heat.

   This doesn't seem like much does it? Doing this along with placing the wheel at the right angle makes or breaks an interior in my opinion. After all you don't see steering wheeels sitting on a car's seat do we?

    This is an often ignored area in car models, Except the competition guys. I will usually try to make the wheel the scale sized unit. This includes the shifter arm and turn signal stalk. Note. How many " Three on the tree" steering Wheel setups are right on model cars. Mostly, NONE! The for instance I will use, is the early 70s era FORD pickups. The Shifter shaft is in a tube on the top of the steering column!

   The Later 70s and 80s trucks put all this inside a trim tube inside the cab. This was always standard operating practice for cars of the era too. These little details can set the interior by the drivers side off big time.

       One thing I haven't much also is using custom gauges in the old dash configuration. 56 and 57 Fords and Chevies are great for this. Take the original engraving and carve it out smoothly. When using aftermarket medium and small gauges you can create the look of a nice curved or stacked group in the same area the original gauges were.

     Remember, this was done very often by the earlier rod builders. Custom too! Digital didn't happen till much later. There is a place near me called A&E customs. I see the results of different kinds of treatments here. For models I believe the shift to digital would result in Dash clusters and wheel  areas to be to plain in model form.

  • Member since
    September 2008
  • From: Texas
Posted by jkitman on Saturday, April 4, 2020 8:20 AM

I kinda feel the same way about spark plug wires.  In the early days of the automobile industry, there were just a few options for wires. Fabric covered and the generic black wires like Delco Packard wires on GM cars. In the 60s and 70s, I believe Fomoco did have some blue wires . It wasnt until somewhere around the early 70s that Accel and others came out with yellow wires. And the scale wires that are available, always seem too large to be scale and they are shiny. And I always think when I see a beautiful model that is supposed to be a factory replica, looks out of place with different colored wires. Just an observation. 

  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: New Braunfels,Tx.
Posted by Metalbender on Saturday, April 4, 2020 10:25 AM


  I remember Red and Green wires being sold at my local performance goods store back in the day. You could even get them in Clear with colored ends!

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Burleson, TX. Grew up in Pittsburg and Whitehouse TX
Posted by ModelTexan1 on Sunday, April 12, 2020 6:35 PM
Very good ideas in your post. Also, don't forget the 3D printer route. I have made steering wheels that way with very good results. It can be a lot of work in the CAD software for neophytes but once you have that down a steering wheel is pretty easy to design. I use a 0.2 mm nozzle rather than the "standard" 0.4 mm but you could probably make a decent one using either.
  • Member since
    December 2019
  • From: New Braunfels,Tx.
Posted by Metalbender on Sunday, April 26, 2020 3:38 PM

I would like to see one done on a Three-D printer. If it's as good as the " N " scale boats I have seen it would be the " Cat's Meow " !!


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