Wheeling machine

wheeling machine

This is the wheeling machine I built back in about 1990. I was very loosely based on the one shown in Ron Fournier's book "Metal Fabricator's Handbook/ Race & Custom Car".

The ram utilises a lead screw from an old milling machine which I was fortunate to obtain complete with fixed hub and nut.

Over the years it has seen very little use, mainly some practice pieces which proved it worked and seemed to work quite well, and one actual piece for a patch in a spare wheel well. People I have spoken to who know about them said some fabricated ones are not that good so maybe I was lucky. If I get the opportunity I shall have to get someone who knows how to use one properly to give it a try. I have been told to be wary of old cast iron ones, often seen second hand, as they can be sprung too easily in inexperienced hands and so don't work well.

wheel detail

Detail showing Ø177mm upper wheel. This was made from 4130 steel and ideally would have been larger (Ø230mm) but was the largest available at the time.

The Ø73mm lower wheel can be changed rapidly during use by using the lever on the left of the yoke. Rotating this lowers the wheel about 5mm removing the load and providing clearance to allow its removal without altering the ram height.


The wheels showing the various curvatures to suit the panel being made.

The wheels were drilled and reamed to suit a taper mandrel for the later profiling op, the bearing bores bored, ends faced, and the outer surface rough turned cylindrical. They were then transfered to a lathe with a hydraulic tracing attachment and mounted on a taper mandrel for finish turning to the required shape. As the tracer could not do the entire profile, one half was done then the wheel was turned end for end and the other half finished.

The material wasn't certain but was from a local gear company and was quite tough to machine. The wheels are unhardened.