View Full Version : Crowning touch English wheel

Eric Pfeifer
03-15-2006, 03:50 PM
Hello--I'm a first timer to this forum. I am building Peter Stenabaugh's English wheel, and am lucky to live close to the midwest's largest steel supplier (they also sell scrap and small pieces directly to the public!). I came across some extension arms made of 1/2 inch thick 4x6 inch HSS of the right length--dirt cheap. As a single tube, they have only two vertical "webs," but the the amount of metal in those webs is equal to 4 vertical webs from using two seperate 2x6 pieces of 1/4 inch thickness. When I recall (perhaps incorrectly) the engineering determinants of beam deflection, it seems to me that the single (thicker) piece should behave very closely to the two-piece (thinner wall) configuration, and require a lot less welding. Am I correct, or should I quit pretending to think like a structural engineer and use the pieces as stated?

Eric Pfeifer

Norman Atkinson
03-15-2006, 04:15 PM
Nice to have you on board.Come on guys, all together now " Nice to see you, nice"

Now somewhere you will see my rude remarks to David Cofer about his English Wheel thingy.

Having used - a proper one- build yours like a brick **** house- and it still will be too weak.

Come on, David, tell the man!


03-15-2006, 05:23 PM
Sorry Eric, I know nothing about E/wheels but what I read here.

But welcome anyway.
Listen,learn,share Your knowlage, and you will do well here.

The tame Wolf !

03-15-2006, 07:02 PM
Too weak for what? If you're rolling 1/4" plate then yeah, you might need a beefer frame. I roll 20 and 18ga. all the time with my shop built wheel. Does just what I want it to do. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif


03-15-2006, 07:09 PM
CCWKen...that's nice looking work...do you have a picture of your wheel you can post?

03-15-2006, 07:32 PM
I've posted pictures here of mine before. Get Norm to post pictures of his. I'm sure it's much better.

Norman Atkinson
03-16-2006, 02:10 AM
I got my City and Guilds in Motor Vehicle Repair and Restoration 20 years ago- after I retired. I used an old British Archdale which was capable of making a whole motor car. Using my failing arithmetic, this is half a working lifetime ago!

Despite the distance of age, my experiences then have been recently confirmed in these Forums.

Do remember, however, that the car bodies which were "wheeled" were done on using massive wheeling machines- and pushed through by hand. 20 odd years ago, I went through this business with the French owner of a handbuilt Delahaye- and a fleet of of Hotchkisses.JC was far too young- as a child of the War- to appreciate why the front wings of his DLH were actually "odd"
compared to those on his series of modern Mercs.

Might I add a little Wisdom?
It is now the 70th Anniversary of the Spitfire. Much of it was made on English Wheeling Machines. Today, these aircraft are still in the skies- and have been rebuilt and rebuilt- on what I am talking about- English Wheels.

Just as a sneaky remark, the old Spitty was the the only fighter aircraft to start in the War- and the finish it. Those of us who were involved in such things- and we had two Squadrons plus three VIP kites- were not exactly stumbling in the dark.
Check your records- SL 721 is still in San Diego Museum- and flies. Check your records- and somewhere in the 700's- the servicing records- John Arthur Leggett of RAF 31 Squadron will appear- looking after "Jimmy" Robb's duck egg blue PR Spitty with the Griffon engine up in the sharp end.
My Devon- VP-981 the hack of the the RAF Memorial Flight of the Spit, the Hurri and the Lanc is still in the Air. Another of my old Devons is still in the care of the RAF Museum- along with my two Antarctic Austers.

I am sorry- but Eric is our new protege. He needs the Best Advice.
I am doing the Family History- there were engineers from 1730.

I feel a snide remark or two- and I resent it!


Eric Pfeifer
03-16-2006, 05:05 AM
Many thanks so far. I am building this thing as close to a BSH as I can (using 6 inch schedule 80 instead of 40 pipe for the rear post, etc). It will be heavy, but certainly not like the beautiful arched machines of yesteryear--can't spend the money nor have the space to accomodate one of these and my other projects. I want a machine with which to explore the plastic side of metal (and make repair panels for my '39 Ford truck, etc). Peter Stenabaugh's machine caught my eye as something I could make successfully. I've got access to "cheap" pieces of structural steel, and am wondering about substitutions for the various parts and how they might behave.

I recently saw a Spitfire in the Museum of Flight in Seattle--beautiful. The rear instrument cover of the Apollo spacecraft service module is a giant piece of hand-formed stainless steel sheet. It looks like it has both beading and wheeling operations applied to it.

Norman Atkinson
03-16-2006, 05:41 AM
Thank you for your thoughts and praise for a wonderful old girl. Still got me an engine basher mate- carries the old duster for us- then boys.

I think that the stronger that you build your wheel the better you get the results.
The one that I used was almost as heavy as a Spitty.

Who knows, I might see the results of your labours. Mind your hands, that metal can be razor sharp!


03-16-2006, 06:41 AM
Be mindless about what they say, the kevlar gloves with the pvc dots are the best damn thing that ever happened to sheetmetal work.

I keep burning the dots off. NO slippage, grab a friend by his upper arm and watch his face. I wish I had them gloves years ago.

I'd like to find some leather gloves with the dots.

03-16-2006, 02:35 PM
I use the sheepskin-like welder's gloves Dave. I like the long cuffs because it protects my wrists around sheet metal. They're also thin enough that you can move your fingers and pick up tools or whatever.

Norm, it WAS a slight poke and I appologize. But, there's no need to look down your nose at other peoples tools because they don't meet YOUR standards. The argument over larger machines will go on forever. You are right, as others, that bigger and heavier is better. It would be nice to have unlimited space and cash but that's not the case for many. Some of us make do with what we have.

I'd like to have 500 ton press but that's not going to happen. I'd like to have a 1/4" plate shear, a 50-ton roller, 000ga. bender and the list goes on. What I have space and assets for may limit the speed of what I can do but no way limits what I can do.

I painted my first show car with a $19 spray gun from Gibsons Dept. Stores. (Pre K-mart and Wally World) Tallent and craftsmanship is not based on tools alone.

03-16-2006, 04:27 PM
Since no one else seems to be inclined to address the issue you're asking about Eric, I will. Although I have no idea what a 4x6 HSS is I'm guessing it's a 6" x 4" 1/2" wall rectangular tube(TS6x4x1/2). And if I guessed correctly you want to substitute a TS6x4x1/2 for something else. You'd like someone to tell you if this substitution will be adequate from a structural standpoint. Without knowing what was originally called for it is impossible to determine if they're comparable. What is specified in the design your working with?


Eric Pfeifer
03-16-2006, 04:55 PM
Many, many thanks. The design as specified in this month's THSM calls for a pair of appx. 54 inch long 6" x 2" 1/4 " wall rectangular structural steel tubes, welded together lengthwise to make a 6 x 4 inch extension arm for the wheeling machine. I have some nice (but awfully heavy) 6" x 4" 1/2" wall rectangular steel tube. Seems to me this would give the same deflection under load as the two thinner tubes together. And it would mean a lot less welding fumes in my lungs, less time, and less warpage.

Norman Atkinson
03-16-2006, 05:06 PM
Apologies accepted and mine given too!
I'm more than crusty as I lost my little God child at the age of 29. Her Dad was a lot younger than me and I had to be God Father- Father confessor then. He was one of those poor buggers that was a real engineer- Merchant Navy and Royal Navy and we pissed in the same pot- a million years ago.

I think it important that our Eric has the best advice.I hate to think just how much a
decent wheeling machine will cost- assuming that I could get a big enough crane to lift the beast. I sort of checked with my mates still in the car business- and nope- they can all use them but theirs have gawn- gawn!
So Eric, build it like a Bridge- Big and strong. Do what our CCWKen and David suggest about hands. Hint- my left one got caught in the electric wood planer- won't ever eat mince again! Then, someone planed another bit off to stick over the hole that I had made.

On that cautionary note- take care.


Eric Pfeifer
03-16-2006, 05:15 PM
Will do, Norm, thanks. I was filing some burrs off mild plate steel once and my hand slipped--a sharp edge went lengthwise along my left index finger right down to the bone. Didn't even notice or feel a thing until I saw blood dripping all over my file.
I have great respect for the edges of metal.

03-16-2006, 05:22 PM
Actually one TS6x4x1/2 is stiffer and stronger than two TS6x2x1/4s placed side-by-side by about 28%, and it's only about 16% heavier, so it will actually be a better choice. Go for it.


Norman Atkinson
03-16-2006, 05:54 PM
Just for the record, I cam out out a mining village on Tyneside- a stone's throw from where George Stephenson, the railway engineer was born. My father was the colliery blacksmith. His father was and his father was the same. Somewhere, there may be more hiding away but you have a clue now.
Things have moved on- but I can still go back and be welcomed.
I get somewhat embarassed with the kisses thrust upon me by those who were the local blonde bombshells. Most of them have moustaches now- well? I'm no oil painting either-but!


Eric Pfeifer
03-16-2006, 06:00 PM
Thank you. I have already started cutting these pieces to proper length. I thought they should be at least equivalent to one another, albeit heavier for the 1/2 inch tube. Without delving in the engineering formula for beam stiffness and deflection, I suppose the 16% extra material (and the orientation of this material) accounts for the 28% extra stiffness. Correct?

Well, here we go...time to turn on the MIG.

03-16-2006, 06:46 PM
Beams are stronger with material far away from the center. Thus your hollow rectangular beam uses material better than the two welded together.

The extra wall thickness doesn't hurt either!

03-16-2006, 07:43 PM
The greater strength (and weight) results from the greater wall thickness of the top and bottom.


03-16-2006, 07:51 PM
"Hello--I'm a first timer to this forum. I am building Peter Stenabaugh's English wheel, and am lucky to live close to the midwest's largest steel supplier (they also sell scrap and small pieces directly to the public!).

Well first off, Hi! I'm new here too; great bunch of guys with alot of knowledge here!! Second, do you mind me asking where/what this steel supplier is? I live in Illinois and am always interested in a source for cheap "scrap" steel!

Eric Pfeifer
03-16-2006, 09:01 PM
McNeilus Steel in Dodge Ctr., Minnesota. They have a "retail" store that stocks half lengths (usually 10-12 feet) of anything the mother ship has. In the back room is lots of random scrap, either cutoffs or factory band saw "mistakes." Across the railroad tracks is Lin's Iron. Between the two, I can get just about any piece I need (if I look and wait) for 15 cents to 20 cents a pound, respectively. Last week I drove up in my pickup, put 289 pounds of really nice stuff (no rust, still wet with band saw lubricant) on the scale, and paid the man 46 bucks. Can't beat it.