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i was a machining madman over the weekend

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  • i was a machining madman over the weekend

    a few weeks ago i picked up an old Fairbanks-Morse hit-n-miss engine and needed a cart to haul it around. there was an antique engine swap meet near me saturday, so i stopped by to pick up some wheels and a water pump (i bought the engine to power a water pump to water a garden i have). i found several sets of wheels and the pump, so next was to build the carts. one set of wheels is from some huge industrial cart. the bearings in each wheel are a bunch of rollers about 5/16" diameter and 3" long. the wheels probably weigh 20# each and i'm guessing the cart they came off of could probably hold 10 tons. these aren't your standard $10 Harbor Fright cast iron wheels.
    the other wheels just take a 7/8" shaft as the axle, no bearings in them.

    well the huge wheels need to be mounted to a shaft about 1.2" diameter. i happened to have some 1.5" shaft laying around, so i cut a chunk off to use for stub axles. no need to waste a 25" chunk of shaft when 12" and some 1 1/4" black pipe will work. i rarely use the power feed on my lathe unless i'm cutting threads or taking the final cut on something more than an inch or two long. for these stub shafts i needed a decent finish for the bearing to ride on, so i was making copious use of the power feed. the finish came out like brushed stainless, i was very happy.

    next i welded the stub shafts into the black pipe. i did the trick where you drill holes in the pipe and weld through the holes to the stub shaft. the stub shafts had to be machined down slightly (on the end opposite of where the bearing rides) to fit inside the black pipe, and i had to clean up the weld seam in the pipe, but the shafts were still a slight press fit. now that they are welded in place i don't think they will be going anywhere. the engine only weighs about 300#, so these wheels are about 100x overkill (they were only $10 apiece, so i'm not complaining).

    to keep the wheels on the axle and the bearings from falling out, a large washer is used. the washer needs to fit the axle and have about a 3.5" diameter. well, the local home supply store doesn't stock 1.2"x3.5" washers, and i'm guessing they would cost $10 apiece if they did. so, back to the trusty lathe. i've needed to make some large metal washers previously, so i have a short piece of 1.25" tubing with a 1.5" disk on the end. what i do is find a suitable piece of metal laying around, and tack weld it to the "washer maker", and then chuck it up in the lathe. once i cut the OD to the needed size, i grind the welds off to remove the disk from the "washer maker" and pop the disk in the lathe to bore the ID and clean off any remaining weld bumps. it works pretty good and for a few minutes of my time, a few inches of MIG wire, and a piece of scrap metal, i can make any size washer/disk i need.

    i did a similar procedure for the front wheels, only used some 1/2" and 3/4" black pipe. tonight i need to make the front steering pivot and weld up the cart frame. i'll also have to add a few photos, since what good is a story without any pictures?

    this story may have been boring, but at least it didn't involve computer crashes, space telescopes, or flu pandemics.

    andy b.
    The danger is not that computers will come to think like men - but that men will come to think like computers. - some guy on another forum not dedicated to machining

  • #2
    Fabrication jobs like that are really fun. You don't have to sweat the last .0005" and you can really see what you have done when you are finished. It is normally easy and fast work that gives a good sense of accomplishment.


    • #3
      "Washer Maker"

      Make sure you include pictures of your "washer Maker" jig/device or whatever! That sounds like something that might come in handy!