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Printed Front Wheels

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  • Printed Front Wheels

    I have been building custom slotcar chassis using a lot of 3D printed parts. But I had been using purchased aluminum wheels, both back and front. And that has caused a lot of frustration, because finding the right size wheels and tires has been difficult.

    For the front wheels and tires I decided to try printing my own. Again. Early experiments had not been successful. But I have learned a lot since then.

    For starters I have developed a set of what I call "gauge wheels". I've printed out a set that range in size from 16 millimeters in diameter up to 22 millimeters, by increments of 1 millimeter. I can use those to help set up my chassis.

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    Once I've decided on the diameter front wheel I need I can design it in my CAD program, then port it to my copy of the Cura 4.12.1 slicing program for the Macintosh. The STL file that produces can be put in my Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D filament printer. I use a TPU (ThermoPlastic Urethane) filament made by NovaMaker. It is a fairly hard urethane, but still rolls nicely. I print with the nozzle at 225C and the bed at 50C. Print speed is 50mm/second.

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    The printed part integrates both the wheel and the tire. Fresh off the printer it is concentric to about +/- 0.002 inches (+/- 0.05mm) as measured with a dial indicator. After running it on my Professor Motor tire truing machine I can get it concentric to within +/- 0.0005 inches (+/- 0.013mm).

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    I've designed the wheel so it has a conical taper with the largest diameter near the outside face. This gives me close to the maximum wheel-to-wheel track while reducing the road contact area to a minimum.

    The wheel gets a bushing made from brass tubing and spins freely on an aluminum stub axle, so the car has independent front wheels. I have paper appliques of wire wheels to make the wheels more presentable.

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    The design freedom I achieve in designing and printing my own wheel/tires is a big help in creating custom chassis. So far I'm pretty happy with the finished product.

    Ed Bianchi
    Attached Files
    HO RacePro
    HRW Forum Veteran
    Last edited by HO RacePro; December 20, 2021, 11:29 AM.
    Ed Bianchi
    York Pennsylvania USA

  • #2
    Yup, many of us have been using printed fronts for awhile....

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    And some of us (horror of horrors) actually have used printed rears as well. They work fine for replacement wheels on home type cars. When Fly cars break hubs (for the second or third time and the ring trick doesn't work anymore) printed wheels are easy and they sand true very quickly. To be very frank, your wheels will be more true if you slow your print speed, but that's a settings choice.

    Aluminum still rules for big tracks but for home tracks and mild motors, printed wheels are fine.
    Come Race at The Trace!
    Timberline Trace International Raceway - SW of Mpls, MN
    https://www.thingiverse.com/chappyman66/designs

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    • #3
      The last 20 or so cars that got fitted a 3dp chassis were also fitted with 3dp wheels printed in PETG.Grub screws are 2.5 mm and use2 screws on each wheel.

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      • chappyman66
        chappyman66
        HRW Forum Veteran
        chappyman66 commented
        Editing a comment
        Alexis, I agree.... everything I build for 18k or less motor gets printed wheels now. A flat on the axle and they work fine.

      • Barc 1
        Barc 1
        HRW Forum Veteran
        Barc 1 commented
        Editing a comment
        I use printed rear wheels on all my home cars. They are printed with a 1/8 th bore. I then sleeve them with aluminium tubing slightly squashed. This makes a tight press fit

    • #4
      I call those gig wheels, they used to be available for 1/24th scale cars at least.

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    • #5
      I was printing front wheels. Mine were designed with a groove to accept an o-ring. This made them much quieter as I found the plastic wheels on their own were very noisy.

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      I have a new method now. I print the wheel hub with a flange at the rear. I found some rubber hose that I cut and use for tires. This is profiled once on the wheel. The rubber is too hard for traction wheels, but it is great for a no grip front wheel. This is my go to method now

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      Attached Files
      Barc 1
      HRW Forum Veteran
      Last edited by Barc 1; December 22, 2021, 11:07 AM.
      Cheers

      Dan
      G.P Alberta

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