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Wheels on rubber band planes

It’s fun to put wheels on a rubber band plane. Commercial ones are heavy so interfere with your airplane.

Traditionally people make them from balsa. This is a little tricky.

One method I used in the past is to glue two sheets of balsa together cross grain. Then rough cut out a wheel and glue in a piece of brass as the hub. Mount the hub in a drill chuck and turn it with sandpaper. I’ve used a wood doweling in place of the brass. That works well too. You just slice off and drill it out to match the wire.

In these pictures you can some of the wheels that Lloyd Shales has shared with me. They are laser cut balsa and use brass tubing. This is much easier than making them entirely by hand.

He uses a jig for bending the wire.

I’ve been studying this problem as well. Here’s what I’m doing. I’ve got paper ones that work pretty well. Much lighter than plastic. I’m using some beads as the bearing as well. This is light and inexpensive.

I’m looking at methods of bending the wire too. A CNC wire bender has been in the works but I’m not satisfied that it’s needed yet. I’m still coming up with some alternate bending patterns.

I think both these wheel making methods are nice. I added both Lloyd’s and my wheel samples to my portable lab so I can start testing them and having some fun.

I just boxed up two shipments of wheels to go to two locations in India for testing. If you’d like to test them be sure to send me a note while I’m still working on this.