Perfectly round wheels are the key to a smooth-rolling wooden toy. There are many ways to get a perfectly round wheel. Lathes, band saws and routers can all be used for good results. One simple way to get the results you need can be done with tools you may already have in your toolbox. It produces perfect wheels in almost any size quickly and inexpensively.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Plywood or pine board
- Hole saw
Decide what size wheels your toy will need. Remember to take axle placement, and any possible obstructions into consideration when choosing wheel size. Make them large enough to keep the toy well off the ground, while keeping them in scale with the rest of the toy.
Select a piece of cabinet-grade plywood or soft, solid wood, such as pine, large enough to cut as many wheels as you need for your toy. Choose a hole saw the right size for your wheels. Set it into the drill and tighten the chuck. Clamp your wood to a flat, sturdy surface with the section you intend to cut your wheel from extending away from the work surface to prevent cutting into it.
Cut the wheel from your wood with the hole saw. Set the point of the centre bit where you want the centre of your wheel to be. Hold the bit steady to prevent the bit from "walking" across the material. Run the drill at high speed to get the smoothest cut. Apply steady pressure and keep the drill upright as it cuts through the board. Allow the saw to cut through at its own pace to prevent it from penetrating the other side of the material.
Push the wheel out of the hole saw using a screwdriver or other narrow tool. Push the screwdriver through the holes in the back of the hole saw against the wood wheel to press it from the saw. Do not touch the hole saw blade with your bare hands until it has had time to cool down. Repeat the cutting process for as many wheels as you need. Move the material each time so that the area you are cutting from is over an open space.
Sand the edges and face of the wheel smooth. Round the edges slightly. Round edges with a round-over bit on a router table for a more finished look.
Attach the wheels to your toys with a 1/4-inch dowel axle through the hole made by the centring bit. Glue the dowel into position with wood glue. Allow the glue to dry thoroughly before rolling the toy.
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