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How to Make Model Car Wire Wheels

Updated February 21, 2017

Creating model cars requires special attention to details. The more authentic the details, the better the final result will be. Wire wheels are one detail on model cars that can add a significant amount of authenticity to the model. Pre-made wire wheels can be purchased for model cars, but they often lack the realistic appearance that many model makers prefer. The other option is to make the wheels yourself.

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  1. Use sandpaper to smooth the inside edges of the rim halves.

  2. Place a wheel template showing how the spokes will be positioned on the top of a balsa block. Use a straight pin placed through the 1/8 inch by 3/32 inch styrene tubing, which will be the wheel hub, to hold it in place on the template.

  3. Position one wheel rim half on top of the template. Bend three straight pins 3/8 of an inch up from the point of the pin at a 90 degree angle. Insert the pins at equal distances around the wheel rim to hold it in place. Make sure the pins are tight against the edge of the rim of the wheel. Press the pins into the balsa block.

  4. Use the tweezers to position the spokes according to the template. Cement all of the spokes that go the same direction into place first. Use the craft cement to secure one end of the spoke to the centre wheel hub and the other end of the spoke to the top of the wheel rim. It's OK for the spokes to extend past the edge of the rim. Repeat this process for the spokes that go in the other direction. Repeat the entire process for the other half wheel rim.

  5. Use a sharp utility knife to trim the spokes to the exact length of the wheel rim. Take care not to dislodge the spoke from the wheel rim.

  6. Join the two halves of the wheel rim together with crafting cement.

  7. Paint the rim with chrome paint to finish the appearance of the rim. Place a tire over the rim when the paint is dry.

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Things You'll Need

  • Model wheel spokes
  • 3/32 inch styrene tubing 1/8-inch long
  • 4 styrene disks for rims
  • Crafting cement
  • Tweezers
  • Utility knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Balsa block
  • Straight pins
  • Wheel template

About the Author

Lynn Rademacher

Lynn Rademacher started writing in 2001, covering technology, family and finance topics. Her writing has appeared in "Unique Magazine" and the "Ortonville Independent," among other publications. Rademacher holds a Bachelor of Arts in mass communication from South Dakota State University.

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