I have some friends who are interested in replicating some old metal cart wheels out of wood. I decided to see what I could do with my Carvewright CNC router.
I spent an hour or two playing with the software. I actually draw the shapes up in AutoCAD then import them into the Carvewright software. This allows me to assign cutting tools to the individual lines. I made two versions, one is double-sided and will need a 1-3/4″ thick blank. Since I didn’t have one at hand, I ran the second version. Basically I split the wheel in half and mirrored it. When the carver is done, I will just glue the two halves together.
I cut a blank of red oak down to size and loaded it in.
The program ran for about five hours. I left some tabs to hold the center plugs in place. There is really no point in carving them away, that would only double the time spent carving.
I simply cut away the tabs with a small cutting bit in a Dremel tool, and removed the plugs.
I didn’t put tabs on the outside edge, just cut most of the way through. It was easy to make the final cut-outs on the bandsaw and clean up the remaining wood on the scroll saw.
I applied some wood glue and clamped up the two halves for a couple of hours.
Final step was to cut a 3/4″ hole, in the center, on the drill press. I programmed the CNC to place a pilot hole in the center, but it was way faster to drill it out myself.
While the wooden wheel is the same dimensions as the steel one, it is significantly more brittle. Future versions will probably have to be thicker for strength, but this test piece definitely shows that the wheel can be replicated.