I have heard some rumors about a model t wheel where they replaced the wood spokes with aluminum spokes. does anyone have any information or pictures that I could see? one thing that i am very interested in is whether they where machined or cast? Thanks for your time. Matt P.
The video is for sale on mtfca website, showing the aluminum
look under "spoke tightening" in the video section.
Can I purchase the spokes through anyone? And if i buy the video does it tell me about them and where i can buy them or have them made or is it just a little exert? thanks for your help -Matt P.
I saw a guy at the Bakersfield, CA swapmeet last spring selling aluminum-spoked wheels. They used the Ford hub and new clincher rim. The spokes and felloe were cast in one piece. The finished product was powdercoated in black and the result was beautiful. From an inch away it was impossible to tell it was not a perfect wood wheel with one of the best paint jobs you have ever seen.
The only "aesthetic" down side, if you could call it that, is the wheels are (or were) only available in non-demountable type. I'm a little curious about how the aluminum takes radial stress and thrust, but the number of aluminum and alloy wheels in use on modern cars tends to point toward satisfactory - if not superior - strength, but I still wonder. This may call for some field tests!
Ever since I saw them I've had visions of white tires mounted on those glittering black beauties dancing in my head.
I can tell you, if I can find that guy's name and contact information, I'm going to buy a set.
Dan -- If you find that info, please post it here.
It sounds like the wheel was cast. Hopefully it was done at a reputable foundry and of a good alloy because poor quality cast aluminum parts can fracture pretty easy.
So why couldn't I have a machine shop copy a new wood spoke and make it out of aluminum? And do you think others would be interested in buying a couple sets (group buy)? if anyone is interested post up and ill get the ball rolling in learning if its feasible. Matt P.
anyone think there would be a problem with just replacing the wood with aluminum spokes? and what is the interest out there if i had enough made for 4 cars 3 other than mine?
I was interested in making them out of carbon fiber or fiberglass, but could not find anyone in my area that could do the job. If they were made out of aluminum, you may be able to weld them together after putting them in the felloe, to make a "cluck-proof" wheel and for extra strength. I wonder what that noise would be like - metal clucking...
The entire thing, spokes and rim, could be cut from solid aluminum stock on a cnc machine, but who is willing to make the program and present the obviously enormous cost?
I Saw some menonite buggies in Lancaster PA that had metal spokes an a hub that looked like brake but to small a OD, Alternators, could not believe my eyes. The spokes lookes perfect wood but were metal.
How about plastic spokes could be done with modern day plastic compounds injected molding process just a thought.
mtfca from 91
I think that plastic would be cheaper and lighter, but it wouldn't be period correct for a car that was built between 1909 and 1927. I guess if you where going to paint them it wouldnt matter, but my idea is to be able to polish them and paint them. but if people wouldnt be willing to pay the price of aluminum plastic is always an option. Matt P.
I would guess that aluminum spokes might retail at up to $15 each if a thousand or more were manufactured. With 12 spokes per wheel, this is a possible cost of $180 per wheel. The felloe end of the spoke would have to have a radius to match the felloe which is a little more complicated to machine. The hub end of the spokes when assembled would have to fit the hub with about a .003" press fit and I am unsure if it is posible to do this with the variance in felloes and hubs that are out there. The best way to do it so they would work in all wheels of a given size would be to have the spokes made a few thousandths of an inch too long, and then have the center of the wheel with the spokes in place bored on center to fit the hub with a .002"-.003" press fit. If you don't have the ability to do this yourself, and have to have it done at a local machine shop, your costs may increase substantially.
1,000 spokes is about 21 cars worth. If there are enough people interested, I would be glad to look into having them made.
Adam's Antique Auto Parts, LLC
plastic spokes could be any color and shape with your name or ford script put on them. not for a true restore be nice on a speedster. i have been looking for the light up plug wires they use on the OCC mortorcycles would be easy to trouble shoot coil problems
Wonderful idea! I have a kit car (Gazelle) and I have been looking for a mag type wheel that would resemble the wood spoke wheels of the '20's.
A few years ago I saw a car on e-bay that had wood attached to the flat metal spokes of a a steel spoke wheel. I can't imagine the noise and vibration that would cause. Looked good however.
Wish you guys luck with the project. If you're successful maybe the hot-rodders (shudder) and imitators like myself will benefit!
I think some entrepenure is missing a good market.
I would think they could be investment cast to size in 356-T6 at a reasonable cost.
I had also questioned whether a plastic molded spoke would be practical. Urethane is an especially veristile polymer compond that can be either cast in thermoplastic or thermoset technologies. The benefits of this material are that it can be molded in any desire durometer, and one could install internal invisible steel reinforcements to ensure absolutely positive strength. It can also be cast in unlimitred UV resistant colors that could facilitate nice looking color matches. Not especially cheap though. Like everything else, efficiencies of scale may be able to reduce costs to a reasonable level.
The fellow at the Bakersfield swap meet with the cast aluminum spoke wheels is HCCA member Jeff Beaumont from Atascadero, CA. He has cast these wheels using excellent original wheels and so they have the wood grain pattern cast in. He intends to offer them for sale. His contact information is phone 805-466-8370 and email is email@example.com. I spoke with Jeff this morning before posting and he welcomes all inquires and can send email pictures of the wheels that he is producing. Hope that this helps some folks with their projects.
i have a set of wheels cast in 6061-t6 aluminum that were used on amusement park rides made in the '70 s...they take 3.50 X 19 motorcycle tires...they are quite accurate in size and are cast in one piece. i modified them by boring thru to the dia of a T hub and drilled 6 3/8 holes so they bolt directly to a T wood wheel hub...i have driven many miles with them in a speedster and even raced at monterey historics a couple of times..no problems. all it would take is a good set of drawings, a good pattern maker [no cores]and a good cnc shop...once painted the only way you can tell is it "tings" when hit with a hammer...biggest problem is the same with all castings, money up front for patterns, and final per piece cost depends on total number made.
i do know a bit about this stuff as i restored a couple bugattis that needed new parts that were not available so i had to have casting patterns made as well as forging dies for just a few parts, the value of the car can easily affect the restoration budget.
i also think the individual spoke idea would be impractical for many reasons.
What's lacking in new Shagbark Hickory spokes? Neither aluminum nor steel is as strong for its weight as shagbark hickory. Up to the point of breaking, Hickory will always spring back to its original shape, unlike aluminum or steel. Steel spokes were tried in the 1920s, per Fahnestock, and found to bend too easily. This is from Ford literature:
which is exactly why my honda S2000 came with pressure cast aluninum wheels ...no shagbark hickory was offered as an option.
seriously, bugatti introduced sandcast alloy flat blade wheels in 1924 to take 710X90 clincher tires [close to 30X31/2]...i raced a t-37 grand prix bug for many years and had no problems...
and speaking of breaking..i watches a wood front wheel fail at the hub end of the spokes at turn 2 at laguna seca a few years back..only luck kept the guy shiny side up...it's no coincidence track racers went to wire wheels in the early teens.
As for alternative spoke material, I just found these on ebay. It says they are steel spoked.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Accessory-steel-spoke-wheels-30x3-5-Model-T-Ford_ W0QQitemZ200165502079QQihZ010QQcategoryZ140747QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewI tem
I always thought it would be something to have al wheels on a T, but somehow I feel I would prefer to keep the wood on mine.
What's lacking in new Shagbark Hickory spokes?
They break when you drag the car down the highway sideways.
No, they don't. Oak spokes made by ignorant/unscrupulous vendors break with side load - in a 10mph skid.
Does that say pine on the sellers box??
Lets be fair Ricks, you seem to have alot of problems. You dragged your car sideways behind your motorhome on a towbar - not using a trailer. Newsflash, Model T's were not designed to be towed behind motorhomes! 1 MPH 10 MPH or 100 MPH does not matter. Your actions caused that damage so you blame the wood. What about the fire, and what else? You took all the other mistakes off your website, why? http://pweb.netcom.com/~rickydik/safety/safe3b27.html You find all the reasons through complex analysis too, how about sucking it up and saying "boy that was a stupid thing to do" instead?
This is not really a personal attack although I guess maybe it is aimed solely at you. I just can't stand for your cruisade to protect the world from rouge oak spokes or evil carburators any longer. Pine? Yeah, that's dumb, but Oak has been run (by you and others) for thousands and thousands of miles - properly - without problems. Did you add these spokes after the great race and all those miles? Answer this because I don't know. I do agree hickory is better, but oak is not as evil as you make it out to be.
Sign your name, Bud. You are obviously running oak spokes and in denial about it and ashamed to admit it.
Yes, there's oak, and then there's oak. My spokes were red oak, the weakest, most brittle kind. Still, Ford and others of the era used hickory, and not oak of any kind, for good reason.
Found any old hammer handles made of oak? Of course not.
If you were literate, you would know my caution about carbs was to use an aircleaner or screen to prevent backfires, a well known practice.
Uh, I don't drive a motorhome; never have. And I haven't removed any articles from my websites. They are not all on the same one, because that site was at its limit.
The aluminum spokes in the MTFCA tape were machined from billet aluminum.
If someone could come up single spoke mold I
could aproch ALCOA only live a mile from their wheel factory here in Beloit, Wi
Just a thought, instead of making individual spokes out of aluminum, would it be possible to CNC machine the entire wheel out of one piece aluminum? With all the custom wheels being made now for cars and motorcycles, I would think this would be possible. It would probably make a much stronger wheel than if you used individual spokes, but it would probably cost a fortune!
the actual machining would cost less than the billet of 7075.....unless you have slugs pressure cast...and then the machining program and machine set-up..however growing at tree at today's hourly shop rate....
About 10 yeaes ago I went to a fall steam show in Janesvill Wi. A fellow model T owner had on desplay a WW1 model T ambulance with 8 spoke cast wheels looked ok.one could cut down on the nr of spokes. One of the model T clubs i think had an article on this car.