Just picked up the first sample from the foundry today. Had excellent results from the new pattern. The casting will be on display at the Bakersfield swap meet, space D-6. No time to finish it before then.
New Buffalo wheel center cast from chromolly steel will be available soon. Wheel centers will be fully CNC machined and ready to use. Will interchange with original Buffalo/House design.
These wheel centers allow me to supply all parts in the Buffalo/House wheel system. Wheel centers, spokes, rims, hubs, hub nuts, hub puller, hub nut wrench.
Please contact me directly for more information. I will continue to post progress updates on this project
New casting on the left, original on the right
A little more grinding to smooth out the casting, and then the machine work is soon to follow.
All the lathe work turned out great!! Now just the "couregated drive" and the spoke holes to go.
Were the originals cast? I always assumed they were stamped steel.
You are right Derek. The jury is still out as to wether or not they were stamped or spun. But they were formed from sheet metal none the less.
I considered forming my reproductions from sheet like the originals... But the tooling costs were waaaaaay too expensive for the projected volumes. I just don't see me making wheels by the 10,000's.
Casting the wheel centers allows me to provide a relatively affordable low volume manufacturing option and still maintain excellent material quality.
Any plans to sell complete ready to go wheels?
Yes, my plan is to offer all the components of the wheels individually, as well as complete assembled wheels.
It certainly is nice to see that fine work.
Today's project was to get the corrugated drive under control. Turns out it wasn't as straight forward as I had hoped... But I had success in the end.
With any luck I will get the spoke holes drilled and get it laced into a rim this weekend!!
All laced up and ready to true!!!
The first production batch will be about 36 wheels. And should become available later this summer or early fall. Almost all of these wheels are spoken for already.
Feel free to call with all your Buffalo wheel needs. From a single spoke to a complete set of wheels and hubs
How much will these wheels cost?
Could this explain why there were so many sets of original wire wheels for sale a Chickasaw?
I'm not sure yet Brandon. The foundry poured this one prototype to prove that the pattern would work. They haven't even told me what the raw castings will cost yet. I hope to get the prices figured out in the near future.
After a number of inquiries as to why I chose to machine the corrugated drive instead of casting the final shape, I have decided to post a few pics in an effort to explain why. All of these pics are of complete wheels, tight and true, mounted on one of my new hubs and properly tightened.
First is a pic showing an original stamped steel wheel center and how it interfaces with the hub.
Second is a reproduction cast wheel center of unknown origin. Notice the obvious air gap between the components. This gap is typical of at least half of the corrugations. And also typical of foundry tolerances.
Third is my new casting, having been fully CNC machined it is a perfect fit with no slop or air gap on the hub.
There are some things that a foundry does well, unfortunately tight tolerances is not one of them. I am committed to building a high quality finished product, and this feature is an important part of that commitment.
Kevin - the integrity of your work shows you know what is important to get it right. Glad to know there is a skilled craftsman out there putting out important products for people that need them. Have a great day. Bill