# Wheels

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#### pictsidhe

##### Well-Known Member
I thought we could benefit from threads exchanging info on possible stuff to build planes from. this one is about wheels that aren't approved for aircraft use. I've been looking for suitable wheel and tyre combinations ofr my project and have just bought some in the UK as I can't get them in the US. I have also have two that are available here and measured those up too. Weights are really hard to find on anything, though Amazon sometimes lists weights now.

First up, plastic 4.80/4.00-8 wheelbarrow wheels. You cannot get these in the US. You can find a few on ebay.co.uk from sellers that will ship to the US. Currently, that's the only way to get them the US that i know of, so you lot will probably like to know if they are any good before splurging on internatinal shipping. I came home with two in my suitcase. Wish I'd got three so i could test one to destruction... Tyres are the same size as 15" wheelbarrow wheels available everywhere, but only on metal rims in the USA.

The ones I got are I think some of the stronger ones available. They have two press in plastic bushes in the hub and in the middle is a crude roller bearing. Mine has burrs on the end of some rollers. I'd be inclined to either clean up the ends, or make new rollers to snap into the plastic cage. The rollers run direct on the plastic hub. I dunno how that will hold up yet, but the plastic end bushes should help prevent deep denting by the rollers in case of overload. I plan to find some good quality plastic plain bearings for the ends. The tyre and wheel combos were $20 the pair delivered to the UK. Cheap enough to try them out... If the bearings are not up to the job, plastic rims that take flanged 1 3/8 bearings can be for extra$. I wouldn't try plastic wheels without at least press in plain bearings.

4.80/4.00x8 plastic rim wheelbarrow wheel 20mm axle size
 Diameter 15.25" Width 3.9" Rim size 2.5x8 Rim weight 1lb 5.7oz tube weight 13.9oz Tyre weight 2lb 8oz Total weight 4lb 11.6oz

Next up, a "6x2" scooter wheel. I bought this one from aliexpress, it was somewhere under $20. I've also seen them on amazon and ebay at slightly higher prices. The aluminium hub is a bit heavy. I haven't seen any plastic hubs for 6x2, but I have seen them for 6x 1 1/4. If I'm tail heavy, I might investigate those. Tread is a bit square, though inflating it to 50 psi helps there. I'll likely put about 10-15pis in it. It'll do for now, though. 6x2 Al rim scooter wheel 608 8mm bearings  Diameter 6" Width 1.75" Rim size 33mmx75mm, NOT 3" Rim weight 8.1oz tube weight 2.6oz Tyre weight 9.2oz Total weight 19.9oz I probably won't be using the next one, but it might make a nice nosewheel for someone or even a talwheel on something big. The rim will also take bigger tyres, such as the Horror Fright 10" type. The rim is too wide for the tyre, but that does mean it is a streamlined shape.I think this one was$10 delivered to the UK. I got it for the rim. The rim has flanged 1 3/8 od bearings.

2.5x4 plastic rim wheel 1 3/8OD flanged 16mm bearings. Bearings can be swapped for 3/4" bearings. Some countries have 20mm bearings.

 Diameter 8.25" Width 2.5" Rim size 2.15x4 Rim weight 8.3oz tube weight 5.2oz Tyre weight 1lb Total weight 1lb 13.5oz

last, we have the untrusty Horror Fright 10" wheel. I had some kicking around so I measured one. The tyre and tube will fit the wider and much lighter plastic 4" rim above. The plastic rim may well be stronger, too...

Horror Fright 10", same bearings as 2.5x4
 Diameter 10" Width 3" Rim size 1.85x4 Rim weight 1lb 3.5oz tube weight 6.3oz Tyre weight 1lb 7.4oz Total weight 3lb 1 oz

The wheels I've chosen are about 10% smaller diameter and 20% less width than true scale for my Hurricane project. Going a bit bigger involves extra weight, so that'll do. I like the wheelbarrow tyres for their size to weight ratio. go a little larger, tyres are suddenly about double the weight. I'm hoping the plastic rims are adequate. I've found them to be just fine on wheelbarrows and small carts in the UK.

For possible OTS tyre sizes and weights, I generally look first at the Carlisle tyre catalogue. They are in my view, reasonable quality tyres at a reasonable price and very widely available.

Edit: Forgot to mention, a lot of the Carlisle tyres are tubeless. I may try one and see how it works tubeless with the plastic rims.

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#### pictsidhe

##### Well-Known Member
Looked at blanes' post. I have an old 20" bmx wheel so I grabbed it. 1lb12oz. that's no tyre, tube, hub or bearings, just a bare wheel. Northern tool also has 16 and 20" bmx type wheels. I don't know the weight.
ACS questions has 2.9lb for the Azusa 8" wheels, That's why I went downmarket to Chinese plastic
One of my pet peeves with ACS is that you have to look at the Q&A for weights. But at least someone has already asked the weight of just about evrything that they sell...

#### Pops

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
I have used Azusa 5" and 6" wheels , no problems. I like the Hydraulic brakes that GP's sells for the Azusa wheels. Used Cessna 150/172 master cylinders for toe brakes.

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
The Druine Turbulent requires a bit of ingenuity regarding wheels. One if its quirks, if you call it that, is that it does not use a strictly "off the shelf" wheel. They have been built with wheels from Vespa scooters and wheelbarrows and such. The main gear leg, a steel tube 1 1/4" o.d., also serves as the axle. (A second tube is sleeved within it at the axle/lower end.) The steel version of the 4.80/4.00x8 wheelbarrow wheels that pictsidhe mentions above would work. See:
Marathon Pneumatic Tire
They have a load capacity of 400 lbs., and weigh 6.5 lbs. each (wheel, tire, tube, bearings). The Northern Tool store near me stocks these wheels. They would be modified by cutting out the stock hub and welding in a tube 1 3/8" i.d. and fitting bronze bushings.

The brakes shown on the plans are cable operated drums. I think that hydraulic disc brakes would be relatively easy to adapt to this application, though.

#### lr27

##### Well-Known Member
Sometimes you can find interesting wheels at Surplus Center.
https://www.surpluscenter.com/

I have a boat cart with plastic wheels. They might be just strong enough for an ultralight, and, together with the tires, are quite light. So that might be a direction to look in. It would be hard to equip them with brakes, though, and they don't have bearings as such. If this seems interesting, I could see how deeply buried they are in the garage and look for a brand name. I expect they can probably handle about as much weight as a plastic BMX wheel.

Seems to me it might be possible to use a steel wheelbarrow wheel as a mold for a carbon fiber wheel, made in two halves. Ought to be a lot lighter than something made from cheap steel or even the normal sort of plastic. You could bolt and glue the halves together. Fitting brakes to something like this is left as a job for the reader. I imagine, for an ultralight, you might be able to do something with bicycle disk brakes.

#### Vigilant1

##### Well-Known Member
I have used Azusa 5" and 6" wheels , no problems. I like the Hydraulic brakes that GP's sells for the Azusa wheels. Used Cessna 150/172 master cylinders for toe brakes.
Pops,

An update: When Steve Bennett passed away and Great Plains restructured, they stopped selling brakes. They recommend that folks go to O'keefe Aero for brakes, and I'm pretty sure they are the same brakes that GPAS used to sell. I have a set on my Sonex (bought from GPAS) and I agree they work very well, no trouble at all.

#### pictsidhe

##### Well-Known Member
Sometimes you can find interesting wheels at Surplus Center.
https://www.surpluscenter.com/

I have a boat cart with plastic wheels. They might be just strong enough for an ultralight, and, together with the tires, are quite light. So that might be a direction to look in. It would be hard to equip them with brakes, though, and they don't have bearings as such. If this seems interesting, I could see how deeply buried they are in the garage and look for a brand name. I expect they can probably handle about as much weight as a plastic BMX wheel.

Seems to me it might be possible to use a steel wheelbarrow wheel as a mold for a carbon fiber wheel, made in two halves. Ought to be a lot lighter than something made from cheap steel or even the normal sort of plastic. You could bolt and glue the halves together. Fitting brakes to something like this is left as a job for the reader. I imagine, for an ultralight, you might be able to do something with bicycle disk brakes.
I've thought of using steel split rims as a mould, but would rather just buy something. Getting the bearing seat right is likely the biggest challenge. Many split rims have a seperate bit welded on.

This is an 'astralite' motorcycle wheel. They are very, very light. They are pressed or spun in two halves then rivetted together over a cast hub machined to take bearings. I think the sheet starts out around 1/16". If I was going to make some composite wheels, I would likely make them something like that after swearing a lot making a mould with a router and a lazy susan...

The plastic boat wheels are a lot like my green mainwheels, but usually flimsier. Some have bearing inserts, some don't... I've never seen a brand name on one. Yes to bike brakes. The disc brakes are pretty light, but are somewhere down my 'maybe if I have spare weight' list. Yeah, annoying to attach to my green wheels Soft tyres have enough rolling resistance to do some braking... The lightest option is probably to use ye olde rim brakes. You used to be able to get special shoes for plastic rims. I'd likely adapt it to single sided with a suitable thrust washer on the axle. Full sized Hurricanes use a ground charged pneumatic system for their power brakes. Bicycle tyre pumps can be very light and a pneumatic system could save weight over long high force control runs.

I think I'll proof test my wheels with a full size mandrel through the hub instead of the bearings. I can see the rollers leaving dents. My crawlspace hatchway seems a good place to anchor a big lever.

#### Rockiedog2

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
THis is the wheel and bearing set on my Legal Eagle. Looking back at my notes the weight was 4 1/4# for the wheel tire bearing and HD tube. I used the cheap bearing for the 3/4 axle(the 5/8 axle will bend too easily) it works fine at Legal Eagle speeds. I just inject some grease with a syringe occasionally. The sealed bearings are too heavy for my use. These wheels are very tough and will withstand hard use and amazing side loads. Excellent Legal Eagle setup.

The 20" inch wheel jacks the frontend up a little and makes the plane look better. Not so squatty

#### N8053H

##### Well-Known Member
THis is the wheel and bearing set on my Legal Eagle. Looking back at my notes the weight was 4 1/4# for the wheel tire bearing and HD tube. I used the cheap bearing for the 3/4 axle(the 5/8 axle will bend too easily) it works fine at Legal Eagle speeds. I just inject some grease with a syringe occasionally. The sealed bearings are too heavy for my use. These wheels are very tough and will withstand hard use and amazing side loads. Excellent Legal Eagle setup.

The 20" inch wheel jacks the frontend up a little and makes the plane look better. Not so squatty
Rockiedog2 that is the same rim and bearing used on the legal eagle I had. They worked great.

#### Pops

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
Pops,

An update: When Steve Bennett passed away and Great Plains restructured, they stopped selling brakes. They recommend that folks go to O'keefe Aero for brakes, and I'm pretty sure they are the same brakes that GPAS used to sell. I have a set on my Sonex (bought from GPAS) and I agree they work very well, no trouble at all.
Yes, I knew, they would have found out when they went to the site, I was just being lazy. At first, I had the 6" wheel with a 600 x 6" on the SSSC, when I went to the taller 800 x 6" tire the brakes were just a little weaker for the job for what I like. But for the 600 X 6" wheel with the GW of the airplane, I was pleased with the brakes. One day I got in the airplane and left one wheel chalked, to lazy to get out and remove, so I held the brakes, added power and raised the tail and release one brake and pivoted the airplane on the one wheel and taxied away.

Also used to play by holding one brake and adding power and have the airplane going in circles with the tail up level with the one wheel locked up. Kids will play.

#### Rockiedog2

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Yes, I knew, they would have found out when they went to the site, I was just being lazy. At first, I had the 6" wheel with a 600 x 6" on the SSSC, when I went to the taller 800 x 6" tire the brakes were just a little weaker for the job for what I like. But for the 600 X 6" wheel with the GW of the airplane, I was pleased with the brakes. One day I got in the airplane and left one wheel chalked, to lazy to get out and remove, so I held the brakes, added power and raised the tail and release one brake and pivoted the airplane on the one wheel and taxied away.

Also used to play by holding one brake and adding power and have the airplane going in circles with the tail up level with the one wheel locked up. Kids will play.
hotdogging!!
I've wrecked em doin similar stunts Pops
LOL

#### Rockiedog2

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
THis is the wheel and bearing set on my Legal Eagle. Looking back at my notes the weight was 4 1/4# for the wheel tire bearing and HD tube. I used the cheap bearing for the 3/4 axle(the 5/8 axle will bend too easily) it works fine at Legal Eagle speeds. I just inject some grease with a syringe occasionally. The sealed bearings are too heavy for my use. These wheels are very tough and will withstand hard use and amazing side loads. Excellent Legal Eagle setup.

The 20" inch wheel jacks the frontend up a little and makes the plane look better. Not so squatty
They will take a lotta sideload but like everything do have limits. too much and the hub will break outa the spokes

#### Pops

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
Log Member
They will take a lotta sideload but like everything do have limits. too much and the hub will break outa the spokes

View attachment 77213
Yep, My design of the landing gear on the SSSC is stressed for 3600 lbs side load for a gross weight of 820 lbs. That is more than the side load of 3150 lbs of the Bearhawk with a gross weight of 2500 lbs.
Tire air pressure up to keep from rolling the tire bead off the Ausa rim and watch the inside tire for coming off the ground, ( hate to hit the wing tip on the ground)
Like I said, Kids will play. Thought you might belong to the club When I get the VW mug buggy finished and running, want to go for a ride in the hundreds of miles of logging roads. No need to try to stay clean, can jump in the river and wash the mud off.

Maybe my mother had a son she never told me about ?
That reminds me, When I was a little kid, I ask my mother why I loved airplanes so much. She said " a big bird pooped on a stump and the sun hatched you". I still remembered her saying that because I believed her, mom would never lie to me.

Joe -- Didn't I tell you that you were family.

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#### pwood66889

##### Well-Known Member
They will take a lotta sideload but like everything do have limits. too much and the hub will break outa the spokes

View attachment 77213
Eeeek... Looks like the wheels on that LePelican I'm working on!!

#### proppastie

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
Might check out plastic laundry cart wheels at your local junk yard, as long as you do not care about a suspension. less than 2.5 lb each and about 300 lb rated each.

#### lr27

##### Well-Known Member
I've thought of using steel split rims as a mould, but would rather just buy something. Getting the bearing seat right is likely the biggest challenge. Many split rims have a seperate bit welded on.
You'd want to pick one of the split rims that doesn't have the separate bit. If you were really concerned about the bearing seat, you could punch out the existing bearing and use the wheel to make a mold rather than using it as a mold for the final wheel directly. Alternatively, you could stick the bearing you were going to use on top of the steel wheel half, aligned with the existing bearing, extend the cloth a little bit and have the new bearing glued in perfectly. The new bearings would be a little further apart, but maybe that's ok.
View attachment 77198
This is an 'astralite' motorcycle wheel. They are very, very light. They are pressed or spun in two halves then rivetted together over a cast hub machined to take bearings. I think the sheet starts out around 1/16". If I was going to make some composite wheels, I would likely make them something like that after swearing a lot making a mould with a router and a lazy susan...

The plastic boat wheels are a lot like my green mainwheels, but usually flimsier. Some have bearing inserts, some don't... I've never seen a brand name on one. Yes to bike brakes. The disc brakes are pretty light, but are somewhere down my 'maybe if I have spare weight' list. Yeah, annoying to attach to my green wheels Soft tyres have enough rolling resistance to do some braking... The lightest option is probably to use ye olde rim brakes. You used to be able to get special shoes for plastic rims. I'd likely adapt it to single sided with a suitable thrust washer on the axle. Full sized Hurricanes use a ground charged pneumatic system for their power brakes. Bicycle tyre pumps can be very light and a pneumatic system could save weight over long high force control runs.

I think I'll proof test my wheels with a full size mandrel through the hub instead of the bearings. I can see the rollers leaving dents. My crawlspace hatchway seems a good place to anchor a big lever.
Those Astralite wheels look very nice and would be hard to beat if they were the right size. However, I think a composite version of them might be a lot more work to make than what I'm proposing. It's not clear to me that the disc brakes are much, if any heavier than rim brakes. You can get them in a hydraulic version. I suspect that the hydraulic line would be pretty thin. An old set of rim brakes would be cheaper, of course. Given that we're talking about an ultralight here, I don't think your braking forces will be any more than a heavy bicyclist doing an emergency stop on solid, dry pavement. At least if you're flying from a grass field. And a cyclist going down a hill will need the brakes to dissipate more heat than landing an ultralight on a reasonably level airstrip will. That's probably good, because I don't think a plastic rim could withstand much heat.

On the Skypup, at least, the bearings are removed from the plastic BMX wheel and the "bearing" is the plastic that the wheel hub is made of. If your typical takeoff or landing is 300 feet, then 1,000 flights is only 114 miles. A lot less than you'd expect from a bicycle.

------------

I think the rigidity of the laundry cart wheels means you would have to put some more compliance in the suspension. Also, are they anywhere near as large as the outside diameter of a wheelbarrow wheel? Just looked at a listing for a 4.00 - 6 wheelbarrow wheel with tire. OD of the tire is listed as 13 inches, which seems similar to what I remember about wheelbarrows. That means, in the extreme, you've got maybe 3 inches of "suspension" travel in the tire itself. Of course a BMX wheel and tire would have less travel than a wheelbarrow setup unless it had VERY fat tires.

#### oriol

##### Well-Known Member
Good MTB wheels are superlight, tough and not expensive. They are perfect for a Part 103 aircraft plus you can get them with disc brakes unlike industrial/trolley wheels. You can get metric bolts for most of the existing axle standard sizes, except for the 15mm ones that have to be done with a lathe. Compared to any non aero wheel MTB wheels offer a bigger bang for the buck.

Oriol

#### lr27

##### Well-Known Member
MTB wheels are excellent if you want wheels that large. Maybe just the thing for your Piet, but not so great for your scale Hurricane. Too bad, because building wheels is fun and satisfying. Just remember to use 3X or 4X with brakes. (That is, the spokes have to be angled to transfer the torque from the hub to the rim, so they cross each other.