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Making a Steering Wheel Mold

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 345 DeSoto, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. I did a Search, but didn't find anything on making a mold to recast a steering wheel rim...just different ways to REPAIR them. I want to try to recast the clear part in my wheel, but don't really know how to do a mold. Can anybody steer me to a web site or give some advice on how to do it?. Thanks, guys... .
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  2. chaddilac
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 13,972


  3. troylee
    Joined: Jul 10, 2007
    Posts: 686


  4. 1971BB427
    Joined: Mar 6, 2010
    Posts: 7,252

    from Oregon

    If you have a wheel with some part that is good you can make a mold over that section using saran wrap on the wheel and plaster. Just fold the wrap over the wheel to create two halves and then make a box with a hole at each end. Cut the box in half to create two mold halves. Put the wheel in the box with the wrap sandwiched between, then the other half of the box on the other side. A little duct seal or putty will help seal it around the hole if it's not a good fit.
    Now pour plaster over the wheel on one side and let it set. Come back later and pour the other side. When both have set just open the halves and remove the saran wrap to reveal your mold.
    Now you have a mold you can drill holes for pouring and venting at each end. Wax the mold and simply put the section of wheel into the mold that needs to be recast and pour in your resin. Whatever color, or clear you want. When it sets you can remove it to cut off the risers and polish it.
    If you're starting from scratch with a whole new outter grip, I'd go with the previous poster's link. This is just for a single repair as the mold is wasted after each use.

  5. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,847


    I am working on a tech for next tech week on redoing the clear part of old Mopar and Pontiac steering wheels, going to be way simpler than injection molding if it works out.
  6. Okay, got the mold part question. I just need to do the clear part of this wheel...just cracks in it, no missing chunks. What's the best and/or easiest water clear stuff to use...urethane, polyester, or epoxy. I DON'T want the clear to pull or shrink away from the chrome rim. Once the mold is made, I'm going to remove the yellowed/cracked clear, then recast...

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  7. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 2,113

    stuart in mn

    Looks like a 1961 Pontiac deluxe wheel. :)

    My understanding is when you get these wheels professionally recast is they do the whole thing using clear, then paint the parts that are solid color.
  8. ndeconte
    Joined: Dec 13, 2010
    Posts: 13


    You don't want to try to cast a clear material without having the right equipment to do so.

    Castings can have tons of airbubbles in them if they're not done in pressure tanks.

    The company I own does molding & casting for a living, never realized there was an interest in having steering wheels done!
  9. stuart in mn
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
    Posts: 2,113

    stuart in mn

    These old GM steering wheels are famous for cracking as they age, it's pretty difficult to find one that's presentable. There are several places in the US (and one in Australia) who recast them, but it's expensive - $1000 to $1500 if I recall correctly.
  10. junkjunky
    Joined: Aug 19, 2009
    Posts: 110


    I have used stuff from hobby shops called CLEAR CAST.It is similar to fiberglass resin only crystal clear.You can get pigment to make it any color you wish.
  11. jimi'shemi291
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 9,499


    Glad to see this thread starting. I asked about it for my '55 DeSoto last year, and everybody was helpful but only talked about patching up the old wheel (I mean, other than the super-costly places).

    I like the guys who are into: Here's how you can do it yourself. Keep up the ogod work, guys! THANKS.
  12. 39cent
    Joined: Apr 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,569

    from socal

  13. Well, there has to be a way to cast, using clear, that won't be full of bubbles...with out having an expensive vacuum chamber, pressure cast, etc. The mold is the easy part, it seems casting CLEAR is the problem. And yes, the wheel is the original off my 61 Ventura Super Duty...
  14. shelby1
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 57

    from Lillian,Al

    Well this worked for me ,I built a plywood box sealed good on all sides and bottom (wood glue and narrow crown staples to hold it together till glue dried)used a piece of clear Plexiglas for top with a rubber trim seal ,made up a fitting from a old auto a/c unit and used a a/c vacuum pump to pump it down,I also mounted a couple of vibrators (old water bed ) to the bottom of the plywood to help work the air bubbles to the surface.I tried a vacuum cleaner first and had mixed results,I was casting chess pieces in clear and Black with acrylic resins and depending on the size and shape sometimes not all of the bubbles would come out,but the a/c vacuum pump worked great.
    Good Luck
  15. SHELBY1 - Okay, now you've got my attention. What sort of A/C vacuum pump did you use? Was it a venturi type...the kind you hook up to an air compressor, or was it a rotary vane type? You wouldn't happen to know how much vacuum it pulled, would you?
  16. Salty
    Joined: Jul 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    from Florida

    You can use a cheapo venturi vac pump (the kind that hooks into your air compressor) I've not heard alot thats good about em but they can be sourced for bout 20ish bucks....might be worth the risks for the job? dunno, I've never used one...

    I used to use a 6CFM Robinair electric vac pump that would pull down commercial systems (read HUGE) HOWEVER the cost may outweigh the benifits....though cheaper alternatives (CPS products revealed in a google search) seem to be more affordable for the common use it every once in awhile guy for something it wasn't technically designed for....

    You always have the other option of renting the tool for the job you infrequently do....personally i'd give the venturi style of pump (IE cheap) a shot if you had a air source able to handle running it....

    see here

    Cheaper units can be found at harbor frieght (gasp)

    I cannot speak for the usability of said tools however if I didn't have the vac pump I have I'd give it a shot and keep the reciept if it wasn't as advertised......

    just sayin....
  17. Smokin' Joe
    Joined: Jul 4, 2006
    Posts: 1,000

    Smokin' Joe
    Member Emeritus

    Another cool thread... and just in time!
  18. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 7,457


    For air-conditioning service I use an old dehumidifier compressor for a vacuum pump. It will pull 27" of vacuum. Don't know if this would work for casting though.
  19. shelby1
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 57

    from Lillian,Al

    345 It was a rotary vane style pump, I borrowed it from a buddy ,the best I can remember it pulled down to like 25-27 inches of vacuum,and it did not take it long to pull down either,the box that I built was only like 1'x2' and 5'' high,so there was not a lot of volume to pull out. As far as the size of a steering wheel mold ,I would think the smaller that you could build the box and your mold the better .I made several sets of chess pieces and some other small parts. It worked so well for me that I kept the process in the back of my mind that I was going to do a lot more with it ,but I never did. If you are going to try something like this I would advise you to do some test runs to get your process down . It toke me three try's before I got a batch to come out good.In my case I'm here on the Ala gulf coast and I was doing it in the summer and the heat was making the resin set too quick.
    So if you do this, post back I know I would like to see the results as I'm sure others on here would too.
    Good Luck
  20. Kinky6
    Joined: May 11, 2003
    Posts: 1,765


    Nice! Has anyone on here ever used this stuff? They don't say how they dealt with the metal core or armature of the steering wheel, though.

    Making a casting of a steering wheel w/o the metal core doesn't seem like it would be safe to actually use. :confused:

    Still, it looks like you could take a really crappy wheel, and patch it up enough to pull a mold off of, then chip all the old plastic off the core and cast a fresh wheel onto the core. You'ld have to keep the core centered in the mold while you are pouring and letting it set up. Interesting...

    Later, Kinky6 :cool:
  21. shelby1
    Joined: Apr 28, 2010
    Posts: 57

    from Lillian,Al

    Also there is another way to pull a vacuum on a mold/cavity, build a "surge tank" which is noting but a metal container / tank with thick enough walls so a vacuum can be pulled on it.
    Here's how it works, you connect your vacuum source to the tank preferably with large diameter pipe ( in this case 1'' should be sufficient ) and connect the tank to your mold cavity with the same size pipe (if possible,don't use regular air hose ,it is too restrictive ) install a gate valve in this line (a gate valve usually has a handle to open /close the valve,instead of a round wheel type handle) you need a gate type valve so you an open the line as quickly as possible.And this is how you use it. With the gate valve closed pull/pump a vacuum on the tank,when the pump has pulled it as low a vacuum it can (and your mold is ready) in one quick motion pull the gate valve open and it will pull a very quick vacuum on your mold because the air in the mold is going to be sucked in to the tank. Now I don't think that a system like this would be needed to pull air bubbles from casting resins, but if you only have a small vacuum pump (or maybe venturi vacuum pump) this is a way to get the quick vacuum that you need to get bubbles out quickly .
    I helped build a system like this for a friends sign business to vacuum mold signs which had to have a vacuum pulled on them before they cooled and would not mold to the forms right.
    Hope this helps some one
  22. Have you already done this sucessfully, and are just holding out until Tech Week, ya teasing bastard?:D
  23. ..."Enquireing minds want to know"...So far, the biggest stumbling block seems to be hunting up an inexpensive vacuum pump to reliably get the air bubbles out of the silicone mold material and the clear cast material. The bubbles wouldn't be a problem if the cast wasn't clear...
  24. How did this turn out for you? The steering wheel in my 59 Plymouth has nearly all of the clear off and I'm watching with interest!
  25. RichG
    Joined: Dec 8, 2008
    Posts: 3,919


    I don't think you can get much cheaper than that.:D
  26. I haven't tried yet...I'm still in FL for the winter...
  27. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,847


    This is what I did. Not as nice as a recast for sure, but it looks good and total cost was less than $30 If anyone does devise a system to recast the clear part at home without massive expense, I'd like to try it, I just don't see how it's going to be very easy.
  28. nickleone
    Joined: Jun 14, 2007
    Posts: 372


    If you can't find the parts for the horn button how about 4 small momentary contact switches epoxied etc below the horn rim? Wire them up to the contactor on the hub.

  29. How'd it come out????
  30. indyjps
    Joined: Feb 21, 2007
    Posts: 4,822


    Can you add flake to the clear, and keep it evenly mixed, or will the vacuum in the chamber pull all the flake to 1 side?

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