Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

              Home Built English Wheel

This is the half size English wheel I built to  help shape the aluminum panels for the Flyer , I looked at a number of modern made machines that were available for sale but felt that they were just not rigid enough to reproduce the constant pressure I wanted , and when I did find good quality modern tools they were too costly  for my pocket, I did purchase a set of upper and lower wheels that I thought looked well machined and were fitted with bearings plus the finished profiles looked very constant , I think they were good value and certainly cheaper than I could have made them. I designed  the machine to be bench mounted as shed space is always at a premium and I can spray it with WD 40  and stash it away after use .The lifting eye on the top beam is a god send as I can only just lift the machine by hand without the wheels fitted.

       I would still like to buy an original old English Wheel if one turned up, just because I like old machine tools but I am not sure that it would work any better than this one .

           Home Build Louver Press

The louvers that I wanted to put in the body work both for ventilation and the over all look of the vehicle were to prove a bit of a problem until after I had tried a number of methods to produce them . First off I found that I could form a very nice shaped louver by using hand tools but the real problem arose when I tried to reproduce the shape close enough to the first one to see any small discrepancy.

  The next step was to make a press tool that would be able to reproduce the same louver time and time again. I set this up in the drill press and that proved the tool worked fine but it was impossible to control the sheet of aluminum without damage .

   The photo here is of the final design of press that I built using a small hand operated 3 ton hydraulic  ram and pump, To help keep all louvers in any one section in a straight line I mounted a small lazer pen on the body of the tool so that all I had to do was draw a center line on the panel with a sharpie and keep it under the red dot, the spacing was taken care of by the tool using the previous louver as its stop. I produced all of the louvers in the body work of the Flyer with this little machine without any problems , The aluminum I used throughout the build was 16 swg standard mill finish with only a small amount of annealing on some of the tighter shapes but not on the louvers.

     The other machine tools I used in the forming of the aluminum body for the Flyer, I did  not build for myself but for a number of reasons did make substantial alterations to them ,the first was a bead rolling machine that was  driven with a large hand wheel but the depth of the throat meant that it was virtually impossible to turn the wheel and control the aluminum sheet at the same time as it is necessary to keep a very close eye on the point of contact. I got over this by driving the machine with a small 240 v motor and gearbox ,the final gearing was by chain and sprocket ,as the motor speed was not controllable I geared it to run slowly so I could be very accurate with any beads I needed I also used two foot switches so that I could drive both forward and backward without letting go of the material.

   Prior to  building the Flyer ,  I had all ready purchased a pair of cheap Chinese shrinker and stretcher hand operated tools for another project.

    With a small amount of alteration they worked well, but for the Flyer I would  need both hands free to maneuver the panels ,so I converted them both to foot operation and mounted them back to back on a moveable stand so that I could easily take them around the Flyer to where ever I was working.

    The above are about all of the machines I used to construct the Totham Flyer apart from panel beating hammers and dollies, a sand filled leather bag for resting panels on , a hollowed out Oak stump and blocking hammer for shrinking panels along with the usual workshop tools .

     If you have bothered to read this far or have jumped to the end first , very many thanks for looking and I hope you have enjoyed or will enjoy the journey of the building of the Totham Flyer.

     I am sure that you will by now be aware that I am not much of a writer or for that matter , not much of a website builder, but like the building of the Flyer I have  enjoyed the doing  of it , so if I have given anybody the idea of  starting a project , be it a rebuild  or new build . I hope you also enjoy it and end up with something that you are proud of.   Febuary 2020

                                           The End or maybe just the Beginning