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I was thinking about make a replica Wii wheel for my kids out of wood. That would be about 6" in diameter. It seems a tall order to me as I do not know how to make a concoction like that with any amount of accuracy. Let alone how to get the wood together to even start something like that.

Wooden ring http://www.jewelleryshed.co.uk/ekmps/shops/jewelleryshed/images/5-x-brown-41mm-undrilled-donut-burly-wood-beads-cj019--3811-p.jpg

Aiming to have something similar to the picture but ease of creating will be taken over precision. All I can picture is a combination of lamination and a router using a template but I don't know for sure.

How can I make a wooden wheel, doughnut or torus(I was trying to find a proper term to sound smart!).

  • I'm not sure how to tag this off the top of my head. – Matt Jun 15 '15 at 2:09
  • I'm a noob, but it sounds like those could work. I could also think of using a large bore drill bit to start with before the routing, and you could also just hand shape the thing/use carving knives at least to get the curve. – Merlyn Morgan-Graham Jun 15 '15 at 2:36
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I've done something similar, at about a 3" diameter. Since I had to produce a fair number of them I made two jigs for the task:

  • one to guide a router and pattern bit around the inner surface (after i'd drilled away most of the waste) and hold the block steady while I switched to a roundover bit to finish the inside profile (flipping the workpiece to round over both sides)

  • another with a raised boss that the resulting hole fit over (after I'd sawed away most of the outside waste) to guide the pattern bit around the outside edge and to hold the resulting ring while I used the roundover bit again to finish the outside of the ring, from both sides.

In my case the shape was an oval. For a circle, the second jig may require a wedge or other clamp -- or a temporary hot-glue joint, or a high friction rubber surface -- to keep the ring from spinning while you work on it.

A bit of sanding to fair the curves and prep the surface, , finish, and you're done.

I'm sure there are many other solutions; this just happened to be the one that suited my needs and my available tools.

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Surprise, surprise, my recommendation is of course the lathe. Lathes are designed to make stuff round. if you have the right chucking equipment (and some of it you can make on the lathe!) you can make on pretty easily.

There are several ways to do it but each will involve a couple stages, turn the outside, turn the center, reverse it and clean up the whole thing.

Of course if you don't have a lathe or a little experience with one, it becomes much more expensive and difficult, but making round things in general is best done on a lathe.

There are many ways to do it, but this is how I've tried it.

Took a round piece and mounted it between the drive center and the tail stock. shaped the outside of the torus (in my case it was a bracelet) and then started cutting toward the inside. when you start getting close to cutting through, you can sand and even wax the parts that are done. then finish parting the ring from the center. This is similar to captive rings on goblet stems are made, but a bit easier (can always look for youtube videos on that). If you have a flat jaws chuck you can remount the piece and sand the inside ring, if not you can finish it by hand.

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  • My first thought was lathe but could figure out how to work something like this since it wasnt a post or something similar. Never surprised when you suggest a lathe. It just felt dangerous and that the piece would get launched while carving it. – Matt Jun 15 '15 at 13:21
  • @Matt in this case you'd probably use a jam chuck with the tail stock. with the correct setup it is just as safe as any other turning, probably safer than some. Want me to go into more detail in the answer? – bowlturner Jun 15 '15 at 13:28
  • Wouldn't hurt if you are willing. It won't help me as I don't own a lathe but I would like to know in case I ask to use someone else's and sound smart! Could also help someone else's doughnut antics! – Matt Jun 15 '15 at 13:30
  • Jam chuck on lathe is sorta the inside-out of my router-jig approach. Probably better for circles, but handling the ovals I needed would be challenging. (SmileO – keshlam Jun 15 '15 at 14:28
  • @keshlam yes, though there are jigs for turning ovals. I haven't done any of that yet. I do have a small chuck for doing small off-center turnings and it is fun. – bowlturner Jun 15 '15 at 14:41
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I'd probably start with a cylinder and round over the edges. From there you can trace a template for the interior and use a jigsaw to cut it. Then you can found over the inside corners and tidy it up with files/rasps.

Constantly checking the fit and feel might help mitigate the lack of precision.

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I haven't done it myself, but for ease, I would use a wood lathe, starting out with a lot of the same gear to make a bowl. Here's a standard tutorial on making a bowl on a wood lathe: http://www.wikihow.com/Turn-a-Crotch-Bowl

Instead of forming out a bowl shape, you could begin to form a cylinder, and then easily carve out the rounded shape of a torus at the end of the cylinder as the piece is spinning. As you are finishing, you can cut off the torus from the end of the cylinder. There would be a part of it with a slightly flat edge at the end, where the torus is cut off from the cylinder, but you could probably use some sanding tools to make it unnoticeable.

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Wood selection takes back seat to wood anatomy, please consider:

One of the reasons plywood resists breakage is that the grain of the wood layers is at right angles. If you make a doughnut out of a single plank it will break very easily - at the point where the grain directions points to the center of the circle. If you want something substantial you can try plywood, or try gluing two thinner layers of nice wood together with the grain at right angles, sort of a poor man's plywood.

If you look at old ship's wheels, large wooden gears, or old carriage wheels you will see how the problem of "not" breaking with the grain has been solved in many different ways.

Species choice: Species like Ulmus (Elm) with helical grain are probably better for this kind of thing. And lots harder to work dry Elm than other species.

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    Appreciate the tips but this does not answer how to make a torus – Matt Jun 23 '15 at 3:15
  • @matt but it does tell HOW to increase your chances of successfully making a torus based on the other answers – Ast Pace Jun 25 '15 at 22:12
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    I agree that this does not answer the question; each answer should directly address the question and should be capable of standing on its own. As it stands, this should be converted to a comment or moved to a separate question. – rob Jun 26 '15 at 17:52
  • Sometimes that risk of breakage is acceptable. I have one project (actually the same one I mentioned when discussing the router jigs) where it's even desirable. A point worth considering, but not always relevant. And, yeah, a comment. – keshlam Jun 26 '15 at 18:53

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