This post-apocalyptic wheel assembly uses a wooden axle and spare tires (donuts) to provide the basis for a handcart, simple wagon, or trailer. Short of metal, and tools, this is also a perfect repair for a broken trailer. After I made it, I realized a solid axle has some trouble turning, so I would recommend actually cutting the axle in half and mounting each wheel independently so that a two-wheel arrangement can pivot.
The parts for this are all recycled, and very cheap, if not free. Sustainability starts with re-use, especially when the factories collapse and no new ones are being made!
If you enjoy this Instructable, check out my new website at Object Guerilla for more projects and musings on the end of the world.
You will need these materials:
2 compact car wheel hubs
2 compact car spare tires (donuts)
Several pieces of scrap plywood, appox. 4 sq. ft. in total
Hefty chunk of douglas fir, spruce, oak, walnut, hickory, pecan, or similar
Handful of 1/4"-3/8" through-bolts, nuts, and washers
Handful of 1/4" x 5" lag bolts
1-1/2" hole saw
You will need these tools:
Jig or Bandsaw
Step 1: Blankin'
Start by cutting the piece down to about 2" square. This axle is about 28" long, and I would hesitate to go above 36" wide because the axle would start to bow at that span.
Set the blade of the table saw to 45 degrees, set the fence at about 1-1/2" from the base of the blade, then bevel all four corners of the blank. This should create an octagon with approximately equal sides.
Step 2: Planin'
Step 3: Wheels
Cut four 3/4" plywood disks, about 10" in diameter. Drill out the center of two of them with the 1-1/2" hole saw. Glue and screw one "donut" disc to one solid disc, resulting in two hubs, each 1-1/2" thick.
Hold the hub to the wheel and scribe the bolt holes onto the plywood. Drill them out and through-bolt the plywood to the wheel, with the drilled-out portion of the hub facing in.
Step 4: Assembly
Glue the axle into the socket on the hub, then attach through the other side with a 1/4" lag bolt, pre-drilling to prevent splitting. The end-grain connection will not be the strongest, so pop in some toe screws or triangular braces as well.
Once both wheels are on, and the mounts are sliding freely in the center, jack up your cart or trailer and screw the mounts on. As I said in the intro, it won't track right unless each wheel turns independently, so you should probably cut the axle in half and double the number of mounting point.