Drift trikes are a lot of fun, but wheels for them can be hard to come by and pretty expensive. Here, I'll show you how to make a pair of wheels from scrap materials you can find.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Circle cutting jig for tablesaw
- Drill press
- Forstner bits
- Heavy gauge PVC pipe - 8" schedule 80 is what I'm using
½" or thicker flat PVC
- 5/8" x 1¼" bearings
Step 2: Cut the Hubs & Install the Bearings
Set up the Circle Cutting Jig for your Tablesaw to cut a circle slightly smaller than the outside diameter of your PVC pipe. You can alternately use a bandsaw or jigsaw, but keeping the hubs round and the bearings centered becomes much more difficult. Cut out a total of four circles. I only had enough for two circles, so I went with two thick bars for the outside hubs. I rounded the ends to the same diameter as the circle plates.
Next, adjust the circle cutting jig to cut the same diameter as the inside of your pipe. Lower the blade of the tablesaw so that when you are finished, there is a shoulder on the plate. The goal is a tight fit inside the pipe with just enough shoulder to keep the plate from slipping inside the pipe.
Using a Forstner bit, cut in a relief for the outside edge of the bearing just deep enough to accept the bearing. Then using a bit larger than your axle, but smaller than the outside of the bearing, cut the rest of the way through the plate. Do this on all four plates making sure the relief you cut is into the outside face of the plates.
Press the bearings into place.
Step 3: Cut the Tires and Assemble the Wheel
Presumably you have axles these wheels are going on. In this case, the axle is a 5/8 x 12" bolt welded in to the end of a piece of steel tubing. Place your hub plates on the axle and measure the distance between the shoulders. Cut the pipe to this length. Apply a generous amount of PVC solvent cement to all of the contact areas and install the end plates into the pipe to complete the wheel. Slip the wheel onto the axle and lock it in to place with the axle nuts. This should be enough clamping action to let it cure. If your axles don't have nuts, clamp the ends onto the tires until the cement cures.
Your wheels are ready for use.
Marsh made it!