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Making a chain steering wheel

RELATED TOPICS: WHEEL
Q: I'm building a lowrider and I'd like it to have a chain steering wheel. I haven't seen any offered by the aftermarket companies. Can I build one?

- Jay Montes
via E-mail

You sure can, Jay. Welded, chromed chain steering wheels have been around for a long time. and can add a nice touch to a classic custom or lowrider.

Determine the diameter of the wheel, based on the donor hub you're going to use. Then find a cylindrical object that's the same diameter. A wooden dowel would be perfect, because you'll be using super glue to glue the links together, and the small amount of glue used on each link shouldn't stick to the wood.

The chain should measure about 11/2-2" per link (in scale), depending on the look you're after. Hobby shops that carry model railroad and/or shipbuilding supplies should have a wide range of chain sizes in stock.

Check for old jewelry at local yard sales and flea markets. Sometimes cheap necklaces are hung on steel, brass or even silver chain that's perfect for this type of project.

After you've gathered the materials, tape a short length of chain to the dowel as shown in Fig. 1. The chain should be longer than you need, so it will be easier to work with. Slowly twirl the dowel (Fig. 2). Let gravity do the work of keeping the circle straight. Touch a dab of super glue to each link with a toothpick to form the "weld." When you've reached the end the circle, remove the tape and slide the chain wheel off the dowel, then cut the excess chain to form the complete circle (Fig. 3).

This technique may take a few tries to master, but the results are well worth the effort. The chain wheel can now be mounted to the hub, painted, and attached to your scale steering column.




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