Wheels & Tires! What Good Would A Model Be Without Them How Diecast Cars And Trucks Are Made – Part 3
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In this video series we talked about the process used to make one diecast metal car or truck.
Part one ended with the painting process.
In Part two we talked about making plastic parts using a plastic injection machine. We also talked about the Vacuum Metalizing Process.
In Part three of this video series we are going to talk about making wheels and tires.
Let’s begin our discussion on how wheels and tires are made. In mass productions the wheels and tires are molded on a plastic injection machine.
Mass produced model cars and trucks have their wheels and tires as part of the plastic cast. Most of the inexpensive diecast cars and trucks use this kind of tire and wheel combination. Plastic tires are standard on Hot Wheels models. Also Ertl Trucks of the World series trucks used plastic wheels and tires. The mold has the wheel and tire carved into the mold. Therefore, the wheel and tire come out of the mold as one cast. This is the least expensive way to make a wheel and tire for a diecast model vehicle. It is cost effective because it removes one step in the assembly process.
Other more expensive cars and trucks require a separate wheel and tire. Most common are plastic wheels and rubber tires.
To make plastic wheels the molten plastic is injection into a multi cavity mold. If the wheels need to be painted, they are sent to the air brush department.
If chrome or gold plating is required the wheels are put through the Vacuum Metalizing Process. If you will remember from my last video the Vacuum Metalizing Process is a process where metal is heated in a vacuum chamber and then vaporized, The vaporized metal is plated on the lacquered wheels. And presto! The wheels are chrome or gold plated.
The tires are made much like the wheels in a plastic injection machine. The tire mold has many cavities thereby allowing several tires to be made at one time.
A rubber like material is injected into the mold. When the tires are cured they are ejected from the mold and dropped into a bin. If nothing further is to be done to the tire they are sent to storage or assembly.
However, if a name is required on the tire, they are sent to the pad printing department where each tire receives its name.
Just think what a run of 1,000 18 wheel tractor trailer requires. 5,000 axles, 18,000 wheels and 18,000 tires not counting spare wheels and tires. Each wheel and tire assembly have to be assembled by hand or with the aid of a machine.
Its little wonder the inexpensive cars and trucks have their wheels and tires cast as one part. This method saves time and time is money.
A word for the hobbyist who wants to restore a model that has lost a wheel and tire. Individual wheels can be resin cast by making a silicone mold of the wheel and casting it out of resin. The tire can be made the same way by making a silicone mold of an existing tire and casting the tire out of a urethane rubber liquid.
We have covered the machines needed to make one diecast car or truck. They ranged from a CNC mold cutting machine, plastic injection machine, pad printer, and vacuum chamber to plate our wheels. To name a few. We’re slowly getting the idea that many people and skills are involved in creating one model car or truck. Let’s not forget the huge sum of money the machines cost, and let’s not forget the cost of the molds. Steel molds costs anywhere from several thousands of dollars to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Machines cost tens of thousands of dollars into the millions of dollars. In a later video we will take up the cost of building a model car or truck.
In our next video we will explore the subject of how window glass, head lights, taillights, marker lights, and light bars are created and colored.
Toy Talk is hosted by Logan Skeele Founder of Advantage Diecast, LLC
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