Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

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WJH
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Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by WJH » Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:53 pm

Working on my GE44 project and my cast iron wheel blanks don't quite have the diameter on them that I would like, so I'm thinking about shrink fitting some 4140 or other steel tires to them. DOM tubing? I wouldn't think I could find a size that I need. Flame cut from 1" thick plate? Pretty sure water jet would be pretty expensive. OD needs to be about 4.75", ID I am not sure, not sitting in front of my cast iron wheels, and haven't cleaned up the OD yet to be able to tell you. I am away on a work trip.

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Fender
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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by Fender » Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:57 pm

About the only way to get 4140 will be to buy disks cut from a bar of the desired diameter. You could cut tires from this, but it would be less work to just make new wheels. DOM tubing is not available in 4140 alloy to my knowledge. If you go this route, get 4140 pre-hardened, as it will wear better than annealed 4140 but can still be machined with hss. I ordered some 4140cdht (prehardened) disks 4.25" diameter from Access Metals in Baltimore. Just be sure to tell them it's not for local pickup if you want it shipped.
DOM steel tubing is basically low-carbon cold-finished steel (1020), and is available in both 4.75" and 5.00" OD with a 0.750" wall thickness. You can get it from a number of different suppliers like Speedy Metals, and perhaps locally.
Dan Watson

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Marty_Knox
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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by Marty_Knox » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:17 pm

Dan, most of the DOM tubing I see is 1026, some is 1028.

Harold_V
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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by Harold_V » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:25 pm

Fender wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:57 pm
About the only way to get 4140 will be to buy disks cut from a bar of the desired diameter. You could cut tires from this, but it would be less work to just make new wheels. DOM tubing is not available in 4140 alloy to my knowledge.
True, but hot rolled tubing is available made from 4140. That is an option. A lot less work than making tires from bar stock.

H
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Fender
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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by Fender » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:43 pm

Marty_Knox wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:17 pm
Dan, most of the DOM tubing I see is 1026, some is 1028.
Marty, I was going by what Speedy Metals said on their website for DOM tubing (C1020).
Dan Watson

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Fender
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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by Fender » Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:45 pm

Harold_V wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 5:25 pm
Fender wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 4:57 pm
About the only way to get 4140 will be to buy disks cut from a bar of the desired diameter. You could cut tires from this, but it would be less work to just make new wheels. DOM tubing is not available in 4140 alloy to my knowledge.
True, but hot rolled tubing is available made from 4140. That is an option. A lot less work than making tires from bar stock.

H
Harold, who offers this? Is it available in small quantities? The other challenge is getting tubing in the right diameter, with sufficient wall thickness.
Dan Watson

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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by WJH » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:00 pm

It doesn't have to be 4140, DOM is probably just fine

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ALCOSTEAM
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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by ALCOSTEAM » Sun Feb 23, 2020 6:39 pm

I would highly doubt you would ever wear out DOM tube unless you are running on bar stock rail and then it will likely be an owner or two down the road.
I have put tires on some old wheels, they were larger than 4.75". DOM tube is expensive, more than round stock cut offs or having rounds cut out of plate.
If your wheels are not that difficult to get off the axles and are in good shape it might be better to save them and start with new if you really want to go with steel.
Also you might check if there are machine shops in your area for drops. The guy I got the DOM tube off of had a job they run alot and got 2 to 3" long 5 1/2" round 1045 drops off of. I picked up maybe 20 of them for 2 bucks each years ago and used them for all sorts of projects.

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NP317
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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by NP317 » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:25 pm

Harder steels may not be the best choice for tires. Tires need to be "sticky" against the rails for adhesion, while harder steels will slip more.
The Pensy Railroad did extensive research on steels to use for locomotive tires. Their optimum solution used softer steel for the treads bonded to harder alloys for the flanges. I do not know if they succeeded, but an long-gone Friend of mine performed Engineering research on this solution for them.

So I used DOM tubing to make the tires for my Mikado, knowing it was a softer steel alloy, but definitely better wearing with more adhesion than cast iron wheels. like my Ten Wheeler still has.
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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by LIALLEGHENY » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:36 pm

4140 steel tube is available from McMaster Carr in annealed condition up to 6" OD . You could always send it out for heat treating . What you use, and the hardness, really depends on how much running you plan on doing, but also what rail you are running on. Steel or Aluminum?? You may also want to try bluemetalsales on Ebay. He also has a lot of inventory not listed so contact him with needs.

Nyle

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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by Glenn Brooks » Mon Feb 24, 2020 12:34 am

I looked into tubing a year or so ago. After extensive on line searching, found a full service supplier back east, that carried every imaginable diameter and combination of OD and ID. They would cut width to your OD/ID specification, for what I considered dirt cheap, at the time. Much lower cost than ALL the usual on line metal suppliers. They make their real money selling vast quantities of high pressure tubing to the gas and oil industry, so a few small pieces for RR tires is no big deal to them. Just order and they ship, same day service if I remember correctly....

Unfortunately, I didn’t bookmark the site, so can’t give you a web link. But, I suspect it would still be worthwhile to visit the Internet with Dr. Google and explore the industrial suppliers who cut and drop ship DOM tubing for a living.

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Re: Most cost efficient way to get steel tire blanks?

Post by rkcarguy » Mon Feb 24, 2020 2:04 am

WJH wrote:
Sun Feb 23, 2020 1:53 pm
Working on my GE44 project and my cast iron wheel blanks don't quite have the diameter on them that I would like, so I'm thinking about shrink fitting some 4140 or other steel tires to them. DOM tubing? I wouldn't think I could find a size that I need. Flame cut from 1" thick plate? Pretty sure water jet would be pretty expensive. OD needs to be about 4.75", ID I am not sure, not sitting in front of my cast iron wheels, and haven't cleaned up the OD yet to be able to tell you. I am away on a work trip.
If you are ok with A572-Grade 50 steel, we have a laser table that does up to 1" thick plate.
I actually have a bunch of steel wheel blanks on hand for a Chaski members order (he passed away last year after he paid for the order and we cut it), that were designed to finish up as 40" wheels in 1.5" scale ( I think about 5.625" in diameter). He wanted to drill and ream his own centers so they are just basically steel rounds. $8 each and I could get 8 of them in one of the medium flat rate USPS priority boxes for about $16 if I remember correctly?
Money from selling these is going to refunded to his widow.

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