On the following pages your will find detailed instructions on the parts needed and assembly instructions for a 12" Benchtop English Wheel.
The idea behind this exercise is to build a small English wheel that can be held in a vise, and used to fabricate small patch panels for body repair or modification. The goal was to have the lowest price possible, and use parts that were easily obtainable most everywhere.
For the top wheel, we used a Ford rear axle bearing, used by Ford from 49 until the late 80's. common and cheap. Any similar bearing can be used, it must be a sealed bearing.
For the anvil we used a 1" self aligning bearing obtained from Tractor Supply. Similar bearings are used in pillow block, again it must be a sealed bearing, if it is drilled for greasing it will mark the work. For optimum use, a flat about .075 should be sanded on the center of the outer race, and blended into the radius.
The other parts was scrap laying around the shop, left over from other projects. Other materials can be used depending on what you have on hand. Adjust dimensions accordingly.
The adjusting mechanism for the lower anvil is a telescoping shaft from a steering column, or intermediate shaft, the brand isn't important, they have been used at one time or another in most makes.
Using the wheel will take some practice. The pressure required is not much, finger tight is enough in most cases. I tried it by setting the lower anvil so it just didn't touch the upper wheel, and it did a good job of shaping 18 ga CR steel at that setting. With care, it will wheel 16 ga., or aluminum up to about .060.
The use of a sand or shot bag will speed up the process, rough form the part on a bag, using a rounded mallet and smooth it in the wheel. You can get pretty aggressive on the bag, and smooth out the lumps with the wheel.