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Thread: Rim clamp

  1. #1

    Rim clamp

    I was talking to a friend one day and he said that he went to have 4 trailer tires changed and they wanted to charge him 25 bucks a piece to mount them, he already had the tires to be put on. We were talking about how that seemed really expensive and started wondering how hard it would be to build a rim clamp and change the tires ourselves. I've seen used ones go for 900-1500 on craigslist and that is a little to expensive for me. So I did some research and looked at a ton of pictures of boughten rim clamps to figure out how exactly they work, I've never used one and don't have access to one to see how to build it. I figured out most of the "engineering" and their was a guy on another forum that has a used one and he helped out by sending me some detailed pics so I could see the little things that make a rim clamp work.

    I bought some metal and started cutting it up and welding together a sturdy base. I bought some bearings and a shaft and some other parts from mcmaster carr for the project. I mounted the bearings and shaft and started building an arm that adjust for different sized rims. Made a hinge from some pipe and a shaft for the arm to swing on.

    I was originally planning on just turning the table by hand for now to keep the cost down, just using a long peice of pipe for leverage to turn the table. But I am looking for a gear box and motor for this now. It only needs a 1 horse 110 motor so I should be able to find a used one for pretty cheap. I put a wanted ad on craigslist for gearboxes so I'll see what comes from that, otherwise I found a new surplus one for 100 bucks. I will need to use a chain and sprocket setup from the gearbox to the shaft to gear it down to about 10 RPMs so this will take some math to figure out.

    I was also planning on making a screw setup to adjust and tighten the clamps that hold the rim. But I bought an air cylinder to move the clamps so it will be just like the rim clamps you can buy. This took some thinking to figure out but have it under control now. Just need to figure out how to drill a hole threw the shaft I have so I can get air to the cylinder. I don't have access to a lathe to drill a hole all the way threw. I can buy a hollow shaft but they are around 70 bucks. I think I have an idea of how to do this so will try it out soon.

    I bought a chunk of 2"x2"x12" UHMW to try and machine my own clamps that hold the rim. I was planning on using my router table and an assortment of bits and hope they wouldn't just melt the plastic. But I ended up breaking down and buying a set of plastic clamps for 90 bucks. Didn't want to spend that but at least I know they will work and if I need to I can use these ones as a template to make new.

    I also bought a "duckhead" which is the part that goes in between the rim and tire and actually does the job of romoving/mounting the tire from the rim. It was only 20 bucks so it didn't pay to try and make one.

    It will also have a bead breaker powered by an air cylinder. I will work on this after I get the rim clamp and arm part working smooth.

    Well I think that is it for now! I'm hoping to get some work done on this and the spring compressor this weekend. I need to start getting some of these projects done and not keep starting new ones!!! I'm not sure about the total I will have invested in this, going to end up being more than I thought in the beggining but it will have all the features of a boughten rim clamp that you see at all tire shops. I'm guessing all said and done will be around 400-500. Still way under what you can buy a used one for let alone a new one.

    Here are some pics.

    Thanks
    Scott

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  2. #2

    Re: Rim clamp

    Couple more pics

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  3. #3

    Re: Rim clamp

    I need some ideas!!! I'm trying to figure out how to get air up to the turntable for the clamping cylinder. I bought a gear reduction box and plan on mounting the turntable to this. The problem is that I need to get air from the stationary frame up to the rotating turntable, hope this make sense! I'm going to try and attach a copy of the parts manual for a rim clamp you can buy so you can see how they do it. It looks like they use a stationary cup that goes around the shaft(with a seal I assume) and then a top cup that rotates with the turntable(that must be sealed to the bottom cup and also sealed around the shaft). They bring air into the bottom cup and then out the top cup. I know this isn't the best explanation but hopefully I can attach the parts manual and you can see what I'm talking about. Any advice you might be able to provide on how they do this will be greatly appreciated, this is the last issue to overcome for this build!

    Once I figure the air out I will finish this build up. It has cost me around 400-500 bucks to build. I bought the clamps fot the rim which were 90 bucks. I had originally planed on making some clamps out of UHMW which I bought a 2x2x12" chunk for 12 bucks. I still plan on making some clamps out of UHMW and will use the metal ones I bought as a template. I found a nice gear box for 45 bucks, a used motor, an air cylinder for 20 bucks, a mount/demount head for 10 bucks, and metal. I spent probably 100 bucks on misc parts that didn't work out, a shaft and bearings that I'm going to change out for the gear box.

    I still have a little ways to go but I can see the end. After I get the rim clamp working I will be adding a bead breaker to the side of the machine. This will consist of an air cylinder that will pull an arm and squeeze the tire between the arm and machine and break the bead and let the air out. A new machine costs well over a thousand dollars and the cheapest used one I've seen was for 900 bucks. I ended up spending more than what I wanted but also added a lot of features along the way that I hadn't planed on. When I started I planed to turn the rim by hand and clamp it by a screw mechanism. Now it has a motor and an air clamping system just like the real machines so the cost was worth it. If I would have stuck with my original plans it would have been around 150 bucks but wouldn't be fun to use! So I believe all in all 500 bucks isn't to bad for a machine that costs 3 times that and the tire shops charge 25 bucks a tire to change them so if I use it for 5 sets of tires it's paid for. Also I can take flat tires off the rim to patch them. Plus I enjoy the challanges and victories in these builds!

    Thanks, scott

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    Last edited by ponch37300; 09-28-2009 at 11:17 PM.

  4. #4

    Re: Rim clamp

    Well looks like the parts manual loaded up. If you look at page 7 of the manual at part number 21 you will see how they attach the table to the gear box and this is where they run their air supply up to the turntable. This is were I'm having some challanges on how to get air from a stationary part to a rotating part! So if anyone can shed some light I will be very appreciative!

    Thanks, Scott

  5. #5

    Re: Rim clamp

    Well after talking to a freind about this issue today I think we came up with a solution. I searched and found a rotary coupling that goes around a shaft. Not sure what they cost but I'm going to guess alot more than what I want to spend on this! So for now I am going to simplify things a little. I'm still going to have the air cylinder to clamp the rim. Instead of having to spend big money to get air to the cylinder from the machine I am going to put a schrader valve and a release valve on each end of the cylinder. To clamp a rim I will open one end of the cylinder and then fill the other end threw the schrader valve. Little more work than just pulling the handle on a valve but it is a lot cheaper and works as good. I figure I'm going to have a tire chuck right there anyway to fill the tires so it won't be a big deal to use it to get pressure to the cylinder.

    My 60:1 gear box should be here the end of the week so I can get this mounted up and then mount the motor. Now that I have the air figured out(I still would like to get a rotary coupler someday) I should be able to wrap this thing up fairly smoothly.

    Scott

  6. #6

    Re: Rim clamp

    Not sure if anyone is following this or not but here's some updates since the last post. I've had quit a few setbacks and changes to deal with but think it's coming along alright. The guy sent me the wrong gearboxes so I'm still waiting for the right ones. I also have changed the drive setup and the shaft that rotates the turntable. Instead of the 1" solid shaft I will be using a piece of 2 1/2" sch 40 pipe.

    For the drive I will be using a 1 HP motor that will be linked to a 60:1 gearbox by pullies and a belt. From the gearbox I will use an ansi 80 sprocket and chain to furthure reduce speed and turn the 2 1/2" pipe that will turn the turntable. The problem with this is that I couldn't find a sprocket with a 2.875 bore, and the ones that came close were WAY out of my budget. So I found a sprocket at an online surplus store and I plan on using a hole saw to drill out my own bore and then weld the sprocket to the pipe. Hopefully I can do this without to much warpage. This pipe will be supported by 2 flange bearings and then come threw the top of the base. I'm going to attch my turntable to this pipe.

    Now the fun part, the part that's been driving my crazy trying to figure this out for the last month! I need to get 3 air lines up to the turntable, 2 to operate an air cylinder to clamp the rim and one for a bead blaster to set the beads on the rim. I needed a rotary union but they are really expensive, I can see why after all the thaught and engineering I've done in the last month! So time to make my own rotary union to transfer air from the stationary base to the rotating turntable. Since I don't have a lathe or a mill I have decided to use UHMW for it's durability and also lubrication qualities. I will be using a piece of UHMW rod coming out of the rotating pipe. Around this I will use a piece of UHMW tube. In between them I will use some o-rings in grooves that I will make. This is going to be the tricky part, I plan on using a bolt to chuck the uhmw in my drill press and then use a tool of some sort to make the grooves for the o-rings. I'll try and post a picture of a manufactured rotary union so you can see what I'm trying to accomplish.

    I ordered all my sprockets, chain, pulleys, belt, and everything to make the rotary union and also a bunch of other parts and pieces to try and put this thing together. Hopefully things will come together without to many more hicups.

    Well guess that's it for now. Hopefully I'll have some updates, and they will be good ones on progress! If I can get this air rotary union right I think the rest should come together alright.

    When I first started this I did some figuring and thought I could build this for around 300 bucks. Today I did some rough number crunching and it's going to come in somewhere around 500-600 bucks. I could have found a used one for around 1000 but they are usually pretty beat up. I could have came in at 300 bucks by leaving out the air clamping system and going with a manual clamping system but I wanted to keep all the features of a boughten one. And I enjoy tackling new things and learning how to do things so maybe you could say some of the price tag went for an education! I still am happy with this project because I have learned a LOT. And what fun would a project be if everything went together smoothly?!!! Plus I'm still saving 500 bucks over a used one.

    As always I'm always open for advice or suggestions!
    Thanks, Scott


  7. #7
    Contributing Member MXtras's Avatar
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    Re: Rim clamp

    Another option for the rotary union is to simply use air couplings. No - they are not meant for rotary use but they work. I know a few guys that use them for homemade hose reels and they work.

    Yes - I am following along and I am sure several of us are. We are just getting really tired of saying stuff like "nice work", "great job", "good idea", "keep us informed", "you're the man", "way to go" - - you know - stuff like that.



    Scott
    If it wasn't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done

  8. #8

    Re: Rim clamp

    Quote Originally Posted by MXtras View Post
    Another option for the rotary union is to simply use air couplings. No - they are not meant for rotary use but they work. I know a few guys that use them for homemade hose reels and they work.

    Yes - I am following along and I am sure several of us are. We are just getting really tired of saying stuff like "nice work", "great job", "good idea", "keep us informed", "you're the man", "way to go" - - you know - stuff like that.



    Scott
    I thought very hard about how to make a swivel work and could make one air passage work but for the life of me couldn't figure out how to get 3 air pasages to the turntable. So as far as I can come up with this is the only way to get the 3 lines of air I need to the turntable.

    That's alright Scott, I don't post my projects to receive the praise. It really helps me organize my head and ideas after a long day of thinking! I'm not an engineer so sometimes my head starts spinning trying to figure some of this stuff out and put parts together. And also maybe someone has some advice or ideas about what I'm doing. There are a lot of parts of this project that I haven't dealt with before so lots of stuff to keep learning and put together. I haven't dealt with sprockets and chains before so had to read about what size, pitch, teeth and everything else. Also just trying to post something since there isn't much on this forum.

    Thanks, Scott

  9. #9
    Contributing Member MXtras's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Re: Rim clamp

    I appreciate your posts!

    Scott
    If it wasn't for the last minute I wouldn't get anything done

  10. #10

    Re: Rim clamp

    Been pretty busy finishing up some outside projects around the house before winter and also had to make some oak trim for the house and wanted to get that done before it got to cold out since my garage isn't insulated. But finally got some time to work on the rim clamp a little yesterday. I found a scrap yard around here that sells metal for 35 cents a pound and went and checked it out last week looking for a peice of 3/8" plate to use for the turntable but didn't find anything. Think I'll go back sometime next week and see if I have some luck.

    So today I decided to cut a new hole in the big sprocket that goes around my 2 1/2" pipe that the table will eventually mount to. I couldn't find a sprocket that fit what I needed and even if I could find one don't think I could afford it, so found one from a surplus store but the center hole needed to be cut larger to fit my pipe. I only have a benchtop drill press and it doesn't have enough clearance to get to the center of the sprocket. So I got out the milwaukee hole hawg and chucked up the 3" hole saw. I knew this was going to be fun! Since the center was already cut out I welded a peice of flat stock across the hole so the pilot bit would have something the center the hole saw. The hole hawg goes down to 300 RPM and has plenty of power but if it catches you will go for a ride!

    So I started drilling the pilot hole and once it broke threw the hole saw caught and spun and chipped some teeth and actually bent and snaped the pilot bit in half. So I took it off the drill and put a new pilot bit and used a hammer to straighten the hole saw the best I could. It made it threw pretty good till I got to the end and it caught again and really bent the hole saw and chipped more teeth, needless to say it went in the garbage! But I was able to finish the hole with a grinder.

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    So I beveled the edge on the sprocket and began welding it to the pipe. This was something new to me, never welded pipe before. Then I lined everything up in the bearings and started fitting the sch 80 chain. I didn't realise how big this chain was when I ordered it, don't think I will ever have to worry about snapping a link! After I measured and popped the pins out I used a connecting link to hook everything together and it spins real nice. I put a 24" pipe wrench on the pipe and I could still turn the gearbox very easily with my other hand, think it will have no problem turning a tire. Well that is it for now, here is some pictures of the chain linking the gear box to the pipe.

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    Going to try and finish up the rotary union today and hope that works the way it should. I'm going to try and get the gearbox and bearings mounted up and supported good. Then will just need to find a peice for the turntable and get the clamping mechanism put together.
    Last edited by ponch37300; 11-06-2009 at 10:42 AM.

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