Fabricating Hidden Axle Plates
A lot of complicated parts that normally require machine work can be fabricated and welded from simple sheet and bar materials. Here is a kit we sell with all of the parts needed to make up a hidden axle plate using simple materials. The J-bends can be made from half a piece of tube and a piece of flat bar. The J-bend eliminates two welds. Tools required to build this kit is a welder, drill and bits, counter sink bit, 8-32 tap, 5/16”-18 tap and a sander (bench belt sander or disc works best).
Assembly starts with fitting the outside pieces (J-bends in the kit) so you have the correct width and length. Bevel ends where they are welded together to ensure a proper weld. The parts in this picture have been started but more beveling will be done before welding. The slotted axle plate has also been fitted but is best left until the outside oval housing has been welded together.
Once J-bends have been welded and cleaned up, the outside cover plate can be trimmed to size. The cover plate can be steel, stainless, aluminum (as in the kit), plastic, wood or whatever you can dream up. It is best to leave the fit tight at this point. Later, the cover is trimmed for an easy fit allowing for paint clearance. It is a good idea to mark the inside of the cover plate and housing so you know which way the cover fits every time. Since the housing is fabricated, there may be slight differences from one end to the other.
Next, the housing is flipped over and using the outer cover or a similar thickness shim material, tabs are held against the outside cover and welded in place. This provides a place to attach the outside cover.
Now, the slotted axle plate can be welded to the back of the housing. Bevel the axle plate to ensure a proper weld and sand the back of the housing flat. A vixen file makes quick work of smoothing down flat surfaces. Belt sanders are a quick way to finish fabricated items. The cover plate is marked for screw locations and placed on the housing to be drilled. Drill holes for the 8-32 tap holes, then take the cover off of the housing and drill to clear the 8-32 screw diameter and countersink the holes for the socket flat head screws. Thread the housing tabs with 8-32 threads. The aluminum cover can be polished and set aside for final assembly. The front of the housing is drilled and tapped 5/16”-18 for the provided stainless setscrews. The setscrew is positioned to push against the axle washer to provide axle adjustment. A nut is provided for locking the adjuster screw. The nut can be installed inside the housing but may be difficult to tighten unless some kind of special tool is made for the job. The cover tab might be trimmed for better access.
Here is a picture of the completed housing with the cover screwed in place. Now it just needs a frame welded to it!