Today I wanted to share a little tip on recycling your old Hot Wheels factory axles so you don’t have to fap about with brass rods and a hammer (which actually isn’t that hard – just read this article to find out)

This tip is part mine and part Ron Black, a customiser who was kind enough to share his tips on how he seals up the end of his brass rod axles using beads. I took this idea and thought – ‘if you are not taking advantage of the softness of the brass metal by hammering the end flat to close off the axle then why are you using brass rods as axles? Surely this same technique can be applied to the (hard AF) steel axles.

So I tested it and I saw that it was good.

Usually at this point I would start sharing images and steps but this is going to be the quickest how to hack I have ever published on since technically all I need to do is share the product in question and string together a few basic steps…so here goes nothing 🙂

Tools and Parts Required

The beads are #1 size, any other size is too big. These are crimping beads but I found if you crimp them on the ends they are not very attractive

crimp beads to close off your hot Wheels axle

Step 1: Removing the Hot Wheels Axles

This method can be applied to both metal and plastic based castings, but in the case of metal bases it is important to note that sometimes lifting or removing the metal tabs can be next to impossible. If this is the case then the only real solution is to revert back to our brass rods methodology for creating Hot Wheels axles. The process for lifting the metal tabs is exactly the same as the method employed for plastic bases – a process I will outline below

*To lift the tabs (on a plastic based casting) I usually place a small flathead screwdriver underneath and lever it upwards. Do the same for all three tabs until they are neatly straight up and then remove the axle. When placing it back in squash them down individually and then flatten all three at once by pushing the flathead screwdriver down onto them.

If the base is metal then the exact same technique is employed, it just requires more strength when levering the tabs up and also requires patience since the tabs only move a tiny bit each time. I keep going until they either snap off completely (which happens more often than not) or they are standing up enough to allow the axle to be removed without bending it. Sometimes the metal tabs are so close together that squeezing the thin head of a flathead screwdriver between them is impossible. If this is the case then cut the axle the old fashioned way by bending half of it up so you can get the cutters underneath, then throw it away and grab your brass rods…

how to remove axle from Hot Wheels base

use small flathead screwdriver to lift the tabs holding the axle

Step 2: Removing the Wheels and Preparing the Axle

Once we have successfully removed the original Hot Wheels axle we need to remove one of the end caps so we can then reuse the axle. Now regardless of whether you are using this axle on the same body or not, you need to ensure that you only remove the end cap and as little of the axle rod as possible. The axle is designed out of the factory to fit that casting (base) with maybe 1- 2mm of play available. This small amount of play will work in our favour as our new updated axle with a bead on the end will now sit that much flusher – because offset yo!
So… hold the axle in your fingers so both wheels slide to the bottom and then use your go-to wire cutters to snip the end cap off along with as little of the axle as is humanely possible.
Please remember to ensure the wheels are facing the right way. I speak from experience here when I say there is nothing more frustrating and facepalm inducing than realising you have capped your axle perfectly only to realise that one (or both) of the wheels is facing inwards and you have to cut your axle and start again. 
Put both wheels on and then place a small dab of GEL super glue or two-part epoxy on the end with the missing cap. (the more expensive superglue comes in a gel form so you don’t get it dripping everywhere.) Tilt the axle holding the wheel in place and the bead will slide into the glue. use a hobby knife blade or something small to move the bead flush with the end of the axle. A little gel super glue goes a very long way.
Final step to making this look professional is to paint the end caps (bead and normal end) either a silver to match the existing axle or whatever colour is going to go with the wheels and car colour you have opted for.
Most important of all, have fun and keep on customising!



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