When restoring Matchbox regular wheels cars removing the axles and wheels is essential for paint striping and cleaning of your restoration project. This is my method on how to manufacture new axles that look very close to the original.

Firstly you will need: Bright steel bullet head nails 40mm x 1.6mm

A single cut file

Side cutters

Small ball pein hammer

800 1200 grit wet and dry sandpaper

Drill press or bench mounted power drill

A small vise


These 1.6mm diameter nails are a perfect size for most plastic and metal wheels regardless of the outside wheel diameter and once finished, roll extremely well.

Mount the nail in a drill press and file the head to achieve a dome similar to original axle.
Once you have achieved the desired shape, use some wet and dry sandpaper to polish the head. For best results hold the sandpaper in one position for a few seconds

The finished axle head


Install the wheels and axle to the base plate or on some models, straight to the body and cut the nail at least 2-3mm proud of the wheel. On most regular wheel models there is usually 2mm of play to ensure the wheels spin freely.

Then remove the nail from the wheels and base plate and file the cut end flat.

You can cheat by using a bench grinder but remember to not take too much off the overall length as it may become too short.


Once the end of the nail is flat refit it back to the base plate or body.

Using the back of a vise or thick piece of steel place the head on one corner and gently tap the cut end with a small ball pein hammer.

I have found that a lot of small taps works better and doesn't cause the axle to bend and decreases the risk of hitting your finger, or even worse, your model. Once you have achieved a reasonable flare the wheels will not come off and will look very close to the original!

© 2008 Moko Lesney Matchbox