Sunday, 22 June 2014

Wooden casters / wheels...

A while ago I made a rotating table for my bench sander (which you can read about here) it's come in very handy,however recently I've had need for another rotating platform but I didn't have any little wheels,well not enough anyway,so I figured how hard could it be to make some?

It turns out it's not that hard at all,and they work just as well as the ones I bought last time round.

Here's a bought wheel / caster -

Cheap enough,but I couldn't be bothered to go out and get more.

And here's what I made - 

Almost the same.

You can see how they are made,basically each wheel has two triangle shaped sides,then there's a small dowel that runs through the whole thing and works like an axle,then there's the wheel,this I made using a small diameter hole saw.

Here's a more detailed view of the casters - 

Simple,but effective.

And that's about it,once I had made four of these little casters I then constructed the rotating table in exactly the same way as I did for my bench sander (see link at the start of this post) there are a couple of things to consider with these wooden casters,firstly they aren't quite as strong as the plastic ones and secondly because they aren't as strong they will wear out quickly and may break,although they won't really be getting that much of a work out the way I'm using them.

Here they are on the small rotating table I made them for - 

There's a fair gap,makes things a little less stable but not too bad.

Although these work well enough for what I want I'm not that happy with the gap there is between to two bits of wood,and about five minutes after I'd made this little platform I realised I could have made this in a better way,which is usually the case,I often look at things I've made and think why did you do it like that when this way would have been better?

I figured that instead of making these little casters I could just incorporate the wheels into one of the bits of wood,as an example in the picture above I could have fixed the wheels into the piece of wood the motor is fixed to,this would then reduce the height of the whole thing,in this case by nearly an inch.

Here's a quick drawing of what I'm getting at - 

Click on the picture for a larger view.

To fit the wheels into the wood isn't difficult,and as far as I can tell is no more work than making the casters,I made one quickly to show how you can make something similar.

Here it is - 

Works just as well.

To make it I took a scrap bit of plywood and made it square,then I marked a circle onto it,by drawing diagonal lines to find the centre,then I measured and marked lines at halfway both vertical and horizontal, then on the halfway marks I measured out a rectangle.

Like so - 

Onto drilling and cutting.

The rectangles will be where the wheels go,these obviously need to be cut out,so I started by drilling holes in each rectangle to make things easier,then I cut them out.

Like so - 

I wasn't being too careful,as you can tell.

Next I marked out where I was going to drill holes for the axles to go,I used vertical and horizontal marks I'd made as guides,then I made a small hole to locate the drill bit into,you want to be as close to dead centre as is possible,otherwise the wheels will end up at slightly different heights.

Like so - 

Add caption

I used a drill bit about the same size as the dowel I used to make the axles (8mm) and using my post drill I drilled out the holes,if you make something like this then a post drill is handy as you want to get the holes as straight as possible,otherwise the wheels will sit at odd angles and not spin very well.

Drilling - 

A bit off from where I wanted,but it should be okay.

The wheels I made the same way as with the casters,and as it turns out the drill bit on the hole saw was also 8mm so it worked out well for fitting the dowel through the wheels.

Onto assembly - 

Almost done.

To fit it all together I just pushed a bit of dowel through the hole in the wooden plate,then through the wheel and finally into the last hole,then I just cut the dowel off,to make sure the dowel doesn't work it's way out I drilled a small hole through the wooden plate and into the dowel,then I used a small piece of wood as a peg.

Hole for the peg - 

I just tapped a small peg into this hole.

Here's a view of the edge of it,you can see where the dowel goes - 

All done.

And that's that,what it is I guess is a very simple wooden bearing,but it's easy to make and as the next picture shows it would reduce the height quite a lot.

Height difference is about half an inch or so - 

I may have to adapt this.

I plan on making some more of these wooden bearings,no idea what I'll use them for,but it was fun making them,although I do have some ideas for wind powered models for the garden and these may come in handy for that.

Thanks for reading.

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