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Hardware Store Plastic Roller Bearings

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I've not actually used this for anything, just built a prototype from materials on hand.

I've posted pictures, hopefully pretty self explanatory. The pictures aren't exactly what I describe. Again, just what I was able to work up as an example given materials I already had available. One should be able to build one of these for under $20 in materials. Not really sure how much load this will hold and still roll easily. I put a hockey stick (it was close at hand) through it, placed it on the floor and pushed down pretty hard and it rolled easily. If more weight bearing capacity is desired, one might fill in the PEX rollers with something. I've been told that one can buy 3/8 OD fiberglass electric fence posts. Those would work well for filling the PEX.
 
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Step 1: Materials

Components:
QTY 1 - 4" PVC toilet flange (hello easy mounting!)
QTY 1 - length of 3" PVC pipe
QTY 2 - Rings cut from 3" PVC fitting, doesn't matter what, buy one you can cut two rings from. (note, cap shown in photos as it is what I had) Actually, a cap might be good if the 'axle' doesn't happen to be 3", you can drill/cut an appropriately sized hole in the cap.
QTY 1 - 5' length of 3/8ID PEX tubing (I actually didn't have this, I paid something like $2 for it. It happens to be 1/2 OD)
QTY 2 -Some sort of rigid-ish plastic sheet like a binder cover, piece of plastic paneling, side of a rubbermaid tub, etc. (not in pictures, thought about this later - keeps assembly together)
PVC Cement
Masking tape
judas795 months ago
Did I miss something; what holds the pex tubing bearings in place? Maybe use on a light gocart.
Goodluck (author)  judas795 months ago
On the one pictured, nothing. It was a "proof of concept" assembly rather than built for an actual use. In the text for step 2, I laid out how one might go about "locking" them in with a big plastic washer on either side.
EmmettO2 years ago
With a few additions you could make this into a rope, wire or hose winder.

I wonder if this would take 50 lbs of weight. I have an excavation that I've been working on and hauling 5 gal buckets up out of it has become a wearisome job. I have a pulley system to lift out a bucket but what it needs is a rope winder like this to make it into a crane.
create a conveyor, using chain and scrap rubber
dave367 EmmettO2 years ago
We all get hung up on "wheeled" solutions. ;-)
Consider a Shadoof: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadoof
finton dave3671 year ago
Good idea! And we could make it more efficient by using Goodluck's PVC roller bearings for the pole to pivot on! ; ]
Goodluck (author)  EmmettO2 years ago
Hose reel, great idea. I need one of those...

I think it'd hold and roll under 50lbs of load, but I'd advise against overhead lifting with it. You wouldn't want is 50lbs of dirt unexpectedly crashing down on your head.
riff raff2 years ago
"There is nothing — absolute nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

;-)

Ratty from "Wind in the Willows", yes? Also sounds like Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons" philosophy. Wonderful sets of books (there is a sequel to WitWillows).
OMG! Love that book and the movie too. And the possible uses for the bearing are good too. ;)
THAT is the niftiest thing ever!
imajarhed1 year ago
I got my journeyman plumbing license way back in the 1900's and never considered using these materials in this capacity. I applaud your creativity. I can think of 1001 instances where this is exactly what I needed, had the materials on hand yet lacked the vision. Thank you for the info!!!
veitch1 year ago
Three guesses what I just decided to use for my rolling compost barrel. My first try will use the 3" pipe as the axle. I was on line shopping for the barrel when I looked at this : )
overblast2 years ago
For heavy loads, I'm sure iron pipe of the same dimensions would be good too? I'm talking 500#. :)

Thanks!!!!!!
altered142 years ago
This is a great idea, love the many uses for this. I might try to add this idea to a Big bicycle that we built on the roof of our bicycle shop made from 4" pvc. I always thought it would be cool to make the wheels spin freely.
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grimdaddy2 years ago
I may apply this idea as a spindle for a cargo cover on my scrap hauling truck.
jlambert2 years ago
Made a well bucket out of PVC. now I can make windlass out of PVC also. Thanks !
Very nice idea. I'm going to have to try this for sugar cane squeezing rollers. Thanks.
alzie2 years ago
Right, wet lubes wouldnt work out well.

For a dry lube, i use bicycle chain White Lightning, which is
a wax and teflon based lube with a volatile solvent.
After the solvent evaporates the dry lube remains and doesnt attract dirt.
Excellent for chains and any thing else that you dont want to attract dirt.

Also, you could rub on some candle wax / parafin.
This works well.
rayj00072 years ago
Great design. I think you could increase the capacity of this by using solid rollers rather than the pieces of 3/8 pex. Also be sure the 3" PVC is schedule 40 and not foam core DWV (drain, waste, and vent) pipe. I'm not sure about the outside diameter, but schedule 80 PVC will have a thicker wall, but you may have to go to a plumbing supply to get it. Another possible source of material is electrical conduit. It has the benefit of being UV resistant for outdoor use.
boston75132 years ago
This is genus ,,, I never would have thought of this ,,, it could be used wind turbines, weathervanes, waterwheels or wind sculpture,, cool idea!
SSimon2 years ago
Very nice. Reminds me of a project I did in 1986 while building an all wood wagon for my son. I wanted wheels that rolled smoothly, so I made roller bearings from 3/4 inch long pieces of rock maple 1/4 inch dowelling, running in a turned race in the maple hub. The half axles were 1 inch maple dowels, with threads formed on the outer ends for the wooden cap nuts that held the wheel in place. It lasted about 6 years under all the abuse a very active small boy could give it. There's no reason your build shouldn't be equally durable.
lothoth2 years ago
Great instructable!!

What about changing the small tubes for airsoft pellets? (adjusting the size of the outer or inner tube) it could roll better. Just thinking...
bdesigned2 years ago
Wonderful instructable, simple as it is. I was looking for a weather resistant way to build a rotating post for a solar panel which would turn towards the sun via a solar head. This will do it without the hassle of deterioration to steel bearings from the sun, abrasive wind, and rain.
omnibot2 years ago
Nice one. I'd advice against wd-40 or 5-56 as lubricant though since they tend to eat away plastic, go with an all silicon lube instead.
Goodluck (author)  omnibot2 years ago
I hadn't thought about the possibility of the PVC being attacked by the lubricant. Thanks for covering that for me.
zomfibame2 years ago
That's a great idea.
ABSOLUTLY BRILLIANT! great idea! this will help me in many many ways....

Thanks for posting this one!
noahw2 years ago
These are totally awesome! Nice discovery and thanks for sharing.
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