Introduction: How to Make Retractable Casters!
Like many makers, I have a lot of everything except space. To make things more accessible, I put everything on wheels. My tablesaw was a real problem until I saw retractable casters on a work bench. Once I saw how easy they were to make, my mission was clear.
Step 1: Tool and Materials
- Hacksaw (I used a metal cutting bandsaw)
- Drill and bits
- 1/4" allthread coupler nuts
- 1.25" square tubing
- 1 x 2" rectangle tubing
- 1/4 x 2" bolt or cap screw
Step 2: Make Carrier Bodies
Cut square tubing to make carrier bodies to hold the casters and the locking levers. Whereas most casters are top-mount, these will be side-mount. There will be four mounting holes in the side to bolt this carrier to the equipment. There will also be two pivot holes. One for the caster and one for the locking lever. The critical element is that the caster pivot be close to the equipment, and the lever pivot be farther away.
Step 3: Add a Pivot Point to the Casters
Drill out the allthread coupler nuts to 1/4" so a 1/4" bolt will pass through them and they will spin freely. Install them in the carrier body and make sure they don't bind against anything. Once that is done, see if your caster mount plates can reach the coupler nuts. Mine were too wide and had to be cut to make clearance.
Once you have the fit right, weld the coupler nuts to the caster mount plates and install them in the carrier body. Hold the carrier body against a mock-up equipment leg and see if you have enough play. I was shooting for 1/2" and I got it.
Step 4: Add the Locking Lever
Cut the 1 x 2" rectangle tubing into a shape that you're happy with and test fit it to your carrier body. The key to making this work is that there be a heel on the locking lever that extends past the lever pivot point toward the caster pivot point. If you get it right, the weight of the equipment will keep the locking lever held firmly in place.
Step 5: Watch the Video
This video explains the process better.