Introduction: Make a Ladder Easier to Move

Picture of Make a Ladder Easier to Move
I added a wheel truck to a 15 foot extension ladder so one person can move it easily with one hand to the place where it will be used.

  • Two 6 inch lawnmower wheels
  • 3/8 inch concrete reinforcement bar
  • 6 hex head bolts 1/2 inch x 2 1/2 inches with hex nuts
  • 2 cotter keys 1 1/2 inch long
  • 4 lockwashers 1/2 inch in diameter
  • 4 squares of steel 3/16 inch thick measuring 1 3/4 inch x 1 3/4 inch
  • Electric drill and bits
  • Hacksaw
  • Welder
  • Tape measure
  • Wrench
  • Grinder

Step 1: Dimensions

Picture of Dimensions

My wheel trucks form a triangle. The ladder rungs are 12 inches apart on center. That forms one leg of the triangle. The other legs are 11 inches and 11 3/4 inches center to center. It does not matter much which leg is 11 inches and which is 11 3/4 inches.

Step 2: The Beginning

Picture of The Beginning

Cut two pieces of 3/8 inch concrete reinforcement bar a little longer than their respective sides of the triangle mentioned in step 1. Weld them to the sides of one of the hex head bolts as shown. I welded on the wheel side of the bolt, too. Do this fitting and welding again for the other wheel truck. Remember that the wheel trucks will be mirror images of each other so the wheels are on the same axis when finished.

In the photo you see the wheel trucks assembled. When I did the welding, I simply set a hex bolt on a flat surface, head down. I laid the reinforcement bar next to the hex head and welded.

Step 3: Square Pieces

Picture of Square Pieces

Make four squares of steel at least 3/16 inch thick and 1 3/4 inches x 1 3/4 inches. Drill a 1/2 inch hole in the center of each steel square.

Notice that I welded a short piece of reinforcement bar to one side of each square and welded the reinforcement bar pieces that form the legs of the triangle to the spacers. The spacers are to make a way over any lip on the ladder rails. 

Step 4: Attachment Rods

Picture of Attachment Rods

Redi-Bolt (continuously threaded rod) is expensive. I cut the heads from four 2 1/2 inch bolts and welded them to pieces of 3/8 inch concrete reinforcement bar. The total length of each of the two attachment rods is 20 1/2 inches. That means 15 inches of concrete reinforcement bar is needed for each attachment rod. 

Before welding I chamfered the ends of the reinforcement bars and the bolts. When finished welding I ground the area of the weld so the ends would fit through the 1/2 inch holes.

Slip the attachment rods through the two welded wheel truck assemblies. I used the third and fourth rungs from the bottom of the ladder. Add nuts and lockwashers. Tighten firmly. 

Step 5: Attach the Wheels

Picture of Attach the Wheels

I slipped the wheels onto their axle bolts and gently snugged the hex nut up to the wheel bearings. Then I drilled a hole through the nut and the bolt axle for a cotter pin.

Step 6: Use

Picture of Use

Just pick up the end of the ladder opposite the wheel trucks and walk while dragging the ladder behind you. Set it up against the building as you normally would.

Step 7: No Interference

Picture of No Interference

The wheel trucks do not interfere with normal use of the ladder.

Step 8: Storage

Picture of Storage

To store hang the ladder on wall hooks as you normally would. The wheel trucks are really not in anyone's way. 


wynelle (author)2012-09-24

Just this weekend I was dragging out my 10' fiberglass step ladder that I store under my deck because I cannot reasonably get it into the garage. Every time I pull it out I feel badly that the dragging it going to ruin it and that I ought to put it on rollers or something. This is exactly the "tip" I needed. I think I'll use some bicycle training wheels I just pulled off one of the kids' bikes since it still needs to fit under the deck. I'll post when I get it done.

I'll sure feel better protecting those treaded feet from wearing down from the first 2-3 feet of dragging required to get it out of its storage space. Thanks Phil!

Phil B (author)wynelle2017-03-05

Thank you. I hope it worked out. I try to respond to comments in a timely way, but somehow miss notice on some of them.

godson1952 (author)2016-03-22

Very good idea,But I know it is harder to do thing we get older so it is nice to see something that give us a helping hand.thanks ;-)

Phil B (author)godson19522016-03-22

I think I mentioned that ladder belongs to a church. Often people not really strong or experienced enough had to move that ladder. The wheels made life easier for all.

Topcat2021 (author)2012-09-15

Congratulations Phil;
Your post got picked up on I like the idea but for now I'm still able to carry the ladder top of shoulder style like the telephone workers do, so I'll keep this idea filed for later use if it should arise.
Keep up the good work.

iceng (author)2012-06-29

Following in the footsteps of the master.
Please let me know if I should give more credit


Phil B (author)iceng2012-06-30

I am glad you got around to doing an Instructable on your version. If anything, you gave me too much credit. It is interesting to see how you did yours. Also, I tried to determine how you did the levitation, but am not quite sure. If your leg or your grandson's leg is hiding a post, it is not a big post and it is cleverly hidden. Maybe you should have worked in one of the Las Vegas shows in addition to or instead of working on the gaming electronics. ;-)

iceng (author)Phil B2012-06-30

Only the pic of my levitation in not retouched using a magic means.

Getting the 36 pounds dynamite to sit still was almost impossible.
There I used a single inverted pin jack stand and edited the pic.

rimar2000 (author)2012-05-22

Good idea, Phil. My ladder is not so long, then I don't need to do this.

pfred2 (author)rimar20002012-05-22

Me either. I just find the balance and put it on my shoulder. Then I don't use any hands. One ladder I have is a 32 foot extension too!

Phil B (author)pfred22012-05-22

Perhaps I should mention this ladder actually belongs to our church and is often in use by a variety of people who may not use a ladder more than twice a year, and some of whom may be older.

pfred2 (author)Phil B2012-05-22

Fact is I'm always going to be picking the whole ladder up at some point regardless. I don't ever have someone to foot the ladder for me, so I foot against whatever I'm climbing up, raise the ladder, then carry it back to where I'm going to use it. For me carrying the ladder is just a good warm up for the main event so to speak.

iceng (author)pfred22012-05-24

Super Man you :-)

I had to use this ladder to clear branches for my giant box camera
for last week's sun eclipse.
Don't plan to move it until after Venus goes by June 5th but then those wheels sure look like the way to go for me.


Phil B (author)iceng2012-05-24

The wheels are nice. I am increasingly more clumsy as I try to avoid tripping myself while carrying a ladder with two hands about thigh high. Frequently one end or the other bangs into something I would rather not scratch or dent. The wheels take away all of those troubles. I hope the wheels works well for you. Thank you for looking and for commenting.

iceng (author)Phil B2012-05-31

Thanks for posting, Here is mine over the week end, It really works !

Iv never been in this position before.

What are the rules on asking you permission to post my copy of your Ladder easier to move ible ?

I would certainly give ample credit to your inventive skill
This was a first project that I made without ever leaving my workshop,
all the materials were at hand :)

A really handy used it again tonight...

Anyway, if you say NO then I will not post.  .   .   A

pfred2 (author)iceng2012-06-01

Do Phil better, put another set of wheels on it and motorize the sucker.

A parts list for you:

iceng (author)pfred22012-06-01

LoL  I got this thing,
you know how some people can't step on the crack in a side walk.

Well I can't do clutches !   I'm a really sick EE welder...

Phil B (author)iceng2012-05-31

I am delighted you made this and it works for you. I have no idea what the etiquette is. I am sure you learned something I did not mention, or you found a shortcut that would be really helpful to someone. My advice: go ahead and post what you have done. You could simply say you saw something like this in another Instructable and wanted to show how you did or modified it. The motto of Instructables is: "Show what you make." You made it. Now you can show it.

I once got upset with someone who took something I wrote that was several pages long, reprinted it word for word, and let everyone think it was all his. You are not doing that at all. Go for it with my blessing.

pfred2 (author)Phil B2012-06-01

See Phil that is where you got it wrong. You have to shoulder the ladder. Once you've shouldered it, then you're carrying a ladder! I never said it was going to be any fun.

pfred2 (author)iceng2012-06-01

My super days are behind me now. I can still move a ladder though. When I can't I think I'll retire from trying to use a ladder too. So sorry, I cannot move it into place. Really, carrying the ladder is nothing compared to carrying a 90# bundle of shingles up the ladder.

Leave that ladder up and the neighbors are going to think that you eloped!

All that Sun gazing you're doing explains a couple things.

Phil B (author)rimar20002012-05-22

This idea is for longer and heavier ladders. When I was young I helped my father with his electrical business. He had big heavy wooden ladders and I remember wrestling with those by myself. Aluminum ladders were a great improvement over those, but could be dangerous around electrical wires. Still, they were much lighter and easier to handle. But, these wheels make even an aluminum ladder easier yet to use. Maybe I am just getting older and am not as strong as I once was. Thank you.

omnibot (author)Phil B2012-05-22

Good idea and build.
Make sure to coat the attachment with something to prevent the aluminium in the ladder and the iron in the rebar to become a battery, the polarisation will cause electrolysis to dissolve parts of the construction.

Phil B (author)omnibot2012-05-22

Good idea! I currently live in Idaho where it is very dry. I made this wheel attachment three or four years ago. When I took one of the rods out for the photos, I saw no evidence of electrolysis between the two metals. Perhaps it might be more of a problem in a high humidity climate.

pfred2 (author)omnibot2012-05-22

I've seen that with nails and sheets, but I don't know how much of a factor that'd be with thicker parts. Even with nails and sheets it takes about 20 or 30 years out in the weather for it to happen. But it does happen, and makes stuff fail before it should.

jessyratfink (author)2012-05-21

Genius! I wish I had known about this when I still worked at the bookstore - I was always lugging a 12 foot ladder around by myself. :P

Phil B (author)jessyratfink2012-05-21

Thank you, Jessy. My regret is that the version I made requires a welder, which I know many do not have. Still, it is often possible to have a friend with a welder.

stroland (author)Phil B2012-05-22

I wonder if the part that is welded could be made from wood...that would eliminate the need for a welder except for the replacement for the threaded rod. I may have to see if I can coble something together like that. My 22' gets heavier each passing year. Or, I am going to have to improve my welding skills (starting at almost zero).

Phil B (author)stroland2012-05-22

John, at the risk of shameless self-promotion, you could look at my Instructable on learning to weld, but would still want to practice a little. Still, you can always grind out a bad weld and do it again. 

I thought about a wooden version. I would think 1 x 3 or 1 x 4 would be fine for the wheel supports. I would use a piece of plywood over the joint where the wheel axle would pass through the wood. It would make the joint more solid and would better anchor the axle bolt, too. 

The wheels for the ladder do not need to carry much weight, so you could probably use thinner threaded rods through the rungs. You could always buy simple rod with no threads and buy a thread dye for the size you need so you can cut your own threads on the ends of the rods. 

I hope all goes well. Thank you for looking at this and for commenting.

stroland (author)Phil B2012-05-22

I have already read your instructions about welding and it really is very good and quite easy to follow. I do have a welder, but had thought about making it out of wood since I have way more experience in that area. I even thought about just using a piece of triangular shaped plywood.

I had also thought of threading the end of a standard rod or even threading a piece of rebar, admittedly that might be hard to do but it is soooo cheap.

This is really a super handy idea though.

Phil B (author)stroland2012-05-22

Thanks, John. Your ideas sound good. I did not have a welder until a few years ago. I would surely have done this with wood if I still did not have a welder.

cathymeyer52 (author)2012-05-21

i have copyed your plans for my husband who always needs help when im busy .great idea. thank you.

Phil B (author)cathymeyer522012-05-21

Thank you, Cathy. Let me know how it goes. Contact me if you have questions.

Now that's clever ;)
Thanks Phil

You are welcome, Steli. Thank you for looking and for commenting.

About This Instructable




Bio: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying ... More »
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