Introduction: Silent Hedghog/Pet Wheel

Picture of Silent Hedghog/Pet Wheel

Hello there! So a few months ago I got a Hedgehog and when searching for supplies learned that they need a special wheel that isn't mesh or wire because their feet get caught. The ones that were online were way too expensive for my tastes, so I made my own!

Pretty much it's a Roller Blade wheel attached to a bucket, so it's super cheap to make, and takes very little know how to make.

BY THE WAY: This is a really good design for other small animals that need excersie wheels. See the last step for some tips. And I'll add good tips from the comments and credit you too!

Awesome! I got featured! Thank you so much!

So since this is out there among more people, who may not have hedgehogs, you can replace the bucket with a mesh wheel for rats or even a plastic ones for hamsters! Again, if you have any questions, post them in the comments! But hedgehogs NEED a bucket so their feet don't get caught!!

Step 1: Materials:

Picture of Materials:

I got most of the materials from Home Depot save for the ball bearings and rollerblade wheel which I got from PlayItAgain Sports, but you can probably find some of these materials lying around.

*1 Bucket big enough for a Hedgehog to run in(I got my 5qt Wide Mouth Bucket from Home Depot, but you can use any bucket big enough for your hedgie to run on!)
1 length of the smaller diameter PVC Pipe(the diameter isn't too important; just not too thick, not too thin)
2 PVC Elbow Joints
3 PVC End Caps
1 PVC Three way joint
1 Roller Blade Wheel with exposed holes around the bearing whole.
1 Roller Blade/Skateboard Ball Bearing
1 Carriage Bolt; See Detailed Picture(I forgot the measurements of it, so take your Ball Bearing to your local hardware store and find a Carriage Bolt that fits snug, and isn't too short.)  IMPORTANT!:  Make sure that the nuts and bolt you got don't impede the spinning capabilities of the Ball Bearing, and have them only secured onto the inner metal ring.
2 Washers
3 Nuts
4 Mini Zip Ties

Optional, but Recommended:
Dremmel Tool, but if you have your own way of cutting PVC and making precise holes in the bucket, go for it.

*: If you don't have a hedgehog, you can use one of those mesh wheels for rats, and the plastic ones for hamsters and mice. 

Step 2: Attaching the Bearing and Roller Blade Wheel

Picture of Attaching the Bearing and Roller Blade Wheel

Simply slide the ball bearing onto the bolt and screw the nut down and secure it.  Then screw the second nut onto it for space. There's probably a better way to do this, but we're not building a rocket ship here.

Now, pound the ball bearing into the roller blade wheel with a rubber mallet, or if you're on a time crunch, pound it on the ground until it is snug.

Screw another nut onto it for some spacing between the wheel and the PVC Pipe, add a washer and put it to the side...

Step 3: Making the Stand

Picture of Making the Stand

The stand is pretty simple.   

Cut the PVC Pipe into pieces similar to the picture. The exact measurements don't matter too much, as long as they follow the basic outline of what I have and is stable with the wheel.

I have tagged the image with the approximate lengths that I made.

You will have to drill a hole in the PVC where you want to attach the bolt to, feel free to drill multiple holes for different height settings.  I can't really tell you the distance I made my hole, as it depends on the bucket you use.

Step 4: Attaching the Wheel to the Bucket.

Picture of Attaching the Wheel to the Bucket.

First of all, find the exact center of the bucket and put your rollerblade wheel on top and mark out the holes where you're going to attach the wheel with zip ties.
After this, drill out the marks with a dremmel tool like the picture. 

Now feed one end of the zip tie through the roller blade wheel into one of the smaller holes you drilled and back up through the other.  Now tighten the zip tie as much as possible.

Do this for all the holes until it is attached securely to the bucket.

Clip the zip ties, and you're done with this step!

Step 5: Attach the Wheel to the Stand.

Picture of Attach the Wheel to the Stand.

This is a really simple step.

After you have drilled the hole for the bolt, feed it through and attach it securely like in the picture.

Step 6: You're Done!

Picture of You're Done!
Bam! Woo! You're done!  

If you have any questions, comments, or anything let me know in the comments!

• My hedgehog doesn't have a problem, but if yours is having trouble with traction, try putting evenly spaced lines of hot glue on the inside of the wheel.

• To Clean:  I just clip the zip ties and scrub it out over the toilet, then re-attach the zip ties to the wheel.

• This can be used for other small animals like rats, mice, hamsters, etc. just use a smaller bucket depending on the size of your pet.



smathersapril (author)2012-05-24

Love it! We just got our new girl Dixie today and the wheel was super easy thanks to you! Saved us lots and we are pretty proud of doing the work ourselves. Thanks for the direction! It really is SILENT!!!!! ...and inexpensive. You rock and good luck in the challenge!

trebory6 (author)smathersapril2012-05-24

Wow, haha that was fast! I'm glad it worked for you! :)

DiegoN35 made it! (author)2016-10-05

Your idea mixed up with Alba's was awsome and easy to make, i need to cut the screws but its just a small detail,
thank u for sharing it!

tofrus (author)DiegoN352017-01-07

Nice, but look like the wheel surface is not flat.

tofrus made it! (author)2017-01-07

I did it! i thought its hard but it isnt. thanks for everyone who suggest to use caster wheel. its not silent but not noisy as well. i have hedgehog in my room and still can sleep normaly. thanks for OP as well for posting this.

CassandraB22 made it! (author)2016-03-20

OMG thank you so much for posting this! I needed a quiet wheel and saw that basically only CSW existed, and considering I'm in Canada, I didn't want to pay upwards of $70 and wait 2-3 weeks... I went and bought everything and made it the same afternoon!! Can't wait for my little one to try it tonight to see if it's really silent!! :D

MeganP41 (author)CassandraB222016-04-06

Ditto on cdn prices, yeesh! What did you use for the wheel? My daughter wants a pink one for her new hedgie!

TaalorNakol made it! (author)2016-03-01

I finally got my girls wheel built! I spent a grand total of $9 on it compared to the $50 it was going to cost me to get one shipped here! Super easy instructions and it is SOOOO much quieter than her old wheel. I can't wait to see how she likes it tonight!

SusanS30 made it! (author)2015-08-07

I used the top to a cake carrier from Sterilite, and the caster method. It's perfect! Knuckles is going to love it! Thanks for the tutorial and all the helpful hints! :)

WilnaG1 made it! (author)2015-07-09

Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I also used a trolley bearing wheel, but used the wheel itself as apposed to using the frame. Glued the entire thing to the bucket. Had to build up around the wheel first as the inside part (attached to the shaft) is thicker than the part I need attached to the bucket. My bucket was also a bit larger so I had to add some traction by adding in lines with glue. Thanks so much for this. Couldn't find a wheel ANYWHERE till I got this link!

depp1 (author)2015-05-28

My Home Depot doesn't carry the bucket but a Fortiflex Minipan 5 qt will do the trick. You can find the pan online in various colors. Prices vary from site to site but the pan can be found for less than $5.

mathew.white.716 (author)2015-03-24

Those of u that have made one what size PVC did u use and what are your lengths cut in inches for back brace and legs? I could probably figure it out but wondered what the most common lengths each have used when constructing. Thanks

Alba Gmelch made it! (author)2014-02-27

Hi! I want to share with you my version of hedghog wheel... I was looking for a solution for the skate bearing and wheel... and I found it!! Really simple and cheap too ^-^
Was that: use an industrial wheel. We take off the wheel... and the rest is how you see it. 4 screws and nuts to fix it to the bucket, the same screw and nut who comes with the wheel to fix the pvc elbow (no glue for this)... And this is all :)
A tip: when you take off the weel from metal part, take that and buy the elbow and pvc pipes according to it. (our wheel is aprox 7.5 cm of diametter, and the pvc pipes are 32, but i recomend first buy the wheel)
I hope this will be helpful.

vivalachibi (author)Alba Gmelch2015-03-20

i tried this idea and so far my hedgie loves it. y store didnt have the 5 qt wide wouth so i made due and cut a bucket. but ive made due and made it sturdy. also id advise greasing the caster wheel. it might just have been mine. but i had to grease. as soon as i can ill post mine.

jpham16 (author)Alba Gmelch2014-05-23

This is a great idea, using a castor wheel! Just curious, what size castor wheel did you use?

Alba Gmelch (author)jpham162014-05-23

The wheel have a diameter of 7'5 cm. approx., the part which is attached to the bucket have dimmensions of 7'5 x 6 cm. (i hope this sizes could be helpful)
I recommend buying first the castor wheel and when you have removed the wheel, take the bearing part and try the differents elbows until find the right one.

kramajayam (author)Alba Gmelch2014-07-05

So the PVC elbow will fit snugly into the space without any kind of adhesive,glue, etc.?

Alba Gmelch (author)kramajayam2014-07-08

That was my case, but i think that a little of silicone or pvc glue could make it stronger. However, it has not been necessary.

jpham16 made it! (author)2014-07-05

Love this instructable! Finally got around to doing this project haha. I did something similar to what Alba Gmelch did.

IrisDre (author)jpham162014-10-10

Looks really good! Is it also quiet? Caster wheels can be noisey right?

cp062500 (author)2014-09-29

Rats need plastic wheels too.

whizzkidmucker (author)2014-07-11

I made a similar thing yesterday, adapting an existing wheel that came with the hamster cage. I was going to buy a silent wheel as the one supplied was so noisy at night for my son. Our local pet shop wanted £14 for a small one! I looked around the house for a suitable bearing/spindle and found an old Xbox 360 fan. After some cutting, sanding and gluing it was ready. Installed it last night and it was so, much better.

wtan8 (author)2014-04-23

Hey, do u sell these wheels? Its difficult to get some of the material like the roller blade wheel from where I came from. Possible to buy 1 ready made from u thr?

vinzxon (author)2013-09-24

tell me, is that any replacement for the roller blade wheels???

it's a rare and expensive part from where I come from,,,

Akai The Wolf (author)2013-07-11

Thanks I have been looking for a method to make a ferret wheel as the ones I have seen are over $100

SwtMelly (author)2013-06-14

For those of you that have rats, and hate noisy wheels, try this with the Fortiflex Mini Feed Pan found here

soksok4 (author)2012-12-10

Is there any alternative for the skateboard wheel? thanks. Love the idea.

trebory6 (author)soksok42013-01-25

Well, it uses a roller blade wheel. If you're talking about the Ball Bearing, then no, there isn't.

soksok4 (author)2013-01-02

Please, reply... :( thanks.

mari3 (author)2012-07-08

This was a great idea! I made one or my two gerbils (: it just had to be smaller, and chew proof on the zip ties, I glued a metal lid to a jelly jar over that. I also added little toothpicks to the inside so they would have something to grip, I used Elmer's because it's nontoxic. A few have popped off, but it still works great. Winifred (the black one) loves it!

GunmmiB3ar (author)mari32012-07-22

Great Idea about gluing a cover over the zip ties that was on of my thoughts also was them chewing on it.

GunmmiB3ar (author)2012-07-22

Would hot-gluing the wheel to the back of the bucket and zip tieing it affect this in anyway? I just think that a little more support to hold it on would be better.

AussieAnglerGal (author)2012-07-09

cool idea! i have considered getting mice but didn't like squeaky wheels (as i would have to share a room with them at night!)

i wish you could own hedgehogs in Australia....that is one adorable animal!!!

Mavs41 (author)2012-06-05

I got my hedgehog 3 days ago and finished the wheel yesterday, really appreciate it dude! I don't know if you've thought of this but the PVC took up a little too much space in the size cage I have. I ended up drilling a whole in the side of the cage (I use a large plastic storage container) and putting the bolt straight through that. Works great so far. Do you know what section of home depot you got that bucket in? I couldn't find anything like that and ended up having to cut one, but after that it was a little too flimsy and I'm afraid it'll bend under his weight.

trebory6 (author)Mavs412012-07-02

I got the bucket in the paint section with the rest of the Buckets. It's called a 5 qt Wide Mouth bucket. Here's the link to

rimar2000 (author)2012-05-24

Good design and work, congratulations.

trebory6 (author)rimar20002012-05-24

Thanks! :)

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