Super-Sized Office Chair Wheels

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Introduction: Super-Sized Office Chair Wheels

About: Welcome to my Instructables channel where I'll share my wacky and unique creations that hopefully others find useful, or better yet, inspire an evolution of even better ideas!

If you like this project please vote for it in the "Super-Size Contest": Contest Link

Gave my Herman Miller Aeron Chair a 2" lift using scooter wheels and a custom designed 3D printed caster housing.

  • There is an ergonomic reason for this project that I'll explain later

These are amazing chairs, and to be honest, one of the few expensive items I own that definitely warrant the high price. Luckily I didn't have to buy it myself, my employer did, but I gladly would have if I'd known it would help with my back problems and especially last this long.

Herman Miller Aeron Chair Website

(If you want to get straight to the project details, ignore my Side Stories.)

SIDE STORY:

We have been under Work-From-Home orders since early March, which I absolutely love, but my back problems have resurfaced because I've been without this chair that I've used since 2008. My employer, just this week, had it brought to my home.

It took 3 months of pleading with our HR department and facilities to either allow me to go into the office to retrieve it, deliver it to me, or purchase and send me a new one. Conclusion? Well, after 3 months, and 12 different people involved, 50+ emails, numerous phone calls, they brought my chair to me. Reasoning? Because they didn't want to spend $1500 on a new one. Though they just spent well over that in labor time to come to that conclusion. The logic of huge corporations?

Onto the build...

Supplies

  1. Scooter Wheels
  2. 8mm Bolts, 90mm Long
  3. 1/8" Spacers (Similar Sized Metric If You Can Find Them - I Couldn't)
  4. 8mm Nylon Lock Nuts

TOOLS:

  1. 3D Printer
  2. Standard Hand Tools For Tightening The Bolts
  3. 7/16" Reamer (Optional)

Step 1: 3D Print the Caster Housings

This was designed in Fusion 360, and printed via CURA under the standard (.2mm) PLA settings, with 75% infill and if printed in the orientation shown above it will require no supports.

  • Each one took about 11 hours and consumed 118 grams of filament
  • The axle hole is 8mm to match the scooter wheel bearings
  • The caster post hole was sized for standard caster wheel posts, which are 7/16"

STL File attached below.

Step 2: Gather the Parts

Shown above are all of the parts needed to build 5 casters.

  1. The wheels are made for scooters and have a 100mm (almost 4") diameter. These were actually the cheapest I could find at around $6 each. Which doesn't sound bad until you realize you need 10, and oh by the way, they come in packs of 4 for some reason (Don't scooters have two wheels?). But the color and design is perfect for my taste (I love green!)
  2. Custom designed and 3D printed caster housings in black (I would have printed them in green but ran out of that color filament and its now on back order.)
  3. All hardware was purchased from Ace Hardware

ERGONOMIC REASON:

There is actually a very important reason for the larger wheels. When I first got the chair, it did not go up high enough for me to comfortably rest my arms on the desktop. I'm 6'4", so I have long legs and arms. These larger wheels boost the seat height almost two full inches. The Aeron chairs do come in larger sizes but they are uniformly larger, which would not help for my stature. By only lifting the chair, the larger wheels placed my seat at the right height, while keeping the armrests at a height that they will just slide under my desk.

Early on, I purchased these: Giant Caster Wheels

Those served me well for many years in the office environment where there is that low pile carpet, but now since I'm at home in my office with wood floors, they didn't do so well. Thus, the actual purpose (besides just looking cool) for this project. And the timing couldn't have been better for the Super-Size Speed Challenge.

Step 3: Wheel Assembly

  1. 1/8" bronze spacers go between the wheel and caster housing
  2. Tighten the 8mm bolt/nut just to the point where there is no side play in the wheel assembly. Check the wheels for free motion. You might need to slightly back off the nut if you over-tightened it.
  3. Reuse the caster posts from the wheels you are replacing. They are generally held place in by a friction fit of matching grooves in the post and wheel. They can be REALLY difficult to remove. My solution was to put the entire caster in a vise, then grab the post with a pair of vise-grips, and finally use a hammer to smack the vise-grips.
  4. Clean the posts and re-grease both the side that inserts into the caster housing, and the other side that goes into the chair legs

NOTE1: I didn't design in the groove mentioned in step 3 above for two reasons. Any stresses like that applied to the 3D printed part is not a good idea. Second, it would have been sized for the oversized wheels I was replacing and not the more standard size length posts. This way, standard size posts or the longer length of the ones I used will both fit.

NOTE2: Because there is no friction fit of the wheel assembly into the chair legs, be careful when lifting the chair as they may fall out. As long as the chair is not lifted off the ground, it will function as normal.

TIP: I used a 7/16" reamer to clean out the post hole. All five of the 3D printed caster housings had burrs and minor stringing leftovers from the 3D printer. Nothing out of the normal, especially for such a large print, but cleaning the holes with a reamer improved the part by easing the post insertion and also not allowing any residual stresses in the part if you were to force the post in without reaming the holes.

Step 4: Finished

Above are a few more pictures of the Before & After.

Thanks for taking the time to read through my Instructable. Please send me any questions or comments you might have. I try to answer them all. Stay safe and healthy! Happy Printing & Telecommuting!

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    26 Comments

    0
    wirekat
    wirekat

    1 year ago

    I have the same chair and it falls short as well. I am totally doing this. Thanks!

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Reply 1 year ago

    Great. Post a "Make" when you're done, and let me know if I can help in any way.

    0
    wirekat
    wirekat

    Reply 1 year ago

    Sadly, Aeron chair has smaller posts. The swivel post is 7/16 (in the swivel) but the end that goes into the housing is only 10mm. Any chance you can modify the housing with a 10mm hole?

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Reply 1 year ago

    Sure, I'll message you with the file(s).

    0
    wirekat
    wirekat

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    0
    AngelaH140
    AngelaH140

    1 year ago

    Nice idea with the larger wheels umm now I will have to see if I can get them in purple 😹😹 like you I am tall not as tall as you but tall enough that my legs get tired due to the angle they are at when sat in my chair which is a bit like yours just a different brand, but I am lucky as I found some replacement shafts and wheel hubs from a larger chair (found the chair broken at the tip so swiped the wheels as I thought they would be useful one day 😹😹I have had them for 7 years tucked away in the workshop😹😹) as they will fit I can use them but I just don’t like their colour of basic black 😹😹 plus I don’t have a 3D printer yet only a 3D pen 😹😹😹 So a straight swap will do for now but I like the idea of the scooter wheels as the rubber on them will protect my wooden floors 😊
    thanks for a great idea 😹😹

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks. They come in purple too!!

    purple.jpg
    0
    AngelaH140
    AngelaH140

    Reply 1 year ago

    😹😹😹thank you for sharing that with me now that’s a yummy purple too😊😊

    0
    ainuke
    ainuke

    1 year ago

    Just a heads up on the Aeron chairs: If you're in an area with a big business sector, CraigsList has these at a super discount, especially if you're built for the "B" size. Companies return these in bulk from lease and there are warehouses full of used ones.

    As a massage therapist, I recognize many of the ergonomic features built into the chairs, particularly the ability to cant the seat base forward; I recommend them to all my clients, particularly here in the Boston area where used ones are easily come by.

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Reply 1 year ago

    Good tip. I was just about to do the same before I had mine delivered. There were a few in my area from second hand furniture stores listed on Craigslist for around $300.

    0
    Delfairen
    Delfairen

    1 year ago

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks for the link. I hadn't come across those in my search. They are bigger than the standard size, so they will lift the chair similarly, though not quite as high as mine do.

    0
    Delfairen
    Delfairen

    Reply 1 year ago

    I think that the inline share wheels are one of the best things to have on any office chair and they should come as standard.

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Reply 1 year ago

    Couldn't agree more. Why all chairs still come with hard plastic wheels is dumbfounding.

    0
    KirkR20
    KirkR20

    1 year ago

    This is a great solution. I'm 6'5" and finding ANY chair that's tall enough is a problem. I currently put two pillows on my chair to make it high enough. I fortunately I don't have 3-D printer. But this is genius. Additionally, with larger wheels, it should work better on carpeting. Thank you.

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks. Yeah, I tried the pillows thing too, but this is so much better. There are places on the internet where you can have them print the files for you. (www.protolabs.com is one and they are actually great, but pricey.) If you're really interested, I can work up a price to print and ship to you. let me know.

    0
    rebebec
    rebebec

    Question 1 year ago

    This looks great! How do these wheels perform on household carpet? I'm thinking about replacing the casters on the chairs to our card table, which we have on carpet.

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Answer 1 year ago

    All depends on the carpet and the pad underneath. (I don't have any carpeted areas to try it on.) The link posted by Delfairen below might be a good option.

    0
    Mgingas
    Mgingas

    1 year ago

    You made a perfect chair into a chair for those children with disabilities. Larger wheels helps the children get around the room easier! And I shared this on my facebook page hopefully people will see it and vote for you!

    0
    Icelandian
    Icelandian

    Reply 1 year ago

    Didn't make that connection, but you're right. Like the little Bumbo wheelchairs? Thanks for the vote. If you have a need to create something for child with disabilties I'd love to help, please let me know.