Add Wheels to Your Luggage!




Do you not have wheels on your luggage? Do you wish you did? Well, maybe this can help!

The basic idea behind this project is that you want to put a metal plate with some casters on it onto your bag. You'll want the plate to make sure the casters are properly aligned and to provide stability. Otherwise, the casters might just push into the luggage, and then you'd just be dragging your bag across the floor. Not cool.

For this project, you'll need the following things -

Wheels - I'm using some hardwares store casters. You may want to pick the rubber ones, since
they're probably quieter, but I really dug the look of the solid iron ones.

Metal Plate - Or really any flat, solid, hard material. You could use wood, or plexiglass. I'm using aluminum, since it won't rust, is nice and shiny, and I got this piece for free.

Marker - For Marking!

Nuts and Bolts - Otherwise, the plate and wheels will fall off.

Grommeting kit - This will help you reinforce the holes you put in your bag, so the plate won't fall off either.

Luggage - This project is really hard to do without this.

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Step 1: Drill!

The first step in the project, once you've assembled all your materials, is to drill out holes in the plate of metal you are using.

Place the casters on the metal, then use a pen to mark the holes on the metal. Then mark a couple other places on the metal you'd like holes to be. Ideally, you want these holes to be on the edges of the plate, so the plate is best secured to the bag and won't be sticking out everywhere when the bag flexes.

Then take your plate over to the drill press, or if you have to, take the drill over to the plate, and drill out your holes! For those of you who have never drilled into metal before, it's best to start with a small bit, like 1/8" or so, to make a 'pilot hole', and then re-drill into that hole with a bit that is the size of hole you want. In this case, I'm using 1/4" bolts, so I need 1/4" holes.

Step 2: Mark!

Now take your drilled-out metal plate and position it where you want it to be on the bag. In my case, it's on the bottom, which is probably where you also want your luggage wheels.

All we do here is take our pen and put it in the holes we just drilled to mark the bag underneath. This way, we'll know where to put the grommets so they'll line up right.

Step 3: Grommet!

Now that we have the holes marked, we'll want to put in some grommets. This way, when we put some bolts into the bag, the holes won't eventually tear and fall apart, so our wheels will stay with our bag.

The grommet kit I'm using I just picked up from the hardware store for like 8 bucks.

To use it, we take the hole punching part and use that to make nice holes where we just marked. Mine involved placing a wood block in the bag, then hammering a hole punch into it. Unfortunately, it wasn't very sharp, so it took a while, especially since luggage fabric is kinda geared to be hard to cut and tear. Yours may be different, so read those instructions, too.

Next, place the two grommet pieces on either side of the holes you just cut, and using the special grommet block and punch, hammer the pieces together.

Now your bag should be full of holes! In this case, this is actually a good thing.

Step 4: Bolt!

Now we just have to line up the plate and casters over the holes we made, then bolt them in. If you want to make it really weather-tight, you may want to add some rubber washers on the inside of the bolts.

There you go! You now have a metal plate with wheels on it attached to your bag. No more lifting for you!

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    9 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I am thinking of using this on a backpack, as I don't want to schlep things on a trip, but would like it handy. Thank you!


    3 years ago

    I will be travelling with Ryanair in a few weeks if i need add wheels to my luggage thanks for this information how to add wheels in luggage online tips Thanks


    8 years ago on Introduction

    does it leak? or do you have rubber washers too. I often thought of adding wheels ... the aluminum plate is a great idea.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    If you put the plate on the inside of the bag, you wouldn't get any strange looks by airport security either.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    If you want your instructable noticed, you should include a picture of the finished product and use it for the Intro page. Step 1 should be the acquiring of tools and supplies.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Looks very solid, much better than the plastic things you often find on luggage. How much weight does this add? L

    2 replies

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    All in all, I probably added about 4 pounds to my bag, the bulk of that coming from the solid iron wheels. The aluminum plate is quite light itself, so if you used that and maybe just rubber wheels, you could probably keep this down to 2 pounds or so extra weight.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the reply. Wheels are great until they break. Here you can be sure of carrying the extra 4 pounds without failiure, at the expense of a small disadvantage in lifting. L