Heated Muscle Roller

In the running community, sore muscles happen. You reach for your tiger tail or your muscle roller to stretch and roll out those muscles. But its a somewhat cold day out. So, the roller is cold. If only this roller could be heated so that your muscles could be rolled and be warm. Here is the solution. I have used several muscle rollers, and I love what I have built here today. I have done surveys within my school to see which muscle roller they liked better. I got an overwhelming liking for this roller. The firmness and size of the roller allows pressure to be sufficient, and the comfortable bike grips allows a comfortable rolling experience. If you are reading this, you know what I am talking about. Here is a solution that you will be happy with.

Step 1: Getting Materials Together

To start this project, you are going to need several materials. These materials include 2 o-rings (inside diameter:7/8"), two bike grips (Inside diameter:7/8"), A 30 inch long pvc pipe with inside diameter 1/2", and a 3D ABS printer (I used a Makerbot Replicator 2x). Throughout the project, you are also going to need a hacksaw to cut the pvc pipe to size.

PVC Pipe: 1/2" Inside Diameter-You can find this at Lowe's, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, or any local hardware store.

2 Bike Grips: 1/2" Inside Diameter-You can find these off of an old bicycle or at any bike shop.

2 O-rings: 7/8" Inside Diameter-You can find this at Lowe's, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, or any local hardware store.

Makerbot ABS filament: 3mm-You can order a large roll online for $29.95. This roll will last you far past seven rollers.

Makerbot Replicator 2x: You can buy one through Amazon, Make, or any other 3D printing supplier.

Hacksaw: You can find this at Lowe's, Home Depot, Tractor Supply, or any local hardware store.

Step 2: Print Rollers

In order to print these rollers, you need to build the roller on a 3D modeling program. I used Autodesk Inventor Professional. The roller that I designed is tall, wide, and has a slight curve in the outside of it. Please look at my drawing of the roller to get technical look at the roller. Then, export the model as a .stl file onto a SD card. This file is compatible with the Makerbot Replicator 2x program. Once you export your file, import it into the Makerware. Once open in the Makerware, make sure everything is correct. Make sure that the roller is standing straight up so that the open holes are facing up and down (This can be done by using the rotation tool after selecting the model). Then, scale the model to the proper size before exporting. Last but not least, make sure the model is laying flat on the table. After all of these steps are done, you are ready to export the printer file onto the SD card. Click the Maker button. After this loads, change the following values. Change the heating plate temperature to 130 degrees Celsius, change both extruders' temperatures to 230 degrees Celsius, and change the extruder to the desired extruder (left, right, or both). After this is done, select rafts. You can make these a different color or color-match the raft with the roller itself. No supports are needed. Change infill percentage to 100% and print at standard quality. Export your file. Preheat your printer. Once the printer is done preheating, insert your SD card into the Makerbot Replicator 2x, select your file, and print. I used 7 rollers on my muscle roller. It takes about 1 hour and 8 minutes to print. See the 33 second video below to see a time-lapse of one roller printing. Hope you enjoy.

Step 3: Cut the PVC to Size

During this step, you are cutting your PVC piping to size. I cut the PVC pipe to 20 inches. The size of PVC pipe depends on the size of the grips. Measure your grip sizes, the size of each roller, and then come up with a calculation on how long the PVC pipe should be. Cut the PVC pipe using a hacksaw.

Step 4: Attach One Bike Grip

Attach one grip to the PVC pipe by sliding it onto the PVC pipe.

Step 5: Put One O-ring on the Bike Grip Size

In this step, you are using one of the two o-rings. Slide this o-ring onto the same side as the gripper.

Step 6: Slide Rollers Onto Partially Assembled Muscle Roller

Slide all 7 rollers onto the partially assembled muscle roller. After this, use the second o-ring and slide it onto the muscle roller, next to the last roller.

Step 7: Attach Second Bike Grip

Attach your second bike grip. At this point, you are done with your muscle roller. The one thing is, it's just like every other muscle roller. Cool to the touch. Which is nice at times, like on a hot summer day. Having run 2 Half Marathons, many 5k's (I run XC), and knowing people interested in running, there are very few muscle rollers that can be heated. But this roller, is one of a kind. The ABS material is able to be heated up till about 160-180 degrees Fahrenheit, where the ABS starts to distort. In the next step, the heated roller will be put to the test.

Step 8: Heating the Roller

Heating the roller is very easy. When you want to heat the roller, you remove one of the bike grips, remove the oring, and dump all seven rollers into the microwave (you can put a plate underneath the rollers for easy removal out of the microwave). Place the rollers in the microwave and microwave them for 1 minute and 30 seconds. The rollers will heat up, but not distort or melt. After the timer goes off, remove the rollers. Then, put the rollers back the pvc pipe, put the oring back on, and slide the grip back on. Now, enjoy rolling out your muscles with a warm/hot roller. I hope you enjoy. Look at my pictures and videos for proof.

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    5 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Oh, very nice! I've used this style of roller, and they are excellent. I can only imagine how much better they are heated.

    Do you think microwaving the rollers repeatedly will affect the ABS material over time?

    3 replies

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    I have microwaved these rollers several times in the past. ABS material is known to distort at around 160-180 degrees F. So if the temperature is kept below that, they should not affect the ABS. I would imagine, like everything, they will be affected over time. These rollers should maintain their shape and not distort. Thank you for the complement and feedback seamster


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Feel free to comment, criticize, or ask anything involving my project. Hope you enjoy.