How to Make Retractable Casters!

69,385

453

37

Introduction: How to Make Retractable Casters!

About: I'm an environmentally conscious experimenter who loves to bring people together, build things, and when possible...blow things up! See us on YouTube too! https://youtube.com/WildmanTech

Like many makers, I have a lot of everything except space. To make things more accessible, I put everything on wheels. My tablesaw was a real problem until I saw retractable casters on a work bench. Once I saw how easy they were to make, my mission was clear.

Step 1: Tool and Materials

Tools

  • Hacksaw (I used a metal cutting bandsaw)
  • Drill and bits
  • Welder

Materials

  • Casters
  • 1/4" allthread coupler nuts
  • 1.25" square tubing
  • 1 x 2" rectangle tubing
  • 1/4 x 2" bolt or cap screw

Step 2: Make Carrier Bodies

Cut square tubing to make carrier bodies to hold the casters and the locking levers. Whereas most casters are top-mount, these will be side-mount. There will be four mounting holes in the side to bolt this carrier to the equipment. There will also be two pivot holes. One for the caster and one for the locking lever. The critical element is that the caster pivot be close to the equipment, and the lever pivot be farther away.

Step 3: Add a Pivot Point to the Casters

Drill out the allthread coupler nuts to 1/4" so a 1/4" bolt will pass through them and they will spin freely. Install them in the carrier body and make sure they don't bind against anything. Once that is done, see if your caster mount plates can reach the coupler nuts. Mine were too wide and had to be cut to make clearance.

Once you have the fit right, weld the coupler nuts to the caster mount plates and install them in the carrier body. Hold the carrier body against a mock-up equipment leg and see if you have enough play. I was shooting for 1/2" and I got it.

Step 4: Add the Locking Lever

Cut the 1 x 2" rectangle tubing into a shape that you're happy with and test fit it to your carrier body. The key to making this work is that there be a heel on the locking lever that extends past the lever pivot point toward the caster pivot point. If you get it right, the weight of the equipment will keep the locking lever held firmly in place.

Step 5: Watch the Video

This video explains the process better.

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • Recycled Speed Challenge

      Recycled Speed Challenge
    • Make it Move Contest 2020

      Make it Move Contest 2020
    • Stone, Concrete, Cement Challenge

      Stone, Concrete, Cement Challenge

    37 Discussions

    0
    Fruit Grower
    Fruit Grower

    3 years ago

    You could make that hinged body with a piece of 14 gauge by 1" wide strap folded over a 1/4'' bolt and formed. Be sure to allow sufficient length after folding it to cover the whole caster plate. A hammer, vise, vise-grip pliers and a blunt cold chisel are all the tools you would need to make those straps.

    0
    Reidar_Vik
    Reidar_Vik

    Reply 5 months ago

    Do you have a drawing or picture of this?

    0
    Marsh
    Marsh

    Reply 5 months ago

    Did you not read the instructable? There are several photos, a thorough description and a video of the project from start to finish. I really don't understand how you could have possibly missed all that.

    0
    bdd2003
    bdd2003

    Question 7 months ago on Introduction

    Dear Friend Is it possible to make a plan with dimensions to create the wheel lifting mechanism

    0
    Marsh
    Marsh

    Answer 7 months ago

    It is possible, but that would severely limit you to exact sizes. The approach I used allows you to use whatever materials you have available. The video is quite clear about the approach to take to use whatever casters you may have.

    0
    woodie1949
    woodie1949

    Question 8 months ago on Step 4

    Do you have the Pattens for the Tubing parts also what size casters did you use?

    0
    Marsh
    Marsh

    Answer 8 months ago

    I used the size I had on hand at the time. Similarly, I recommend you use the size you have on hand. There is no pattern but I explain how to create the appropriate shape for the casters you choose in the video.

    0
    Peter MC1
    Peter MC1

    3 years ago

    Looks like a great idea. Can you tell me what make the power hacksaw is?

    0
    Marsh
    Marsh

    Reply 3 years ago

    No power hacksaw was used.

    0
    Peter MC1
    Peter MC1

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks Marsh, I should have called it a metal cutting bandsaw I think. Anyway whatever the machine is that you are using in your video.

    0
    Marsh
    Marsh

    Reply 8 months ago

    I've since upgraded to a Porter Cable

    0
    Marsh
    Marsh

    Reply 3 years ago

    It's knock-off of the Milwaukee Portaband. Got it on craigslist for $30.

    0
    Peter MC1
    Peter MC1

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks Marsh

    0
    Marsh
    Marsh

    Reply 3 years ago

    That depends on how resourceful you are. I paid retail for the casters and only spent $15 on everything. If you scavenge the casters off something being thrown away, you could make it for free.

    0
    bgunville
    bgunville

    3 years ago

    Nicely done I really like these. going to keep this in mind for the next shop.

    0
    bibbster
    bibbster

    3 years ago

    Nice work, sir! I need six of these for our model railroad layout. Sadly, I dont have the toils to do it. Those Rockler casters are pricey.

    0
    Marsh
    Marsh

    Reply 3 years ago

    A hacksaw, a file and a drill can do most of the work involved here. I suspect you could figure out a way to do it without welding. This is an opportunity for a personal challenge.

    1
    skrubol
    skrubol

    Reply 3 years ago

    Should be fairly easy to do without a welder. Just need a bit of imagination (use a door hinge instead of the pivot he welded? Of another piece of square tube slightly larger or smaller that could be cut and drilled.)

    0
    MallyC
    MallyC

    3 years ago

    Liked your instructable. Also wished my brain worked as well as yours

    Regards Mally