Make a Ladder Easier to Move

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About: I miss the days when magazines like Popular Mechanics had all sorts of DIY projects for making and repairing just about everything. I am enjoying posting things I have learned and done since I got my first ...

Intro: Make a Ladder Easier to Move

I added a wheel truck to a 15 foot extension ladder so one person can move it easily with one hand to the place where it will be used.

Materials
  • Two 6 inch lawnmower wheels
  • 3/8 inch concrete reinforcement bar
  • 6 hex head bolts 1/2 inch x 2 1/2 inches with hex nuts
  • 2 cotter keys 1 1/2 inch long
  • 4 lockwashers 1/2 inch in diameter
  • 4 squares of steel 3/16 inch thick measuring 1 3/4 inch x 1 3/4 inch
Tools
  • Electric drill and bits
  • Hacksaw
  • Welder
  • Tape measure
  • Wrench
  • Grinder

Step 1: Dimensions

My wheel trucks form a triangle. The ladder rungs are 12 inches apart on center. That forms one leg of the triangle. The other legs are 11 inches and 11 3/4 inches center to center. It does not matter much which leg is 11 inches and which is 11 3/4 inches.

Step 2: The Beginning

Cut two pieces of 3/8 inch concrete reinforcement bar a little longer than their respective sides of the triangle mentioned in step 1. Weld them to the sides of one of the hex head bolts as shown. I welded on the wheel side of the bolt, too. Do this fitting and welding again for the other wheel truck. Remember that the wheel trucks will be mirror images of each other so the wheels are on the same axis when finished.

In the photo you see the wheel trucks assembled. When I did the welding, I simply set a hex bolt on a flat surface, head down. I laid the reinforcement bar next to the hex head and welded.

Step 3: Square Pieces

Make four squares of steel at least 3/16 inch thick and 1 3/4 inches x 1 3/4 inches. Drill a 1/2 inch hole in the center of each steel square.

Notice that I welded a short piece of reinforcement bar to one side of each square and welded the reinforcement bar pieces that form the legs of the triangle to the spacers. The spacers are to make a way over any lip on the ladder rails. 

Step 4: Attachment Rods

Redi-Bolt (continuously threaded rod) is expensive. I cut the heads from four 2 1/2 inch bolts and welded them to pieces of 3/8 inch concrete reinforcement bar. The total length of each of the two attachment rods is 20 1/2 inches. That means 15 inches of concrete reinforcement bar is needed for each attachment rod. 

Before welding I chamfered the ends of the reinforcement bars and the bolts. When finished welding I ground the area of the weld so the ends would fit through the 1/2 inch holes.

Slip the attachment rods through the two welded wheel truck assemblies. I used the third and fourth rungs from the bottom of the ladder. Add nuts and lockwashers. Tighten firmly. 

Step 5: Attach the Wheels

I slipped the wheels onto their axle bolts and gently snugged the hex nut up to the wheel bearings. Then I drilled a hole through the nut and the bolt axle for a cotter pin.

Step 6: Use

Just pick up the end of the ladder opposite the wheel trucks and walk while dragging the ladder behind you. Set it up against the building as you normally would.

Step 7: No Interference

The wheel trucks do not interfere with normal use of the ladder.

Step 8: Storage

To store hang the ladder on wall hooks as you normally would. The wheel trucks are really not in anyone's way. 

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    34 Discussions

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    wynelle

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Just this weekend I was dragging out my 10' fiberglass step ladder that I store under my deck because I cannot reasonably get it into the garage. Every time I pull it out I feel badly that the dragging it going to ruin it and that I ought to put it on rollers or something. This is exactly the "tip" I needed. I think I'll use some bicycle training wheels I just pulled off one of the kids' bikes since it still needs to fit under the deck. I'll post when I get it done.

    I'll sure feel better protecting those treaded feet from wearing down from the first 2-3 feet of dragging required to get it out of its storage space. Thanks Phil!

    1 reply
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    Phil Bwynelle

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you. I hope it worked out. I try to respond to comments in a timely way, but somehow miss notice on some of them.

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    godson1952

    2 years ago

    Very good idea,But I know it is harder to do thing we get older so it is nice to see something that give us a helping hand.thanks ;-)

    1 reply
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    Phil Bgodson1952

    Reply 2 years ago

    I think I mentioned that ladder belongs to a church. Often people not really strong or experienced enough had to move that ladder. The wheels made life easier for all.

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    Topcat2021

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Congratulations Phil;
    Your post got picked up on Lifehacker.com. I like the idea but for now I'm still able to carry the ladder top of shoulder style like the telephone workers do, so I'll keep this idea filed for later use if it should arise.
    Keep up the good work.
    Dan

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    Phil Biceng

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I am glad you got around to doing an Instructable on your version. If anything, you gave me too much credit. It is interesting to see how you did yours. Also, I tried to determine how you did the levitation, but am not quite sure. If your leg or your grandson's leg is hiding a post, it is not a big post and it is cleverly hidden. Maybe you should have worked in one of the Las Vegas shows in addition to or instead of working on the gaming electronics. ;-)

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    icengPhil B

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    LoL
    Only the pic of my levitation in not retouched using a magic means.

    Getting the 36 pounds dynamite to sit still was almost impossible.
    There I used a single inverted pin jack stand and edited the pic.

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    pfred2rimar2000

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Me either. I just find the balance and put it on my shoulder. Then I don't use any hands. One ladder I have is a 32 foot extension too!

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    Phil Bpfred2

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Perhaps I should mention this ladder actually belongs to our church and is often in use by a variety of people who may not use a ladder more than twice a year, and some of whom may be older.

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    pfred2Phil B

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Fact is I'm always going to be picking the whole ladder up at some point regardless. I don't ever have someone to foot the ladder for me, so I foot against whatever I'm climbing up, raise the ladder, then carry it back to where I'm going to use it. For me carrying the ladder is just a good warm up for the main event so to speak.

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    icengpfred2

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Super Man you :-)

    I had to use this ladder to clear branches for my giant box camera
    for last week's sun eclipse.
    Don't plan to move it until after Venus goes by June 5th but then those wheels sure look like the way to go for me.

    A

    ladder4.jpg
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    Phil Biceng

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    The wheels are nice. I am increasingly more clumsy as I try to avoid tripping myself while carrying a ladder with two hands about thigh high. Frequently one end or the other bangs into something I would rather not scratch or dent. The wheels take away all of those troubles. I hope the wheels works well for you. Thank you for looking and for commenting.

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    icengPhil B

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for posting, Here is mine over the week end, It really works !

    Iv never been in this position before.

    What are the rules on asking you permission to post my copy of your Ladder easier to move ible ?

    I would certainly give ample credit to your inventive skill
    This was a first project that I made without ever leaving my workshop,
    all the materials were at hand :)

    A really handy used it again tonight...

    Anyway, if you say NO then I will not post.  .   .   A

    Ladder1.jpgladder2.jpg
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    icengpfred2

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    LoL  I got this thing,
    you know how some people can't step on the crack in a side walk.

    Well I can't do clutches !   I'm a really sick EE welder...

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    Phil Biceng

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I am delighted you made this and it works for you. I have no idea what the etiquette is. I am sure you learned something I did not mention, or you found a shortcut that would be really helpful to someone. My advice: go ahead and post what you have done. You could simply say you saw something like this in another Instructable and wanted to show how you did or modified it. The motto of Instructables is: "Show what you make." You made it. Now you can show it.

    I once got upset with someone who took something I wrote that was several pages long, reprinted it word for word, and let everyone think it was all his. You are not doing that at all. Go for it with my blessing.

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    pfred2Phil B

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    See Phil that is where you got it wrong. You have to shoulder the ladder. Once you've shouldered it, then you're carrying a ladder! I never said it was going to be any fun.

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    pfred2iceng

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    My super days are behind me now. I can still move a ladder though. When I can't I think I'll retire from trying to use a ladder too. So sorry, I cannot move it into place. Really, carrying the ladder is nothing compared to carrying a 90# bundle of shingles up the ladder.

    Leave that ladder up and the neighbors are going to think that you eloped!

    All that Sun gazing you're doing explains a couple things.