Rolamite: Inexpensive, Nearly Frictionless Bearings




About: I want to build my moon base with remote controlled robots and solar sintering.
This project is so easy it only takes one step to explain.  Hooray!

A sample 5 minute construction using duct tape, a rubber band, clamps, wood, and some hex-shaped spacers is in the pictures.

Here's a video (not my own):

Read about Rolamite history

Read about some of Rolamite's uses

Still not inspired?

- You could switch the rubber band for a bike chain and use gears to drive your CNC/Makerbot/etc.
- You can put a groove in the band to make it "snap" to a particular spot.
- You can change the tension on each end to create different effects.
- You can put more than two wheels - you can even put small wheels inside a big wheel separated by a band!
- You can force the two wheels further apart in case they are not "playing nice" with each other.

There are a ton of interesting ways to use this simple mechanism.  Post your ideas in the comments!
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    7 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    The video you embedded shows a rolamite that was made with a spring steel belt. The author of the video specified in his notes that the belt material "needs to be very thin, flexible, but with no stretching."

    There's a really good site about rotary rolamite:  On that site, it says "Belts can be any kind of flexible, low / no elastic material: cable, hose, tubing, wire, etc"

        The Rex Research page does mention the possibility of an elastic belt for shock absorption, but all the examples refer to non-elastic belts, usually springy metal.

    Your instructable uses a rubber band, which is very elastic and stretchy.

    It might be good to try your instructable with something non-stretchy. This is key to getting the rolamite to function as it should. As it is now, your instructable could lead people to build non-working rolamites, and give up on the concept.

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That is the most lucid, well researched, and informative comment I've ever received. Thank you!

    I will unpublish this instructable until I have had a chance to test what you say and confirm the results.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    An interesting mechanism. I used to have a great book that was nothing but a collection of hundreds, if not thousands of mechanical devices like the Rolomite. It is amazing what clever people have come up with over the years.

    I think I might try out a Rolomite bearing as a slide for some drawers in my garage workshop. The sawdust, dirt dabber nest and other detritus often foul up the smoothly operating drawer slides. I think a Rolomite slide might prove more resistant to such jamming.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction


    I wasn't aware I wasn't allowed

    I might not have given full attribution, I didn't steal it either. Embedding is allowed.

    I'm waiting for the owner to confirm permission as per your request.

    When I have a nice video of my own, I'll swap it.

    Good enough?