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Casters on demand?

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by BadDog, Jun 23, 2006.

  1. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    I'm still whittling away at my shop organization problems due to over crowding. Today I finished up changes to my “pup tent” steel storage rack that was badly overloaded and crushed the original casters. The old casters were 5” iron/rubber and rated for only 350lbs working load, the new ones are 8” iron/poly with grease fittings and rated for 750lbs working load each. Inertia is still a major PIA and getting the casters turned the direction needed is still not exactly “easy”, but at least it can be moved again.

    Anyway, one persistent problem has always been dealing with stuff like my 20 ton press. There is no good place to leave it permanently, so it gets put in front of less used/moved stuff, like the steel rack. But at some 300 lbs, it’s not exactly easy to move when I have no choice. I’ve also got some lesser weight items like belt sanders and such with similar movement issues.

    What I would like is some way to easily/quickly add casters for movement as needed. And with the sander/grinders, that’s pretty frequent since I prefer to do that kind of work outside to avoid the cleanup mess in my shop. BUT, when it’s in use, I would rather have a solid and relatively immobile stand with NO casters.

    So, what are my options? This is what I’ve come up with...

    1) Removable casters: I’ve seen easy mount casters on some things that rarely need to move. This might be ok for my press, but not ideal since you have to lift the item to insert the casters. Basically you put a vertical tab on one side of the caster mount plate (bolt it to one side of a piece of 4” angle iron). Then you put a sort of receiver on the item that the vertical tab slides up into. Think stake pocket on a truck bed, but upside down.

    2) Permanent casters and adjustable feet: Straight forward really. Casters mounted on the item, but feet can be screwed to support weight off the casters and with less chance of the item moving while working. Down side is all the time and fiddling to switch from mobile to stationary.

    3) Hybrid system: Fixed wheels on one side, usually the back. Then the front has part time casters. These might be on screws, or foot pedal over-center brackets. I’ve also seen a wheel on a handle so you put it under a receiver tube on the item to be moved, pull down on the handle to lever across the wheel as a fulcrum to get the front legs off the ground, and then lead it around with the handle like a truck towing a fifth wheel or something.


    What else have you guys come up with? Are there commercial solutions that don’t cost too much? Particularly with the foot-pedal over-center caster brackets (where you just step on the pedal, which pushes the caster down, lifting the item).

    My current thoughts are a hybrid system with fixed wheels on the rear of most all of it. Grinders and press included. Then maybe a step-pedal on the front of the grinders, and maybe the press too. Or the lever-handle fifth wheel rig for the press? But I don’t want to have to fool with that every time I move my grinders out.

    Hmmm....
     
  2. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Quote[Are there commercial solutions that don’t cost too much? Particularly with the foot-pedal over-center caster brackets (where you just step on the pedal, which pushes the caster down, lifting the item.]QUOTE


    Hay Russ, there are casters just like what you have decribed, but unfortunatly they ARE pricy. I prefer the heavy duty casters that lock the swivel too when you lock them from turning. that helps minimize movement, my axle stand has all four wheels that lock but without the swivel lock. it is very hard to move even without that feature on them with all four wheels locked.
     
  3. DieselDan

    DieselDan 1/2 ton status

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  4. ntsqd

    ntsqd 1/2 ton status

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    I was going to comment that I have seen casters (fixed & swiveling) set on linkage such that pull the lever one way and the wheels lift it up and allow it to be moved. Move the lever the other way and it sits flat as intended.

    I like DD's idea better, but where to store the pallet jack becomes an issue.

    My 6x48/12" combo sander & the 1" belt sander are on a castered stand. Once you get enough sanding dust on the ground under it, it doesn't move too easily. :rolleyes: To use the surface grinder I do have to move it about a foot.
     
  5. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Thanks guys.

    Locking casters may be in my future, but I have some cheap-o 5" ball bearing rubber-on-iron hub castors on hand to start with if I can't come up with a up/down solution.

    Pallet jack would be fine except that one of my primary goals is to get everything mobile so I can liberate shop space with everything shoved up against the wall, pieced in like a puzzle. Then it can be easily moved if I need the less used stuff behind it. Also to take my sander/grinders outside to use without giving myself a hernia or blown out back. In any case, I don't have the room to dedicate to pallets OR storing the jack...

    I can see how a lever system would work, but it’s too time consuming for the 6 or so items that need such a device to be mobile or not as needed.

    If nothing else comes up, I’ll probably just continue mocking up with my cheap-os and see what really causes trouble, then make a bulk order of locking castors from surplus or something...

    FWIW, the 20 ton press is now on castors but a small miss-calc causes the swivel castors to hang on the channel iron lip that the base is now formed from. So, after I catch a short break, it’s back to the shop to remove the base, plasma off the offending lip to get clearance, and (hopefully) final assembly of that beast... The base is also going to form a storage rack for, among other things, my spare 350 short block. That should provide more mass and stability as well as getting some difficult to move junk out of the floor and mobile.
     

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