There is a lot of buzz out there about the ways swivel casters can make things mobile, allowing you to easily move equipment around, build carts and trolleys, and provide other mobility-enhancing features to make it easier to work at home, in your workshop, or even at your place of business. Swivel casters get a lot of good press from DIY blogs and the like because they freely move in any direction, but not a lot of people appreciate the stability and speed enhancements you get from rigid casters.
Stay On Track With Rigid Wheels
It’s hard to steer something that only uses a rigid caster wheel, but that’s an advantage under the right circumstances:
- Wagon-style carts that will be pulled by other vehicles
- Use in combination with swivel casters to provide directional stability and locate steering on one end of the cart
- Make it easier to stop a cart against a wall and keep it there
- Reduce the number of locking casters needed for stability
All these advantages are only possible when you use rigid casters for at least part of the wheel base for your next project. In some cases, like the wagon-style carts you depend on another vehicle to pull, the success of the casters depends on a steering pivot point that isn’t on the device you’re building. Make sure you use the right caster and location plan to locate the pivot point for steering in the place that will be most comfortable to your end users.
Stock Up On Replacement Casters
The one disadvantage to caster wheels is that they can get damaged and stop rolling smoothly, and it gets more common with heavy use. There are two ways around this. Upgrading to better quality casters will extend their life, but ordering a back stock of replacements in the sizes you use most often will provide the best permanent solution, because it will set you up to make simple repairs whenever a caster starts giving you trouble. For the best results, combine high quality materials with on-hand replacements. That way, you’ll be set up to handle broken casters and they will be as rare as possible.
There are almost as many uses for caster wheels as there are people looking for these versatile resources. That’s because they are universal fabrication components for a lot of custom carts and machines. What many people don’t realize until they work with them is that there are standard sizes you can easily stock up on once you know the stem length and wheel diameter, so keeping your caster-driven equipment mobile can be easy.