on the move

MAKE A SET OF LOAD SKATES

The Shed - - Engineering - By Ge­off Mer­ry­weather Pho­to­graphs: Ge­off Mer­ry­weather

Mov­ing ma­chin­ery and heavy items around the work­shop is a com­mon job for most shed­dies, es­pe­cially those with an ad­dic­tion to Vic­to­rian-era cast iron.

While us­ing bars or pipes for rollers works, as shown by the builders of the Egyptian pyra­mids, they won’t work if you have feet or ob­struc­tions, and are dif­fi­cult if you are work­ing by your­self.

‘Load skates’ are small, heavy-duty roller skates that fit un­der the load, and you will gen­er­ally need a set of four. This load skate is made from 100x50mm steel chan­nel, with rollers made from 40mm pipe with ball bear­ings. The bear­ings are cheap 6004RS-model bear­ings, which are a snug fit into 40mm pipe, and cost $2–$3 each from on­line sup­pli­ers.

As this project was built out of ma­te­ri­als to hand, I only had ta­pered flange chan­nel, so I used my hor­i­zon­tal milling ma­chine with a side and face cut­ter to re­move the ta­per. If you use par­al­lel flange chan­nel (PFC) then you should not need to do this. An al­ter­na­tive is to make some spac­ers with one side cut to match the ta­per.

Mark up and drill 20mm holes for the axles. If you have enough travel in the drill-press quill, then drill the fi­nal-size hole all the way through from one side to make sure that the holes are in line.

The axle and wheel assem­bly is made from 20mm shaft­ing, 40mm pipe, 20mm wash­ers as spac­ers, and the 6004RS

bear­ings. Depend­ing on the wall thick­ness, the bear­ings will be a snug fit in the pipe if the weld seam is re­moved.

I bored the ends on the lathe to 12mm deep, but if you don’t have a lathe be­cause you need some load skates to move it, then use an air grinder or file to re­move the weld seam in­side. Press in the bear­ings and use some lock­ing com­pound to re­tain them.

Weld in a 40x40mm box sec­tion piece and 25x25mm an­gle on the ends as re­in­forc­ing. Drill a hole in the end an­gles to al­low for a rope or handle to be used to po­si­tion the skate un­der the load with­out putting your hands un­der­neath.

Stake the axle ends with a cen­tre punch or a tack of weld. If your chan­nel is wider than mine, you can drill and tap for a set screw.

Depend­ing on the wall thick­ness, the bear­ings will be a snug fit in the pipe

Left: Welded frame Be­low: 6004RS bear­ings Bot­tom: Axle assem­bly

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