on the move
MAKE A SET OF LOAD SKATES
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