If you have even just a cursory knowledge of casters (you had ambitions for the four year degree, but instead opted for the community college summer course, for example), you know that some of them swivel, and some of them don’t.
If you’re replacing existing casters, the choice here is pretty simple – replace a swivel with a swivel, etc – but if you’re upgrading or building something new, here’s a few things to keep in mind.
Plate casters are the only ones that have options. If you’re wanting to use stem casters, swivel is typically your only option. Now, if stem casters are what you need and you absolutely must have rigids, are you out of luck? Let it never be said that the boys in the lab turn down a challenge. Give us a call at 1-888-535-4770 with crazy requests like that and we’ll see what we can do.
So, assuming plate casters will work for your needs, you need to decide how many swivel casters you want on your contraption. We’re going to skip past configurations like three-rigid-one-swivel, because that way lies madness.
Using all swivel casters results in a cart (or dolly or whatever) that is fantastically easy to spin, making it a perfect makeshift merry-go-round. Also makes it easier to maneuver around tight corners or in a crowded warehouse. It will be trickier to move it in a straight line for any length of time, however, particularly with a heavy load.
So if you’re going to be using your cart to move over open spaces, two-rigid-two-swivel is probably your best set up. You can decide between rear wheel or front wheel steering. I don’t recommend the opposite corners approach. Madness.
Another option to consider is whether you need the casters to lock or not. Only swivel casters have locking options – so keep that in mind when deciding how many swivels you want to use.
If you’re building a cart that will also serve as a workspace (or if you’re just going all out and building a mobile workbench), you’ll want to be able to lock it down when you’re done rolling it. If you don’t, chances are high that Jim from marketing will bump it as he walks past right as your about to activate the band saw and you’ll find yourself guest starring as a patient on the next episode of House.
If you just need to keep a cart from rolling, simple sidelock brakes are fine – they stop the wheels from rolling. But if you need that stable workspace, consider upgrading to a Total Lock brake. Total Lock brakes wheel stop both the wheel and the swivel action of the caster, rendering your mobile device completely immobile.
That’s about all the fun I can stand for today, folks. Check back next week for more hidden knowledge. Or you could just head over to Wheel and Caster 101 and read ahead. Your choice.
Wheel and Caster is a locally owned business located in Spokane, Washington. We ship all over the country and strive to provide quick, helpful service. Wheel and Caster is a division of Norlift, Inc, which is also a pretty cool place. You can read more about it at the Norlift blog.