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What material for this application?

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  • What material for this application?

    I have some left over casters and want to make some simple drum dollies. The
    caster plate measures 3 5/8 x 2 3/8 in size.
    I will be making one for a 55 gallon drum, two for 30 gallon drums, and one
    for an oddball sized mini garbage can. I'm thinking just a real simple
    rolled/ringed flatbar for the lip and then two pieces of flatbar in a cross
    pattern for the bottom/caster mounts.

    I don't have much steel left after my latest project so the steel for this
    project will be purchased new, either from the shorts section of the steel
    shop or in 20' lengths and just put the left over on the shelf. What size
    flat bar would you think good for this type of project? What thickness
    flatbar can be reasonably bent around the bottom of the drum without heat,
    by hand? What size and thickness for the caster cross pieces?

    Weight shouldn't be too much of an issue as the 55gal has shovels, picks, etc. the small trashcan has floor dry, the 30 gallon has pieces of steel.

    I'm thinking something like this.


  • #2
    If it holds that much weight it will be better to buy one. I just don't like the looks of the casters for "mileage"

    Dave da Slave


    • #3
      <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Millman:
      If it holds that much weight it will be better to buy one. I just don't like the looks of the casters for "mileage"
      Buy what? I have some heavy duty casters to use on a homemade version. I just posted the link as an example of the design of the dolly.


      • #4
        Put a piece of steel in a vise smack it with a ball peen hammer till it bends, if it bends the way you want measure it and buy some!

        Dave da Slave


        • #5
          I don't like the looks of that dolly in the link. I would want the casters outside the edge of the drum. It would be too easy to dump the drum if it stubbed its toe on a piece of scrap. If the casters are on the outside of the drum bottom it has to lift to fall over.
          Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


          • #6
            I'd use at least 1/4" X 1.5-2" for the bottom cross. Heat and bend a 90 up or cut and weld tabs on the ends then make a ring from 1/2 round bar and weld on to the top of the tabs. The 1/2" bar can be bump formed into a ring easy enough. Hour project at the most.

            Oh also you could drill and tap a 5/16 hole on each 1/4" bottom piece so you can place a toe cleat that would wedge against the rim of the drum to keep it locked down while being pushed about.

            [This message has been edited by Tinkerer (edited 01-13-2006).]
            Wow... where did the time go. I could of swore I was only out there for an hour.


            • #7
              But he said without heat.


              • #8
                For comparison, look at McMaster-Carr, Stock #28005T6.
                The cheapest 55 gal. drum dolly uses 1/8" by 3-1/2" steel. Just an X with casters bolted on.

                Better is Stock #2713T17. Uses 1/4" by 4" steel.

                Stock #2412T26 is more like the Grizzly, made from 10 ga. steel with a circular ring and no other dimensions given.

                All these dollies are rated at 1000 lbs. capacity.

                Check the capacity of your casters. A barrel full of water weighs 440 lbs. Petroleums somewhat less. A lot of steel tools or scraps could add up fast.

                Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~


                • #9
                  Thanks guys.
                  Casters have 330lbs. each capacity.

                  Evan is probably correct in that mounting casters external of drum bottom is a better practice. However, I'm trying to minimize foot print on this stuff as I don't have much room.

                  I kind of like the style in the Mcmaster-carr link posted. Flatbar bent up 90 degrees on each end, casters welded to flatbar. I think for my purposes having four tabs to capture the drum would be fine.

                  Maybe 3/16 or 1/4 flatbar x 3" in a cross pattern, welded together at the center of the cross, and bent up on each end. With a caster plate width of 2 3/8" that gives me some room to skip weld down the side of the caster plate... or drill the flatbar and bolt the casters on.

                  I've been bolting all my casters on this project so far, assuming the heat might ruin the caster. But with careful welding that might not be the case?... of course it would be nice to be able to save the caster should the frame become of no use one day...

                  I can't bend 3/16 or 1/4 on my little brake, but bet I could do it on my brake adapter used in the 20 ton H press, without having to use heat.

                  One other thing as I'm outfitting almost everything in my shop with angle-iron caster frames. I'm including a ring on the frame for towing at a later date. If/when I move I'll likely use my enclosed car trailer and winch the cabinets etc into the trailer using the car trailer winch.

                  Wonder how I could include a ring or something on this flatbar design drum dolly? Would like something that did not stick out too far. Maybe like a mini D ring that folded back against the outside of the upturned toe of the flatbar?