Modifing Tool Box Casters
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  1. #1
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    My tool box weighs around 1500lbís + and getís around 100 yards of travel every day. Itís a Snap-On KR1003 w/an add on that Iíve had for nearly 15 years. In its early life it had the luxury of just sitting there like it was in an Auto Garage.

    Now that this thing moves all the time Iíve developed a problem with the casters Ėthe axles and needle bearings are wore out and itís getting harder to move around.

    These are 6Ē Faultless spring loaded casters that have needle bearing axles. About a year ago I replaced the wheels with a nice hard phenolic to reduce the rolling resistance and this helped.

    Iíd like to take the wheels and bore them out to retro-fit them with tapered roller bearings. A problem that I think I may run into is keeping the right amount of load Ėor setting the load on the assembly. Any thoughts? Or should I simply go with a pair of sealed roller bearings.

    Iíve been looking at the price of casters and looking at eBay, but I think the most inexpensive route will be modifying. The cushion of the spring is nice when moving this thing. Iíve worked with guys who had standard fixed casters and the frames on their boxes developed cracks.

    Luke

  2. #2
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    Luke - the easy way is to make a tubular spacer to go between the bearings and tighten the bearings down against the spacer. Don't preload the bearings, leave .005 or more endplay to give the grease room to get under the rollers. Measure the endplay with the bearings clean and dry. Ball bearings will work also, and have their own seals to keep the dirt out and the lube in. Make a spacer as with the tapered roller bearings, but let the ball bearings float in the wheels slightly.

    PS - I have one of those boxes with those spring loaded casters. Do you push that beast or tow it?

  3. #3
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    A six caster setup works well, one at each corner & two in the middle to pick up any sag. Clarke Caster has good prices, high quality, fast shipping & people who understand how to fit the caster to the application. Ask for Phil Sr. or Phil Jr.

    http://www.clarkecasters.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=21

    ------------------
    Barry Milton

  4. #4
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    Luke,
    Mud and PW, both have good suggestions.

    If it were mine I would probably bore out what I had and fit tapered bearings, or give your box some balls. The stiff tube in the center is the way to go to set the right load.

    Go one step further and drill the center bolt and mill a short channel along its length. Perforate the center tube. Put a zerk in the hole you drilled at the tnd of the bolt. Now you can grease it up every now and then and never have to replace bearings again.

  5. #5
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    In calling on industry for many years the best setup I seen was mounting your cabinet on one of the lower priced battery powered pallet jacks or a manual one, both do the job nicely.

  6. #6
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    You drag that much weight around all the time??
    try looking here....
    http://www.hamiltoncaster.com/

    Look at this....
    http://www.hamiltoncaster.com/Portal...r_Trailers.pdf

    or maybe you should mount it in a Ford F250

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the responses, guys. Yes I drag this thing around all day -I work in a factory doing maintenance. I developed a habit of buying tools years ago and found that it's nice to have the right one there with me when needed. The battery powered unit would be nice but not allowed.

    The reason for modifying is it would be cheaper than springing for new ones. When this thing was new or even before moving it all the time it roll nice. It took a bit of a shove with the shoulder but once rolling all I had to do was steer and hope nothing got in the way. Now I have to push Ėnot because of the extra weight, but because the bearings that are in it now. I jacked it up last week and the wheels donít have a nice tight spin. I think with the modification of balls or tapers it they should spin quite nicely.

    Iím heading up north to visit my folk next week and if I can get all my ducks in a row I would be able to get this done. Dad has a beautiful Pacemaker and I donít. I think the tapered rollers would be the ticket, but the sealed balls would be the easiest and the route I will take.

    Any more tips, tricks and ideas are welcomed.


    Luke

  8. #8
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    You drag that much weight around all the time??
    I also work in a factory. My box moves a lot less than Luke's -- the farthest distance, from the drill (at the South end of the machine shop) to the Koping lathe on the North end is no more than 75'.

    Boxes get heavy. Empty, my top chest weighs 135, the bottom is 285, and that's probably half the weight of a Snap-On or Mac. It's easy to store hundreds of pounds of machinist's tools when the upper & lower chests are 42" wide.

    Big chests are the nature of the business. As Luke said, ...it's nice to have the right one there with me when needed...

    ----------------------
    Barry Milton

  9. #9
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    luke, do you still have the old original snap on casters? the reason i ask is that snap on tool boxes have a lifetime warranty and they can be warrantied. i have had to warranty some misc things on my snap on tool box from time to time.the replacements may not be the ones you want but free X free= free

  10. #10
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    "luke, do you still have the old original snap on casters?"

    No, unfurtunatly I dumbed out on this one. I have had a LOT of troubles with the slides failing on this box over the years (at least 10 sets) and have had a difficult time w/ my rep being "Johnny on the Spot" (his name is John) helping me get them warrented. Casters would have been a pain as well.

  11. #11
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    Tapered rollers will handle far more weight than balls, but balls roll easier.
    Don't worry about preload on the bearings. att the speed you travel, almost any thing will work.
    treat it just like a car axle, or snug it up and back off one flat.
    Rich

  12. #12
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    They have a lifetime warranty from Snap On.

    877-762-7661

    If your local rep doesn't want to fix them, smack him upside his head and call corperate. You paid for the warranty, you deserve the parts, period.

  13. #13
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    LUKE, have you thought about building a frame to set your box on? The mechanics at our plant build a drop center type frame with outbored casters. That way you can upgrade to a larger heavier load bearing caster. Also it can be built strong enough to be rigid and support your box while rolling around the plant.
    I'm the machinist at our plant and I just hve to move my box from my locker to the machine shop which is only about 100' but I did build a dropcenter frame right away. I've got it about an inch and a half off the floor so I can get good access to the top but I've got four inch casters on it some of the guys have six inch casters
    Gary

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    What brand/load capacity of casters would you use and where would you buy them for this application?

    Thanks

    TMT

  15. #15
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    I agree that a frame of some kind would be good, this will also help the bottom of the box support all that weight without concentrating it all where the original casters bolted on.

    Bill

  16. #16
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    I spoke about a frame I have seen on other tool boxes, but I don't feel necessary since I'm using cusioned casters.

    I started looking @ the price for bearings and then comparing that to what it would cost to replace the wheels with new ones and it's almost a wash.

    I called a local distributor thought these from Colson would be a good fit. $35 bucks each. Not bad.

    http://www.colsoncaster.com/endura-wheels.html

    Anyone out there running these?

    Luke


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