October 21, 2021
The introduction of heavy-duty casters with specialized features like brakes has significantly improved the movement of heavy objects. Imagine, for example, that you need to move your heavily set workbench, but you’re all alone. Without enough helping hands, you will find it hard to budge your heavy workbench, even for an inch. But if you have installed onto its legs heavy-duty casters, moving it becomes a breeze.
However, if your workbench has no casters, you can purchase a caster kit that you can install onto your workbench. But choosing casters can be a bit confusing, given the myriads of options at hand. So, it will help if you know the essential factors to consider and the most recommended casters kit in the market today.
4 Best Locking Caster Placement Patterns
If it is your first time installing casters, you may find it hard to install and figure out the proper placements of casters. Yet, if you are familiar with the following caster placement patterns, you can confidently go through the installation process without a hitch:
1) Cover Mount (Four Swivel)
This configuration is the standard caster configuration. It is the perfect configuration if you want mobility within cramped and cluttered work areas. This placement pattern allows the casters to turn anywhere you want to turn them. Likewise, this configuration is the best mounting option when engaged in loading operation, staging cart, work vans, and many other operations. This mounting configuration is also perfect for most applications when moving lighter loads using smaller carts.
This four-swivel configuration comes with four swivel casters mounted on each end of the cart. Such a configuration leads to a more movable cart. You can push this cart anywhere you would like to move it. Nevertheless, such a configuration is best for small carts and items. Moreover, you will find this configuration difficult to push continuously through a straight line.
2) Two Rigid Casters and Two Swivel Casters
This configuration entails two rigid casters and two swivel casters on the opposite end. This configuration allows you to push the cart straight. Moreover, it lets you maintain the cart in a straight path. However, you will find it impossible to move the cart sideways.
This configuration is perfect if you will move the cart more often in a straight line. Besides, you steer this cart from the swivel end. Moreover, you will find the brakes on its swivel casters. Such a setup, of course, is perfect when you transport the cart by truck.
3) Six Caster Configuration
This configuration comes with two rigid casters and four swivel casters. Such a configuration is perfect for heavier loads. Besides, this arrangement entails four swivel casters on the cart’s outside corners and two rigid casters located in the middle.
The two middle casters feature larger diameters than the swivel casters. This setup allows you to turn around the cart without any problem. The two larger casters provide a tipping action for the cart, allowing you to easily go through any obstruction like cracks, cables, and thresholds.
4) Diamond Configuration
You might be pretty familiar with the shape of a diamond, and you can use such a pattern in configuring your casters. Using the diamond configuration, you can use two rigid casters and two swivel casters. Mount them in a diamond formation with the rigid casters mounted at the midpoint.
These rigid casters should have a slightly higher midpoint to serve as the tipping action for your cart. You should mount the swivel casters at the rear and front of the cart.
This configuration of casters allows for excellent maneuverability. Moreover, this configuration works better with less stable heavy loads and lighter loads.
Important Things to Consider
After knowing the different possible caster patterns or configurations you can use when mounting casters, you can quickly decide which setup fits your project best. Yet, it will also help if you know the following essential factors to consider when mounting casters:
Everything is created twice, first in mind, then in reality. Similarly, if you’re planning to mount casters on your workbench, for example, you need to know the load capacity of your workbench. You can accurately get the exact amount or approximate the precise load capacity. This realistic estimate will allow you to figure out the correct placement you would need when mounting casters.
It will also help to consider your workshop practices. For example, if you frequently haul sheets of fiberboard onto your workbench, you can include the total weight of these fiberboards in your calculation, including the tools and equipment you will haul onto your workbench top when working on these fiberboards.
Once you’ve figured out the total weight, you can then divide this total weight by the number of casters you will mount. If you install four, then divide it by four. As long as you know how to add and divide, you will know whether the load capacity of the casters and the configuration you will employ can handle the approximate load you would like to support.
You can play it safe and not load your cart or workbench more than the amount you expect your casters to carry. Moreover, you should go for heavy-duty casters that you can use for various applications.
When Should You Use Six Casters?
Experts would readily recommend the use of four casters instead of six casters for carts. Their reason is better and intuitive maneuverability as well as consistent loading of wheels. They would not recommend the use of six casters with elevated and fixed middle casters.
This configuration, of course, will cause a see-saw effect that would be challenging to handle. Moreover, in this configuration, only a set of swivel casters gets in contact with the ground, which doesn’t work well for even distribution of weight across the casters.
This uneven distribution of weight engenders many other issues. With uneven weight distribution, you may find one end of the cart heavily burdened with more weight which makes turning more difficult, especially if you are using a longer cart.
However, the six-caster configuration is perfect for use in situations wherein you need to navigate and maneuver over obstructions like cables, thresholds, and cracks. The two rigid casters in the middle serve to provide tipping action to get the cart over obstructions.
Take Note of the Environmental Conditions When Figuring Out Caster Patterns!
The environmental factors are one of the conditions you should consider when selecting a caster configuration. If you are working in a very cold environment, you need to choose casters that are resistant to compression or flat spotting.
The combination of load and temperature can cause deformation to the caster’s shapes. This deformation may cause the contact area to freeze and become flat. This makes rolling the casters difficult. In such a case, you should choose casters meant for a cold environment.
Nevertheless, if you are working on wet surfaces more often, you should go for high-chrome casters or stainless steel casters with sealed bearing races. Moreover, if you wash the casters every after usage, you should use casters with sealed bearings.
Four Rotating Casters Over Two Fixed and Two Rotating Casters?
When mounting casters, it will be best to have two fixed casters and two swivel casters. This configuration allows for better balance and control. It also provides for better steerability, especially if you got heavy loads.
Nevertheless, you should go for the four swivel casters if your work requires you to position the cart at a specific orientation. Say, for instance, you need to push the cart sideways. Moreover, this configuration is only practical if you have a lighter load and need to position the cart at a particular orientation.
Additional Tips to Ensure Proper Installation of Casters
Aside from knowing the important factors to consider and the various configuration options, it will also help if you know the following tips on proper installation of casters.
If you intend to move your cart in straight lines, but you want to leave yourself the slight option of maneuverability, then you can position two swivel casters on one end and two rigid casters on the other end. In this way, you can quickly push the cart straight while allowing you to turn it slightly when needed.
Six Casters for Heavy Load
If you intend to haul heavy loads more often, you should increase your casters to six. You can position the swivel casters on every corner and the rigid casters somewhere in the midpoint. You can also choose slightly larger rigid casters. In this way, you can turn the cart by using the rigid central casters as a pivotal point.
Mixing Maneuverability and Capacity
If you want to balance maneuverability and load, you can always go for the diamond configuration of casters. You may find this formation not very mobile as compared to other caster patterns. Moreover, the cart will not be that easy to turn. But it will provide you the flexibility of the abovementioned patterns without needing to install six casters. It will also save you some money.
Best Configuration for Lighter Loads Over Short Distances
You can go for a diamond formation of your casters if you often intend to carry lighter loads over short distances. Nevertheless, you can also go for two casters affixed on the longer side of the cart. It will be best to have slightly larger casters on the longer side than the ones you would install on end. In this way, you can turn the cart with ease.
Casters are undriven wheels. You would usually attach them to the bottom of objects that you would like to move. You can use them for office chairs, shopping carts, wagons, material handling equipment, and even hospital beds. You can also equip your workbench with casters so that you can move it with ease from one place to another.
When choosing casters for your workbench, you should go for heavy-duty casters. You should also figure out which configuration is best for installing your casters. Moreover, knowing the abovementioned advantages and disadvantages of each configuration will help you figure out which caster pattern is best for your needs.
Jason is a 40-year-old woodworker, carpenter and author who have been involved in the woodworking and woodcraft industry with 17 years of experience. He is expertise in technical aspects, woodcraft and furniture building projects.