The easiest way to think about what a caster is, is
thinking about that wiggly thing underneath your shopping cart that you push around through the grocery store; that thing that never rolls straight and causes you to run your cart into other people. That’s a caster.
Casters consist mainly of three pieces:
The rig, which is essentially the frame of the caster that holds everything together,
much like the shell of a car that holds together the wheels, engine, and everything inside the car
- The wheel, often referred to as the caster wheel
- The axle, which pokes the wheel through its center and keeps the wheel in its place and connected to the rig
- The bearing, which is placed in the center of the wheel and allows the wheel to move around the axle smoothly
There are other accessories that might be attached to the caster as well, such as breaks or a top plate in order to mount the caster onto another object.
Now give your imagination free range; there are casters for 100s and 1000s of different applications, starting from home improvement projects all the way to heavy duty industrial use cases. So it goes without saying that casters and caster wheels appear in all kind of shapes and forms; tiny caster wheels that are mounted underneath a small coffee table or chair, over dollies, garage gates, all the way to huge 50 pound heavy duty stainless steel casters that run on tracks and haul inventory into industrial ovens or along production lines, withstanding extreme temperatures and carrying loads of multiple tons.
All casters are typically mounted to objects or equipment in some way or another, either screwed, glued, or welded, to securely transport the objects. Some casters can swivel and some casters are rigid. Swivel casters are used for objects that turn a lot or roll around curves, (e.g. the shopping cart), rigid casters are used for primarily straight line operations. Furthermore, there are caster wheels that are flat, and there are caster wheels that are grooved, such as v-groove casters and u-groove casters. Both are used to run on tracks. V-groove casters run on angle iron tracks, u-groove casters primarily run on pipes and are also called pipe wheels.
The material casters and caster wheels are made out of include rubber and plastic (for low capacity applications such as office furniture) to metal materials for more heavy duty jobs and include cast iron, ductile steel, stainless steel, and forged steel. Nylon and Polyurethane are materials often used in wet and corrosive environments as they don’t rust but still have a great capacity limit.
Now, Caster on…
Your friends at GroovedWheels.com