Simple Furniture Caster M8-M4

by 4ndy, published

Simple Furniture Caster M8-M4 by 4ndy Sep 26, 2012
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Simple swivelling casters, for relatively lightweight furniture. Although I seem to be able to lean most of my weight on one with no trouble at all, you might want to do a destructive strength test on a printed hub before fitting this on something like a couch/sofa.

Since a couple of castors somehow fell off an item of furniture when moving out of my last flat, I figured I would try out printing replacements, since buying just a couple of new ones seemed about as expensive as printing them (getting ones that actually fit this thing were more so).

The kind of castor that I'm substituting this for is shown, and I've also made a wheel version with 1mm walls and spoke-like infill (cross-section pictured) as part of the model in a similar form to those injection-moulded wheels. This should optimise strength/weight ratio, but feel free to use the blank model with any infill style you prefer.


  1. Ask me if you want this in a different size, or edit it with the STEP files provided in something like FreeCAD.
  2. Print out two wheels and a hub for each castor. PLA is great for low friction.
  3. Meanwhile cut off a piece of M8 studding, i used about 75mm (3") each.
  4. Ream M4 holes with a drill bit so that a bolt will slide through them smoothly. Optionally grease the holes (veg oil works fine).
  5. Fit an M4x40mm bolt with a few M4 washers and an M4 locknut, plus some washers & locknuts on the M8 studding (locknuts are best for allowing the part to swivel freely while holding it together tight enough, but I seem to have misplaced the packet of M8 nyloc nuts that I had, so full-hex-nuts are in the photo).

Make some more complicated derivatives with wheel-brakes etc. if you want to. :)

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Why would you design something that you can buy for 3-5€ at your local department store?

  • To support localisation of industry and micro-manufacturing instead of global supply chains
  • To enable a greater degree of customisation through print-to-size and cut-to-size parts
  • For fun
  • For design & manufacture practice
  • To test the limits of FDM/FFF part strength in practical applications

In this case, I didn't design something that I could buy at a local department store, because I didn't have one, and making it was cheaper than getting the exact replacement part that I needed delivered from online sales.

Are there any good specs on which plastic is better for weight loads? I'm curious how well this would work for an office chair fix. So far most of the PLA and ABS stuff I've made is extremely strong but I'm sure a big part of it comes down to the design.

When creating a structural part with FDM/FFF 3D printing, likely the most important consideration is to design it such that the greatest stress on the part is in the same plane that the part was printed, as imperfect bonding between each layer can easily result in a part fracturing between laminations if it encounters significant shear or peel stress.
In general, PLA is noticeably more rigid than ABS, with roughly equivalent strength, and more reliably bonds between layers without the use of a heated build chamber, however two caveats are that PLA will quickly lose its rigidity above 60°C, and since ABS is a copolymer blend, no ABS is ever identical, and depending how much you spend on it, can have wildly varying strength: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=tensile+strength+of+acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrenehttp://www.wolframalpha.com/in... (from 31 to 124MPa in that dataset as of writing).
I happen to have a couple reels of cheap ABS that displays depressingly low fracture toughness unless it's printed at a temperature that necessitates a fume hood, which I don't currently have.

I'll see what this looks like in Openscad and let you know.

Great design.

BTW, are you printing in polycarb?



I'd recommend FreeCAD, which seems to be getting pretty advanced. The part photographed was made with natural PLA using a 0.4mm nozzle, and seems to be more than strong enough for the job.