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heavy weight gear - casters or ???
Old 27th November 2002
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar

heavy weight gear - casters or ???

We have a steel shelving system that supports all of our gear that is mounted in portable racks. Its called a "Gorilla" rack and its rated at something like 2000lbs per shelf; we probably have close to 1000lbs split among the three shelves. The unit had been placed up against a wall in the control room, and you all know what a pain in the ass that is when you need to plub/unplug cables on the back of the equipment. My first thought was to just move the entire unit out from the wall about three feet. But we don't want to give up that floor area so one of my partners came up with the idea of casters; when we need to access the rear of the racks, we'd just roll the whole unit out from the wall.

Great idea, but the only casters that are rated to support just the empty weight of the shelving unit are far too large for the mounting plates on the unit. The plates each have a single hole, about 5/16", and the heavy duty casters all require larger holes. (the base plates are thick steel plate, there is no way to increase the diameter of the holes without some industrial strength tools.)

The only casters that fit the existing holes are rated at about 50 to 75lbs, barely enough for one piece of gear in a rack case. The only other product that I found was something designed to move appliances. It consists of 16 plastic wheels tied together. Two of these groupings are strapped together under each side of the "appliance." Each strap is rated at 2000lbs. Anybody ever used something like these appliance rollers? Or any other ideas instead of casters?


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Old 27th November 2002
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
Why not build a platform that has the proper sized heavy duty casters mounted underneath (they usually need 4 bolts per caster) and attach that to the shelf system via the 5/16" bolts?

You could build it with double sheets of 3/4" plywood or steel over ply. Other possibilities are available.

Make sure you build the platform large enough for proper balance when in motion. You may need to strap the top rear of the rack to the bottom rear of the platform in (at least) two places, for better balance. Oversize the casters when addressing your current load requirements. This may come in handy on future load issues. The casters should handle the weight of the shelf system plus the total load it's rated for, 2000 lbs per shelf, or at least the most you will ever place on it.

You'll be styling in no time my man.

I hope this helped.
Old 27th November 2002
yup! Dont forget to check balance with all sets of castors 'in faceing' we have one custom double rack at The Library that makes us a little nervous, we are v carefull when moving it.... In retrospect it's design was slightly less than ideal...

Old 27th November 2002
Gear Maniac

Remoteness said it much more eloquently than I did: Dolly.

NYC Drew
Old 27th November 2002
Moderator emeritus

What everyone else said - my machine room has a triple wide rack, 21" deep and 7 feet tall (there's probably an ordinance against that). I put 6" casters on it; they were the heaviest duty casters I could find with rubber wheels (the next size up were all metal). the top of the rack is now close to 8 feet in the air, so moving it does take a bit of courage.
Old 27th November 2002
Gear Maniac
wurly's Avatar


What Remoteness said. Forget those 5/16" holes and get some serious bolt on casters that require 4 bolts each. My former Tac Scorpion was on wheels. It's the only way to fly. Don't get cheap casters because they won't swivel or roll worth a damn. And watch out for center of gravity issues like Jules warned. MSC (Manhatten Supply) has very nice import casters at good price.

Old 1st December 2002
Gear Guru

The ideal solution to this problem would be that thing they used to have for refrigerators- you hooked the blowing side of your vacuum cleaner up to it and your fridge floated on these tiny jets of air. Sort of like Air Hockey in reverse.

You can buy racks that have "skirted" caster bases. This allows a big wheel but unlike a dolly they won't add a lot of height to your rack.

middle atlantic has one that adds only 3/4".

if you do a seach for rack caster bases you will find a few. some of them fit _inside the rack and don't add any width either

Unfortunately, last time I checked, nobody seems to make a caster base that fits any rack but their own.

Has anyone tried those blue plastic glide things they sell at Home Depot?
Old 1st December 2002
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar


Has anyone tried those blue plastic glide things they sell at Home Depot?

That's the kind of solution we need. Anybody out there whose tried anything like this?

(the "correct" solution involving 4-bolt casters and a plywood base causes other problems not worth discussing here. We're looking for some alternative the blue doo-hickeys....)

or those "appliance rollers" at Orchard Supply Hardware???


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Old 1st December 2002
One with big hooves
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
Well, moving racks around is always a pain. Especially if they're big and heavy. Usually when you try to push them back in the cabing sticks under the casters and needs to be moved as well. With a heavy tall rack that could get annoying fast. How often do you need to access the back of the rack? If your going back there a few times a week I'd leave it out from the wall. If it's only a few times a year do the dolly thing. For some reason I see plastic and 3000 pounds on it being pretty bad over the long haul.
Old 2nd December 2002
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar

casters for huge shelving unit

Usually when you try to push them back in the cabing sticks under the casters and needs to be moved as well. With a heavy tall rack that could get annoying fast.

That shouldn't be a problem as we've learned that lesson. All cables from the back of the equipment are tied off on the rear vertical corner post of the shelving unit. If this thing had wheels, we could tow it down the highway without any cables catching under the casters. The Elco snakes from the Soundcraft board connect to all equipment at that same connection point

How often do you need to access the back of the rack? If your going back there a few times a week I'd leave it out from the wall.

That was my suggestion but my studio partners don't want to give up the space. (why do all the digital guys need room for a little TV set next to the console? Do Bill Gates and Steve Jobs come onscreen and offer helpful hints why they are trying to mix 24 tracks with a single button mouse?)

For some reason I see plastic and 3000 pounds on it being pretty bad over the long haul.

Agreed, I'm just reaching for suggestions. Today, we are leaning towards building a proper platform under the unit to attach casters. (but I'll leave that to the other guys, I've done my share of carpentry work for '02)

thanks for the ideas.

Old 4th December 2002
Here for the gear
Jeremy's Avatar

Hi there
If there is some room either side of the rack and the cabling is gathered on one back edge (as it seems to be from what you said) how about some sort of gate hinge arrangement attached to the wall to improve stability so the whole rack rotates outwards on the cable side for access to the rear. You may need a wheel of some sort on the "opening" side but may be a heavy duty trolley wheel could be welded to the side (or to an appropriate frame work on the opposite side to the pivot point). I am sure if the racking has such a high weight rating a welding expert could rig up something simple as a direct attachment.

Just a few ideas you could try that might be a bit different from the other suggestions. Talk to a gatemaker about hinge loads etc.

Old 7th December 2002
Lives for gear
hollywood_steve's Avatar


"how about some sort of gate hinge arrangement ...."

interesting idea.

my partners and I will be discussing this today and tomorrow as we install our new (old) console on the stand we just build for it. When that's done, we HAVE to resolve the outboard rack issues. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Old 10th December 2002
I saw the sliding discs at Lowes Home Improvement. I use the small ones for couches and they work really well. Anyway the discs were rated at 1600 lbs max. They had some larger, corner shaped versions that were rated at 3000 lbs max and they looked much stronger as well.
Old 10th December 2002
Gear Addict
Curious G's Avatar

The sliding discs work well on my vintage Frigidaire.... it weighs a frickin' ton (metric)... heh
Old 10th December 2002
Lives for gear
oldgearguy's Avatar

I have been looking into this as well. I have 3 (soon to be 4) 79" tall racks and I need to solve 2 problems.

The first problem is access to the rear of the rack while I cable everything up. The second problem is servicing the gear over time.

I *think* that the casters Markertek sells for these racks (the Slim 5 series) will be heavy duty enough and shouldn't destabilize things. I can, with some effort, pull the racks out by hand, but I'd rather not if possible.

As far as servicing, what do you guys do? Do you pull the whole rack away from the wall to get to the back, or do you remove just the unit that is down? The reason for asking involves where do I leave the cable slack? It's conceptually easy to just let a section of cable that's been tied off hang down the side of a rack so I can pull the whole rack out. It seems like it would be harder to insert enough slack for each unit without ending up with a rats nest in the rack.

Any cabling suggestions? I should have a set of casters installed by week's end and can give a report back on how well they work with these tall heavy racks.

Old 12th December 2002
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
Middle Atlantic Products makes a slide out rack system. A rack within a rack. You just unscrew a few screws and pull out the inner 19" rack for rear access to your mounted equipment.

There's a cable tray that keeps the cabling nice and neat. You will never need to get to the back of your rack again.

Please find their enclosure options and a link to their site below...

Click on this hyper link to view their enclosures...
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