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Angle Iron Track for V-groove Casters

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#1 AstroArlo

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 01:57 PM

I'm curious where people find the angle iron track to use with V-groove casters.

Is this available pre-welded (angle iron on flat iron), or do you have to buy angle iron and flat ribbons of iron separtely and have them welded together?

#2 pbealo

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:22 PM

Angle iron is kind of a standard stock item at many metal fabrication shops. What we did for my observatory was to weld two pieces of angle iron like this:

11 /\
__/ \__
l
l
l

Sorry, I couldn't make a 90 deg angle with slashes...

The horizontal and vertical parts were just attached to a wood beam.

#3 MichaelW

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:24 PM

Any steel supplier should be able to get you what you need. You could weld it together and weld id down to your mounting plates, which is probably preferred. But I am sure you could also screw it down in place and that too would work as the angle/v-caster mounting isn't holding the rood down as much as your latching mechanism is.

Note, I used V-casters on my dome but used 0 gauge wire as my angle since it was in a circle and not a straight line.

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#4 Tom Clark

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:25 PM

V-groove wheels are also designed to run on the edge of angle iron, with either the wheel on top or underneath. You can run them on the side of angle iron, but they produce higher friction in that manner.

This photo shows a close-up of my dome track.

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  • 2917614-track1.jpg


#5 Tom Clark

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:27 PM

I had the three-inch angle rolled into the diameter my dome required, and had it welded in place - after measuring it many times to make sure that it was round within 1/4".

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#6 csa/montana

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 02:49 PM

Mine (from BYO observatories) was one piece (not welded together). It was screwed down in place, & sections were simply butted up against each other.

#7 soreneck

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 03:58 PM

Hi Arlo,

For my roll-off design, I went with a simple L-channel angle iron, inverted to make a V. It was the cheapest solution I could find. I secured the angle-iron to the 2x10 rails using screws and washers. So far it has proved more than sufficient to handle the weight of my small roof.

Unfortunately I can't find a detailed photo, but this one is the closest I can manage. (The observatory roof and support beams were unfinished at that point, but it illustrates the channel.)

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Adam

#8 f29pc

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 07:21 PM

Here is how I did mine. I got the matirial from the local fab shop.
http://www.burkesobs...hp?id=45&&cls=O
Paul

#9 kiwisailor

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:11 PM

I used V-casters on my dome but used 0 gauge wire as my angle since it was in a circle and not a straight line.

Neat idea Michael, did you spot weld the wire to a continuous base plate or series of plates spaced out round the wire circle?

Any fabrication/general engineering shop should be able to help you out Arlo, or track down your nearest supplier of mild steel bar and angle iron, if you want to DIY

Steve

#10 MichaelW

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 08:43 PM

Neat idea Michael, did you spot weld the wire to a continuous base plate or series of plates spaced out round the wire circle?

Thanks Steve.

No, I placed the cable in a routed channel in my plywood base ring on a bed of adhesive and nailed down with small tacks through the middle of the cable down to the base ring. The weight mostly rides on the base plate and the cable is more of a guide. I can't take credit for the concept though, I got it from the Autopia ride at Disneyland in CA. The cars drive around like cars but there is a steel "track" to limit the wanderings of the "car".

This is how I will also guide my roll off roof. Easy to install and the materials are cheaper. ;)

#11 kiwisailor

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 09:47 PM

No, I placed the cable in a routed channel in my plywood base ring on a bed of adhesive and nailed down with small tacks through the middle of the cable down to the base ring

It just gets better :), seems like an ideal solution for a lightweight dome or ROR obs

I can't take credit for the concept though, I got it from the Autopia ride at Disneyland in CA.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery :)

Thanks for sharing the idea.

Steve

#12 kiwisailor

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Posted 09 February 2009 - 11:36 PM

Thinking about tracks, how about using 3/4 Galv pipe as a track.

For ROR's, you could rout out a small channel, bed it in Epoxy and drill through the pipe and screw it. You'd need V-groove castors with a suitable profile, there would only be two points of spot contact, so rolling drag would be minimal.

For domes, the pipe would have to be bent, (but so does angle iron)and Galv isn't flash to weld (spline it with a bit of Mild Steel rod turned to match the pipe ID?) and fix down the same as for a ROR.

Steve

#13 llanitedave

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 12:56 AM

Note, I used V-casters on my dome but used 0 gauge wire as my angle since it was in a circle and not a straight line.


Michael, is that copper wire or aluminum? Is it less costly than angle iron?

#14 MichaelW

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 10:36 AM

Thanks!

You could use almost anything (I'm sure) to guide the wheels and pipe should work as well.

I used copper encased in a plastic shield but only because that's what they had at the home store and it added some diameter over bare wire. I took one of the casters down to the store and purchased the wire that best fit the groove. I'd imagine that either copper or aluminum would work equally as well. Both are equally soft but the design isn't to ride on the wire but the base and use the wire as a guide.

In my case where I needed a large diameter circle for a rotating dome, the angle iron was one price the other price was getting the correct bend in each piece to match my dome. But even in a straight application copper would be cheaper if memory serves. I went into the store to see what size I needed or you could use a chart. I think I spent about 30 bucks in wire and I needed 10'x3.14(etc). So at the time I was looking at about a buck and change a foot. Angle iron is a tad over that. ;)

The drawback to this concept is in places such as where I live, where you would need to ensure the track is clear before you roll because in the case of snow or ice build up you could "jump the track". Whereas a angle iron track tends to shed the snow from the track.

#15 polaristom

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 03:05 PM

Careful, 3/4" pipe is the inside diameter and will be too large for your casters. I used 1/2" pipe for my shutter assembly and it worked great. 1/2" pipe is about 7/8" outside diameter.

#16 Achernar

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 08:25 PM

You can buy angle iron, which is really steel, at many home improvement centers and steel supply shops. I would contact a local steel supplier because you'll be using a good bit of steel and the prices are better. You could also try searching for what you need at a scrap yard. It is preformed so no welding is necessary, which would be time consuming and laborious because it would have to be fitted carefully so after welding the wheels would roll in the track properly. Just select the size and thickness you need. Cutting angle iron with a hack saw is possible, but slow. I would borrow or buy a saw such as a reciprocating saw called a "Sawz All" or a portable band saw, and buy a package of blades suitable for the metal you'll be cutting. Or get measurements ahead of time and have the shop cut the angle iron to length for you.

Taras

#17 HunterofPhotons

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 12:16 PM

I had a metal working shop order some galvanized angle iron. They welded two pieces together to make the long lengths that I needed, tacked on some drilled mounting feet, and delivered them to my house for a reasonable cost.
You might be interested in this alternative to metal track wheels:
polyurethane wheels .
They're quiet and they don't rust. Of course, they're more expensive <g>, but not by a lot.

#18 csa/montana

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:02 PM

I've never been bothered by what little noise the wheels make rolling the roof off. I also would question the strength of the polyurethane wheels with extreme temps; way below zero, for instance. :question:

#19 HunterofPhotons

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:33 AM

I've never been bothered by what little noise the wheels make rolling the roof off. I also would question the strength of the polyurethane wheels with extreme temps; way below zero, for instance. :question:

The noise from my metal wheels is minimal, too. Not at all objectionable in my opinion.
The temperature range for the polyurethane is -40° to +200° F. I usually close up shop for the night when the temperatures get outside that range anyway. <g>

dan

#20 kiwisailor

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 04:41 PM

Just been reading "Standard Handbook For Telescope Making-N.E. Howard, ISBN 0-690-76784-6" which has a chapter on Observatory building.

The author gives his opinions on tracks, and how to bend angle iron into a curve by rough hand bending and then a final smoothing into the final desired curve using a hardwood former cut to match the required final curve (2 foot long *2" thick- with a flat iron "shoe" screwed to the curved surface)The curve is faired up by using the Hardwood former as a dolly and hammering the roughly bent angle iron against it, checking the results regularly against a full size circle laid out on a suitable concrete floor.

Howard goes on to say that with sufficient patience and elbow grease, you can come within 1/4 of an inch of a perfect circle.

Steve

#21 DeanS

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 10:40 AM

Here is a drawing of how I did mine. It is spot welded to the steel top plate.

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  • 2925252-Roller+detail.jpg


#22 AstroArlo

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Posted 18 February 2009 - 03:06 PM

Thanks everyone for all the great ideas.

I've had my roll-off for 3 years now. I just used flat rollers on doubled 2x6's. It's worked OK, but the 2x6's are starting to warp and split, and the roof is now at a very small angle to the 2x6's. I'd also like to automate the roof, so I'll need a motor and some gears - this obviously won't be possible unless the roof rolls along a consistent path.

So, I need to retrofit the rails to my existing roof. My wheels are located in the traditional place - attached to the bottom of the roll-off roof. But the diagram of the rotating dome gave me the idea of mounting the wheels to the wall, and the rails to the roll off roof. This may be a simpler retrofit than putting the v-coasters on the roll-off roof and the angle iron on the wall.

I'll have to think about this for a while. I have the obvious problem of supporting or lifting a one ton roof while I am retrofitting the angle iron and v-coasters.

So, anyone who is contemplating a roll-off, don't make my mistake with just plain rollers on 2x6's. You should definately get some type of track system.


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