Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Rainy Day Project--The Cat Wheel Construct

Long ago, I decided a cat wheel would be great for my cats, so they would exercise and have some fun.

I built a really lousy cat wheel, using old metal pipe, a bushing, not a bearing, for it to spin on, and old ceder fence boards.  Despite it being heavy and ucky, made from semi rotting wood I had around, they loved it. finally fell apart.

This was long before you could find companies making them, for sale, and people on youtube making their own.  I wonder if mine was one of the first.

But now there are companies making and selling cat wheels.  They are in demand and constantly out of stock and they cost hundreds of dollars.

The wheels sold by the constantly out of stock Cat Wheel company cost around $500, before shipping.  Here is their website:  The Cat Wheel company website.

The McClaw cat wheel company in England is trying to expand, out of a home base business but their wheels are several hundred dollars also, but very very nice looking!

Check out Maclaw cat wheels here.

GoPet cat wheels are $475 not counting shipping:

Check out GoPet cat wheels for sale here.

I found plans on a website for a cheap easy cat wheel here:

See how to make a DIY cat wheel here.

This is a DIY and the finished product is not so attractive, but could be, with some alterations.

I went to Home Depot for something else today and also to get out of the house.  I priced the parts I would need for the wheel.

A wheel mount, rated for loads up to 250 lbs., about $8.  But I have a wheel on my homemade cart with a fairly decent mount and bearings, that I could use instead.  I won't use that cart this winter.  Or I can see what the Restore has.

I found a piece of 4x4 sanded cabinet plywood for $22.  I would cut it into a circle for the back.  I have lumber enough for the wheel stand.

Then, if I followed this plan, I would mount 1"x1.5" 12 to 14" long pieces around the perimeter of the circle, using hardware angles, about 12 of them and staple a piece of masonite to those wood pieces.  So I'd need to buy 12 or so hardware angles and a couple 6 ft. lengths of 1"x1.5" wood.  Masonite is about $8 for a 4'x8' sheet, but they had only one sheet in stock of the thickness that bends easily.

I want two layers, one on each side of the 1"x1.5" wood pieces.   Or I could put foam mat, like a yoga mat, on the inside running surface.  The bumps from the wood pieces would provide some traction also.  Either way, this is a cheap and easy plan.  I was warned about cutting that circle, to get it right, nice and round, by someone else who made their own cat wheel.

I won't use carpet on the inside as they did.  Cats catch their claws in the carpet.  Anyhow, I'm eager to give this plan a try.

Others do a variation of this plan, which requires more space and time.  You bend very thin plywood around the base, two to three layers thick, over time, glue it, clamp it, wait, glue another section, clamp, wait, but I don't have the room to do that.  Or that many clamps.  That creates a much nicer looking wheel, especially if you then sand, stain and varnish it.  But it costs more to make.

Here's a video of the one made from the plans in the link I first provided.  Works just fine. They use a cheap wheel and axle stuck through the base post.  They said they packed the hole in the base post with Vaseline to prevent squeaking.  And here I thought I'd need something like a car wheel bearing!

The ultimate DIY cat wheel build on youtube comes through user Tigger Time and includes a five part how to instructional.  It is something, once finished, and also fairly easy, but requires more skill than the first one.  Here is a video of the finished product!

Let's all build cat wheels!

Cat wheel nation!

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