DIY Urethane Skateboard Wheels

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Urethane is a chemical that is perfect for designing skateboard wheels; these types of wheels were introduced in the 1970s. It was at this time that skateboarding began being looked at as a real sport, not just something to do when the surf wasn’t up. Originally, skateboard wheels were made from steel during the 1900s. Wheels made from urethane will be abrasion-resistant and have great traction and grip, as well as being super resilient. On top of all that, they’re fast, too. To make these skateboard wheels at home, you’ll need specific types of chemicals and machines.

Add the urethane chemical groups to a metering machine. This machine will heat the chemicals and mix them, creating polyurethane.

Add pigment to the polyurethane when it’s in a liquid state. Keep in mind that adding color could make the wheels weak since the dye will take up some space in the wheel, making it less resilient overall. Without pigment, the wheel will be a white color and slightly clear; this type of wheel is considered the most high performance you can get.

Pour the polyurethane into the aluminum wheel molds.

Remove the wheel molds from the aluminum when the polyurethane has hardened. Place the “wheels” on a flat surface.

Use a lathe machine to cut the wheel down to the exact size and shape that you want it. This machine will turn the wheel as it’s cutting and remove any extra polyurethane. Make sure that each wheel matches each other, so that all of the skateboard wheels are even.

Tips

The word “polyurethane” is probably more more commonly known than the word “urethane.” The chemical group called “urethane” has five atoms that are arranged in a specific order; polyurethane contains several different urethane groups. When several chemical groups are combined — such as when different urethane chemicals groups are combined to create a polyurethane — the resulting product is stronger than the individual ingredients.

Not every urethane wheel is created equal. They can vary in everything from color and shape to hardness. Softer wheels, which have a lower durometer, are best if you’re going to be skateboarding on hard platforms. Harder wheels will have a higher durometer, which means they’re not able to absorb as much shock, making them better for softer surfaces.

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