Skateboard wheels are essential parts of your board. Without them, your board cannot move and roll. This article will help you understand your wheels furthermore. Let’s see how skateboard wheels are made and what materials are needed to create them.
Skateboard wheels are typically manufactured in large quantities using an automated mechanical machine in an industrial setting.
Back in the 1900s, wheels were made from steel. Six decades later, manufacturers tried making clay skateboard wheels hoping it would work better.
Today, skateboard wheels are made out of a synthetic rubber polymer composed of stretchy and small chains material known as polyurethane.
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Skateboard Wheel Materials
1. Metal skateboard wheels are inspired by wheels used in roller skates. Steel was the first-ever material used to make skateboard wheels before. But they were replaced because of the rough and bumpy ride it produces, and skateboarders find them hard to control.
2. Skateboard wheels made from clay were created by combining the following materials:
- Crushed walnut shells
They are used in indoor roller skates and later used for skateboards before but were not used for a more extended period because they wore down very fast.
3. Urethane wheels were first used in 1970 by Frank Nasworthy. It looks like white powder and sometimes appears as a colorless crystal. Urethane is formed with the combination of these two chemicals:
Urethane skateboard wheels are fast, super-resilient, abrasion-resistant, and have greater grip and traction.
You can create clear skateboard wheels without putting any pigment onto the chemical mixture.
4. Skateboards these days are made of polyurethane – the polymer version of urethane but have the same composition. These polyurethane wheels are softer and yet more durable than steel wheels.
Polyurethane Skateboard Wheels Equipment
In the skateboard wheel manufacturing process, chemical components and types of machinery create skateboard wheels.
- Metering Machine – where chemicals were put to create the polyurethane chemical
- Nozzle Dispenser– it is typically used to put the polyurethane liquids into mold
- Oven – where wheels are placed for baking
- Air Compressor – used to pop out the wheels from the molds
- Durometer Gauge – to test the hardness of the wheels
- Lathe Machine – a machine typically used for shaping metals or woods
- Pad Printing Machine – it is primarily used to transfer designs or logos on difficult to print on surfaces such as skateboard wheels
- Rebound Tester – used to measure the quality of the wheels
- Aluminum Molder – used to achieve the wanted shape
As mentioned, polyurethane is just the polymer version of urethane, and manufacturers will need polyol and isocyanate chemicals to produce polyurethane wheels.
How Are Skateboard Wheels Made?
- With the use of a nozzle dispenser, polyurethane liquid is poured into the created wheel molds.
- The filled molds with polyurethane liquid were put inside the oven for 40 minutes at almost 240 degrees Fahrenheit.
- After baking, the pins were removed from the molds.
- The next process involves blasting compressed air between the molds and the wheels to pop it out from the molder.
- A durometer gauge is used to test the wheels to ensure that the wheels are at the hardness level as intended.
- Using a lathe machine, the edges of the wheels were countered to make a softer and more rounded profile.
- Wheels are decorated using a pad printing machine.
- In order to make a photo-etched print plate, digital artwork is converted into film.
- Using the pad printing machine, the silicone pad transfers the images to the wheels.
- One pad is intended for one color; multiple colored wheels will require multiple pads to transfer.
- The wheels are now ready for testing to gauge the rebound. A test to determine how high the wheels bounce. The higher the bounce, the better the quality of the wheels manufactured.
And voila, the wheels are now cleared and packed to be prepared for shipment or delivery. And this is how skateboard wheels are produced in an industrial setup.
Skateboard wheels made of clay and metals are now part of history. It is not recommended either to use skateboards with rubber wheels as it is easier to rip apart. Other skaters also used plastic skateboard wheels, but remember that plastic wheels won’t rip the ground.
Today, polyurethane skateboard wheels were widely and commonly used by skaters due to their durability and versatility.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Isn’t it exciting to know how skateboard wheels are made? If you think I missed out something, let me know, and feel free to comment below.
Hi, I am Charles Harris. I opened this site to write as much as I can about my biggest passion – skateboarding!
I started as a clumsy yet passionate rookie 10 years ago to now a still passionate yet much better skateboarder! But I have to tell you, the whole journey has always been fun and rewarding, indeed not without hardship.