Skateboard wheels are one of the most essential components in skateboarding. They offer grip for turning and sliding, help you traverse rough terrain, and determine how your board moves across different surfaces.
Understandably so, there’s a lot that goes into what makes up a good wheel – from its size to its shape to the materials used in production.
It takes time and effort to craft each wheel just right so your ride stays smooth and high-performing on any surface or terrain.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at skateboard wheels: their anatomy, construction process, performance features, technology advances – all things related to how they’re made.
Read on to get schooled up about these nifty little tools that keep us rolling forward with every push we make against our boards.
What are skateboard wheels made of?
Skateboard wheels are made up of three main components – the core, urethane, and bearing.
The core is usually composed of metal or plastic material for stability and support. The urethane is what gives skateboard wheels their softness and grip on surfaces; different types of rubber are used to craft various performance characteristics.
Lastly, bearings are used to reduce friction between the wheel and the board.
The combination of these three materials creates wheels that are unique in performance depending on their shape, size, and composition.
How are skateboard wheels made?
Here’s a general overview of the manufacturing process:
Step 1: Mixing the Urethane
To make skateboard wheels, the first step is to mix a specific type of rubber material called urethane.
Different materials are added to the urethane to create a formula that determines the wheel’s hardness.
This mixture is then poured into a machine that thoroughly blends the materials together to create a consistent and smooth compound.
Step 2: Pouring the Urethane
Once the urethane is mixed, it is poured into molds shaped like skateboard wheels.
The molds are created in a process called injection molding, where hot plastic is injected into a specially designed mold.
The mold is made of two parts that fit together. When they are closed, the urethane is poured into the cavity.
Step 3: Curing the Urethane
After pouring the urethane into the molds, they are placed in a curing oven.
The curing process depends on the formula and the hardness desired for the wheels.
The molds are kept in the oven for several hours until the urethane has hardened.
Step 4: Removing the Wheels from the Molds
When the curing process is complete, the molds are opened, and the skateboard wheels are removed.
The wheels are cleaned and checked for any defects, such as air bubbles or deformities. The wheels are also weighed and measured to ensure consistency.
Step 5: Graphic and Quality Control
The last step is to add graphic designs or logos to the wheels.
The graphics are printed using a heat transfer process, which fuses the graphics onto the wheels.
The wheels are checked for quality and tested to ensure that they meet the standards of the manufacturer.
How long does it take to make a skateboard wheel?
Making a skateboard wheel can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the type of wheel you are making.
For example, if you are making a custom resin cast skateboard wheel, it can take up to 3 hours.
If you are simply assembling pre-made parts, it can take as little as 15 minutes.
No matter which method you use to make your skateboard wheel, it is important to ensure that all the components fit together properly and that the wheels spin freely without any wobbling or grinding noises.
This will help ensure that your skateboard will be safe and reliable for years to come.
How much does it cost to make a skateboard wheel?
However, skateboard wheels can be an expensive part of a skateboard setup, with prices ranging from $10 to $50 or even higher depending on the brand, quality, size, and durometer rating.
A standard set of four skateboard wheels can range anywhere from $25 to $60. However, if you are looking for something more specialized, such as a longboard wheel or downhill wheel, the cost can be much higher.
Also, if you choose to make your own skateboard wheels using DIY methods such as resin casting or potato molds, the cost may be significantly lower than purchasing pre-made wheels.
Skateboard wheels can be a great addition to your setup, but there’s much more that goes into it than just picking the right color or shape.
Understanding the materials, construction process, performance characteristics, and technology advancements of skateboard wheels is key to getting the perfect ride for any terrain or surface.
With enough knowledge and practice, you too can make your own skateboard wheels and be the envy of your friends.