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Ask DocSk8 (Expert Indoor Skate Building Advice) This forum is different then the other SkateLog forums in that it is not a discussion forum, but rather a place you can ask skate building expert Fred "DocSk8" Benjamin about building and repairing indoor speed, derby, and jamskate quad roller skates. Please start a new thread for each new question.

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Old May 8th, 2014, 11:46 AM   #1
larryoracing
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Lomita, Ca, work in El Segundo, CA
Posts: 992
Smile Doc I know this is an old question, but

I need a link to buy 7mm axel spacers that go between the precision bearings in artistic wheels.

I'm having a hard time to find someone who sells them.

Thankyou,

Very Much!

Larry Otani
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Old May 8th, 2014, 05:56 PM   #2
Doc Sk8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larryoracing View Post
I need a link to buy 7mm axel spacers that go between the precision bearings in artistic wheels.

I'm having a hard time to find someone who sells them.

Thankyou,

Very Much!

Larry Otani
I seriously doubt I could even find a link to do that.. Why?? They are obsolete technology and have been for decades. Now that does not mean that sk8s do not come with them. Pacer sk8s do.. and so do Roll Lines. You can find them on sk8board sites. Maybe they keep closer tolerances than quad manufacturers do.

Once upon a time, all the precision bearing wheels came with their own spacers Finding those can be a chore. The hard part is finding some that match up to the bearing spacing in your wheels.

We have a couple of members here that still think they are the way to go. I do not concur. Here is why....A Reddit post from SLF member "Machine":
Quote:
I have messed with spacers quite a bit on my skates given that when I'm not on my quads I'm railing around roadcourses in a high performance race car. And guess what we put in between the bearings pressed into the suspension uprights? That's right, precision machined spacers that allow us to crank down the wheel spindle nut for all it's worth yet still maintain perfect bearing roll.
Works on the car, why not do it on the skates? Makes sense.
The issue I encountered with trying to use spacers on quad wheels is that not all quad wheels are consistent in the measurement of the webbing between the bearing seats. I've found this especially true with injection molded plastic hubs. I would find differences of a few hundredths of an inch between wheels of the same make/model in a matched set. The machined aluminum hubs were better, but not perfect. My aluminum hubbed Radar Devil Rays were a couple hundredths out on the webbing measurement between all eight wheels. Even my reproduction Fanjet hubs were not 100% identical in webbing measurement over a set of eight. They were damn close, but not close enough I could use eight identically sized bearing spacers. And it's not like I'm using a ruler and eyeballing these things, everything I took measurements with is digital and has Mitutoyo printed on it somewhere.
The only hubs I found that were consistent in webbing measurement between an entire set of eight were on my Roll Line wheels, which I hardly ever use. So, no help there. But I understand now why a lot of Roll Line wheels come with spacers, their production QA is that high.
Now a couple hundredths of an inch does not sound like a lot, but it's enough so that if your spacer is off in measurement by that amount in either direction you'll see some interesting behavior.
Spacer a couple hundredths too big? You can tighten the nut down all the way, and the wheel spins great. But the bearings are not actually seated against the webbing and you can feel a tiny bit of slop if you grab the wheel and push/pull on it. You'll feel the webbing click/clack back and forth between the outer bearing races. My concern there is that if used in that manner the friction of the hub sliding on the bearings would effectively destroy the bearing seats and webbing over time. Think of it as bending the tab on a beer can back and forth till it snaps off in your hand.
Spacer a couple hundredths too small? Well, that one is pretty obvious. You start tightening the nut down to lock the bearings in place on the spacer and it pinches the inner bearing races in so they are no longer in perfect alignment with the outer bearing races. Generally this is pretty easy to see because the wheel won't spin freely, or spins like there is a slight touch of drag. If you skated on them in this fashion you'd eventually destroy the races of your bearings or potentially seize a bearing all together.
What was my solution? I actually ended up using my digital caliper to individually measure the webbing on a set of eight wheels. I then used a mini-lathe to cut precise individual spacers matched to each wheel webbing measurement. That worked perfectly as I assumed it would. BUT, it was a big pain in the ass. And now as a side effect, when it comes time to clean those wheels/bearings I am now forced to make sure each individually machined spacer and matched bearing set stays with its corresponding wheel. Again, pain in the ass.
I even tried using standard over-the-counter skate shop quad wheel bearing spacers (it always seemed like the bearing spacers were a hair too short) and attempted to shim them with sanded down speed rings for a perfect fit. Again, not worth the headache, and now you had shims to keep matched up with your wheels/spacers/bearings... Wonderful.
My final solution was to chuck all the spacers in the trash and just run without. Tighten the axle nut till there is a hair of drag, back off 1/8th of a turn, good to go. It's a rollerskate, not a race car.
I do run speed rings on the inside of my trucks, but you don't need to run speed rings on the outside... Just flip the standard locknut over. Locknuts are all tapered on top where they crimp them over to hold the nylon in. That crimped over surface matches up perfectly with the inner race on the bearing with no contact to the dust shield.
Just remember to run the nylock nut on to the axle fully at least once before you flip it if it's a brand new nut. New nylock axle nuts do not have threads cut into the nylon fresh out of the box. Running it down on the axle fully at least once will cut in the threads making flipping the nut far easier than if you didn't preventing a potential cross-thread.
And there you go, that's my experience with bearing spacers on quad skate wheels. Not worth the hassle.
My take?? Anyone that that thinks the time and effort required to achieve the perfection needed for these spacers to provide what ever they think they will provide needs to reevaluate their sk8 priorities. I have been there, I have done that for more than one set of metal hub speed wheels and I reached the same conclusion. This is essentially a "non value added" operation.

Now there are some places they are absolutely necessary. Inlines for one. I also put them in all urethane wheels. But not hubbed quad wheels.

Now if you really want to pursue this, the easiest way is to get Roll Line wheels.. Their spacers match their wheels pretty well and all you do is assemble and put them on. They are not inexpensive however.

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Old May 8th, 2014, 09:47 PM   #3
larryoracing
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Lomita, Ca, work in El Segundo, CA
Posts: 992
Smile Dear Doc thankyou for the answer. I really appreciate it.

Doc I was frustrated and I felt the spacers helped in aligning the bearings in a new pair of wheels I just bought.

And I have several sets of wheels and bearings I want to install.

I tried again today in search of the elusive 7mm axel bearing spacers.

The good Lord decided to chime in and I found the spacers on the following website.


http://www.fastgirlskates.com/roller...&idcategory=52


Thanks again, and I know you are an expert on this stuff.

Sincerely,

Larry Otani
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