What do you get when you combine the need for something and a tight budget? A do-it-yourself rolling kiln shelf stand! Quick post today, but I wanted to explain how I constructed a rolling cart for my kiln shelves!
First, I wanted a material that was heat proof and modular (in case I purchased more shelves was my main reasoning for this). Enter black iron pipe. You can pick this stuff up in the plumping section of a hardware store, and to my surprise, Amazon as well-for pretty cheap too!
Secondly, I went about gathering my material. For every fitting, it was a ½” diameter (this will matter later on) I ended up using ten 1” nipples, two 18” nipples, sixteen 3” nipples, four 4 way pipe fittings, eight Tee pipe fittings, four Polyurethane castor wheels with (I believe) ¼” stem screws (they’re about 2-3” wheels) and four hex nuts. All together I believe I spent around $50 for the entire project. I’ve bought and returned so many parts as I was testing this project I lost count of the price but it wasn’t a huge dent in the wallet.
Third, we construct. In my video you can see I started by attaching the 1” nipples to the Tee fittings for the side of the cart. I screwed all of those together to complete the side-these will separate each shelf. I then added the corners and laid the piece down on its side to screw in the 18” pipes. Then I add four 3” nipples to the “bottom” of the cart and that is where the wheels will go! I tapped each hex nut into the bottom of the 3” nipples and then I screwed in my wheels. This project took me about an hour to construct (not including all the trial and error).
Some pros about this project that I really want to highlight:
Heat resistant!!! I would never remove kiln shelves from a kiln over 200 degrees (even 150 is pushing it for me).
It is completely modular; if I buy more shelves (like half moons) I can easily unscrew it and add more pipes. This is a material plumbers use all the time, so it’ll be a pretty accessible product in the future. Everything was bought from a hardware store or amazon-again pretty accessible.
It is SO compact. Everything is going on wheels in my studio! When winter comes or maybe it’s just in the way, I can easily move it to another spot in the studio. It's narrow enough that it will fit under the eventual workbench that goes into this space. Its depth measures at about 14”, and width is about 22”.
It is a sturdy and reliable stand. The polyurethane wheels glide SO nicely and when the brakes are engaged, I can scrape the shelves with no issue. I can also paint kiln wash on the shelves when they are stored here and it acts as a drying rack. 10/10!
It's not only modular for me, but for someone else looking to build this! You could add more tees, 3” nipples and 1” nipples for more shelves. You could change the width of it to match your kiln shelf size-so it doesn’t scrape on the ground while you roll it. It’s an adaptable concept and project, for a reasonable price.
I don’t have any cons that come to mind. If anything, it took a ton of trial and error and not every “joint” is as tight as it could be. I could fix that with some pipe wrenches, so again, not major concerns. All in all, I was looking for a rolling cart for the shelves that could be pulled out when I load/unload the kiln and neatly tuck away when not in use. I 100% got what I was looking for! This project stemmed from a need to have a rolling stand for my kiln. One that I didn’t have to weld to get the strength required to support the weight of a full kiln. Sooooooo… I made one! I’m still in the test trial period though. I am on the lookout for any cracking, strange settling, signs of weakness from the kiln and cart, but so far *knock on wood* it’s holding up nicely. That project definitely warrants a separate blog post and instagram video, so hang tight. I just want to make sure it’s a reliable option before posting it on the internet. I would never want someone to take these projects, implement them in their space to have equipment damaged; that’s actually the last thing I want. However, I am loving sharing this journey! If you find this blog post, I genuinely thank you for reading-I hope you’ve been inspired to build something outside of your comfort zone!! I’ve been doing that for 3 months and I have been loving it. Until next time, let's get muddy, shall we?