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Do you plan on making one?

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5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've owned my hedgehog for a couple of weeks now. His name is Gohan. I bought him from the pet store because the nearest breeder was a couple of hours away =\. I also did not want to pick a hedgehog without a few first impressions. I figured if it's from a pet store then it's convenient for me and i'm possibly saving it from a "pet store lifestyle". He adjusted to his new home pretty quickly after the first few nights of frantic exploring (although he still explores to an extent because he falls into the explorer category of hedgehogs). In the first week of having him, I've upgraded his home twice. The first was a 55 liter Sterilite bin with bowls for his food and water. His second, and current, domicile is a 110 Sterilite bin with air holes drilled into the side. His bowls were upgraded to a glass butter dish and lid for his food and water, respectively. The set-up is very functional and practical because it has straighter walls and more running space for 14.99 plus tax (the butter dish with lid was a Chefmate for 5.99). Both items were found at Target.

A dilemma I faced soon after getting him, however, is how to get this little explorer the proper exercise he needs every night. I read up on the HHC forums and quickly found wheels to be the best answer. I also found the Cake Walk Supreme (CWS) to be the epitome of wheels with a list of features to back up the lofty claim. Chief among these features, the CWS has an adjustable pitch, is easy to clean, runs silent and smooth (even with the heftiest hedgies), and has parts able to resist the "residue" hedgehogs may happen to leave behind while running. The only thing I found to be unappealing about the CWS was the price. Therefore, I endeavored to find a cheaper, yet acceptable, alternative. The product of all my effort resulted in a raggedy bucket wheel mounted on a Silent Spinner axis. It happened to be my first time with a drill and saw. Unfortunately, I also cut the bucket an inch or so too short. Falling short of my goal to make even an acceptable bucket wheel (it wobbled a little too much and made my poor hedgehog fall out far too often for me), I conceived the notion of making a CWS for myself. Inspiration came from rereading the ChinMania bucket wheel instructions. Some known modifications was that a cake container could be used instead of a bucket. That was when the obvious crept upon me like it usually does. The CWS's namesake was owed to its running base: a cake container. The container afforded a larger diameter (12 inches) and base to run on (5 inches wide). In a day of searching, I was quickly able find a suitable cake container at wally mart. I am just about certain it's the same one used for the CWS. It is a Sterilite cake container with a base that snaps over the lid portion. I happily rushed home with 5.50 plus tax less in my wallet. I got to work right away hastily drilling a 1/4 inch hole through the middle (something i should have held off on -_-). I removed the misshapen, yet surprisingly usable, bucket remains from the Silent Spinner axis and christened it with it's new Sterilite crown. It wobbled even more now under the added weight of the cake container -_-; failing to meet the standard set by the nigh legendary CWS. Taking closer, envious looks at the CWS, I concluded it utilized a roller blade wheel for the axis, or something similar, with wing nuts to fasten it in place. Not being able to find my own wheels, I went to Lowe's and decided on what now results into the following tutorial:

How to Make a Cake Wheel:

Parts needed:

-4x stainless steel 1/4 inch hexcap screws (1/2 inch long)* -pack of 5 for 2.97
-4x stainless steel 1/4 wing nuts* -you'll need 2 packs of 2, totaling 2.42
-4x 1/4 inch small rubber washers* -again, you'll need 2 packs of 2, totaling 1.84
-1x swiveling 2 inch caster wheel with brake (just get one that spins well, has ball bearings in the rotating platform portion, and can support the lid)** -4.28
-1x pvc T-joint that looks like it can replace the wheel of the caster -0.28
-more pvc piping to make a stand (OPTIONAL and not covered in this tutorial >_>) -???
-1x cake container -5.50

http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.php? ... vj&thumb=4

**-caster wheels with brakes are optional
*-substitute 1/4 inch screws, washers, and wing nuts with corresponding parts that will fit with the caster you choose if not using the one I did

Total: 17.29 plus tax (18.50 with 7% tax)
Prices are from Lowe's and wallmrat but should fairly represent the potential dent in your wallet no matter which hardware store you decide to obtain the parts from. The pricing for additional pvc piping is not included.

Tools required:

-soldering iron and/or drill
-2x pliers
-small saw
-masking tape or cellophane tape
-a large flathead screwdriver
-scissor/exacto knife/knife/etc. with a blade that can fit about an 1/8 of an inch or more into a 1/4 inch hole

Remove the handle from the cake cover using a large flathead screwdriver working from the inside to unhinge it. The handle is secured to the lid with a hook-like mechanism.

Remove the wheel from the caster with the two pliers by holding it at one end, while loosening at the other.

Center the hole of the T-joint that is perpendicular to the two other openings of the T-joint over the center of the caster in place of the wheel.
http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.php? ... ym&thumb=4

Drill/solder holes through the T-joint so it can be mounted where the wheel was.

Saw/melt/cut away a little of the half of the opening that touches the caster that is closest to where the holes are drilled. This allows the wheel to change its angle.
http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.php? ... zb&thumb=4

Secure the T-joint onto the caster and make sure you can adjust its angle and lock it tightly.

Position the center of the caster over the center of the cake container lid.

Use masking/cellophane tape to hold the caster in place. I used masking tape because it was easier to adjust and test with while still holding the whole thing together.

Drill/solder through the 4 holes of the caster while it is still taped to the lid.

Remove any excess plastic from the newly drilled holes with a scissor blade/exacto knife/knife. Hold it at a 45 degree or so angle and rotate the blade around the hole while keeping the angle so it scrapes/cuts the excess.

Insert the screws through the holes of the caster.

Place rubber washers over each screw.

Use the wing nuts to hand tighten each screw. Hand tightening should be enough since pressure is still being kept on securing the wheel by the rubber washers.
http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.php? ... mj&thumb=4

Mount it somehow onto your cage. I chose to use the pvc T-joint because it has potential for being mounted onto many types of cages using wire, more holes drilled into it, additional pvc piping, etc.
http://www.mediafire.com/imageview.php? ... ct&thumb=4

Have your hedgehog get a good test run on it and make any adjustments.


I made this wheel with these goals in mind:

1. easy to clean with just a wet paper towel as in the CWS testimonials
2. resilient to the "waste" of the hedgies (the caster is zinc, but the rubber washers are meant to keep anything from them)
3. adjustable pitch
4. easily disassembled for further cleaning
5. spins smooth and quietly [silently doesnt seem viable]
6. easy to maintain
7. relatively simple to make
8. overall, it is cheap to make
9. parts are interchangeable if you want to upgrade or improve later on
10. assembly provides a way to accurately center the axis (the holes in the caster was very helpful)

I am delighted to report that I have met almost all of my goals for this project. The only problem I have encountered, is the fact that the wheel doesn't spin as smoothly as I would like it to. It tends to lag at one point every rotation, but then picks right up again. Gohan doesn't seem to mind. On the other hand, you may obtain different results for your caster and come out with a smoother wheel. Don't be afraid to modify/substitute parts and techniques, while following my tutorial, for a better result. I suspect a smaller caster may let the wheel revolve more smoothly. Goals 8 and 9 come to mind >_>, and I am glad that they are still met since the most expensive part, for me at least, was the cake container (5.50 plus tax).

Future plans for the wheel:

-a small/cheap pedometer mounted in the middle to help calculate the distance traveled every night; it'll give me insight into his running habits
-upgrading to a stainless steel caster when I find one
-making a pvc mount that works well with the sterilite cage
-complete disassembly of the caster to see if I can improve the ball bearings in some fashion to make it run smoother

10/25/2009 - The polls show a lot of people have a CWS; I'm a bit envious >_>. Anyways, the wheel decided to fix itself and is running much smoother now. Taking another look at the casters, I found the ones not treated to resist chemicals run smoother. The identifiable difference between the two, is that the chemical resistant ones have a gray wheel, while the smoother running ones have black wheels.

5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
*takes notes* now are the tears used for lubrication or on the wheel surface? also, what's the best method to procure said tears? hehehehe....

update: i made a pvc stand for the wheel, much better than hanging it like i did, but now i need a litter pan. a big one, the parts for the stand cost 2.50 inclduing 7% tax.

8 Posts
Interesting! :geek:
i wish i had thought of this. it would be super helpful, although i'm not sure how well it would have come out in the end :p

i ordered a CWS, but i'm having some issues :( we accidentally ordered two, so i sent an email asking to refund the purchase price for one of them, but i haven't been able to get in contact with anyone :( :( my paypal has since issued a oh hay we're hitting your credit b/c you're 52 dollars negative in your account and we tried to get it out of the wrong bank account so now you have 75 dollars in overdraft fees >.<
either way, our poor boy doesn't have a wheel at all right now, and we did order him a CWS, but i know he's gained weight since his last wheel broke, we made our order, and now. i hope it comes soon!!!!!!

5 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
the point of this wheel is easy to make and great quality [and cheap, etc.] lol. the casters help meet the requirements very well. so maybe you can cut a bucket, find a caster and super glue/tape/cement the whole thing together in the meantime. the guide is just an outline so modify as you see fit. esp. if ur hedgie is gaining weight so noticeably
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