Rollers for balance boards

Here are some ideas of (cheap) materials which make a good roller for your homemade balance board and where to get them for free or buy them.

Carpet roll

If you are not too heavy (say not heavier than 100kg / 15 stone) you can use a carpet roll as a very cheap roller for your balance board. You can get them from your friendly local carpet shop and ask them nicely whether you can have one of their old carpet rolls. Carpets usually come rolled up around a cardboard tube and the thickest variety (1/2cm / 0.2" thick board) make adequate rollers. If you get a whole carpet roll tube you can always cut off some more if you manage to squish it from practicing too much.

Drain pipe

A bit more expensive than carpet roll, but also a little bit more sturdier is drain pipe. They are available in different diameters from small to very large. Make sure that it will hold your weight before buying. Corrugated drain pipe will be a stronger option than normal drain pipe. Some DIY stores stock drain pipe but for the bigger and stronger types you might want to find a builders merchant in your area.

Plastic drinks bottle

I've done a quick experiment with a big 2 liter platic drinks bottle. I emptied it and filled it with tap water - just in case it decides to burst at a later date. I've only tried it for a quick try and it seems to be working fine. I'll get back to you in a bit to let you know whether it survises regular excersise.


Andrew Griffiths wrote on 20060817:

Some tips for rollers.

A good source of strong rollers are plastic sheet manufacturers. Look in the Yellow Pages under Plastic Sheet Extruders. I got all my rollers from local company. Some plastic and some thick cardboard.

The larger the diameter of the roller the faster and more difficult the board will be to balance. So smaller rollers for beginners etc. Aim for a 4" / 100mm roller to begin with. If you find the roller a bit quick, place the roller on a piece of carpet, the thicker the carpet the slower the roller moves. Or partly fill the roller with dry sand or some plastic beads. Again the plastic can be begged from the sheet manufacturer, it's called "virgin pellets" or "powder". You will obviously need to put end caps on the roller.

I started out with a board like the one described here, but I've since gone big and flash by using my longboard as a template, but with 4 feet chopped out of the middle. I have a board 5' 6" long, made from maple ply, gloss varnished with a Aloha fabric inlay on the nose.

It's the most fun without getting wet!

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