Roll Your Own Heelys

Remember Heelys, the shoes with wheels in the heels? Just lift up your toes, and away you go. We were at least ten or fifteen years older than the target demographic, but got a pair anyway just to please our inner child and have some fun. Young kids would wear them everywhere and zip around inside stores to the annoyance of everyone but other young kids. We imagine some shopkeepers got to the point where they could spot the things as they walked in the door and nipped the skating party in the bud.

[DevNerd] has conceived of the ultimate plan: if you make your own Heelys, no one necessarily has to know unless you start rolling around. [DevNerd] started by cutting some large, 20mm-deep holes in the bottoms of a pair of Air Jordans and printed a sturdy wheel and a box frame for support.

Each wheel has a bearing on both ends that spin on a threaded rod. We’re not sure why [DevNerd] went with threaded rod, because it seems like that would prematurely wear out the frame box.

Don’t want to cut up your shoes, but want some sweet roller kicks for the daily commute down the hall? You could always make them out of pallet wood.

17 thoughts on “Roll Your Own Heelys

  1. If the bearings work, the axis should remain stationary wrt mounting box. Yes, the movement from flexing may cause wearing, but it’s not like the threaded rod is spinning the whole time.

    1. Rolling directly on bearings would tear up and/or emboss floors. Consider how much pressure you’d have with the tiny contact patch of a hardened bearing race supporting the entire weight of a full-grown adult.

      1. Agreed – also the plastic’s deformation will actually help with traction so the wheel always rolls – else you could get round putting a ‘tyre’ on the shaft and spread the load through more bearings.. If slippling rather than rolling matters I’m not really sure on – that would be a feel thing, and as these look like the worst idea in personal locomotion ever I’m not intrested to try it.. Give me proper roller blades/skates or normal shoes – not these where you are going down stairs and just happen to end up with the roller not the sole – roller blades/skates on stairs is silly too – but at least they are 100% reliable the contact with the ground is always low friction in exactly one axis…

  2. Stop Recommending Pallet Wood!

    The treated stuff is for international and outdoors only. Litterally poison. (Please read the comment sections Kristina.)

    Oh and they use twisted nails now. The BIG 2 inch Dremel cut-off wheels required or a SawZall(sp?) For metal/nails required.

    Pallets are a commodity.

    Lumber futures have gone up 800%.

    1. Working with treated woods just requires the right safety equipment. Shouldn’t be a real problem in use of the finished parts. Much the same way MDF is really quite bad for you…

      That said trying to reuse Pallets is rather a false economy – your time dismantling them, plane work to make them square and smooth etc all adds up. And the quality of wood in them is generally terrible – though decent hardwoods etc do exist. (Though I do use Pallets from time to time – easy to get hold of good ones free round here and I have much more time than money usually)

      Never seen a twisted nail in them at all…

      1. I actually purchased a set of them “Refurbished” from Uline dot com. The intention was to build inside an existing room to have premade walls to stuff with cotton batting/insulation for a sound studio and put sound foam on top. (a.k.a. a Room within a Room the idea was to “Lego-ify” them) 4 48×48 pallets, drop a 8 foot 2-4 inside the middle lengthwise, then drill through on the open end side right through the sides for a wall, Corners? easy 1/2 inch cast iron corner pipe 5 inch length and end cap top and bottom)

        (The existing walls for this home have very poor insulation from heat and sound and legally they didn’t have to insulate the internal walls either.)

        3-4 years back. So my shipment of my first 20 arrived
        1.) Stupid heavy (but okay since density helps)
        2.) The refurbished ones were all chemically treated originally.
        3.) Out of the entire set at least 1 in 3 had one “spine” cracked
        4.) The spines were Marked “MB” with the IPPC logo

        (since then they re-labelled them calling them Recycled)

        Returned them… THEN bought NEW ONES thinking that they would be lighter due to un-treated wood. (nope). And access to getting to the back toward the forklift side was hindered because… they added more wood.

        All the boards cracked at dismantling, tried the stupid easy way of using the 2×4 3 inch long way of next to nail and tapping with dead blow hammer. Nope. Harder! Nope. HARDER! Cracked the board. “Wtf?” Attempt to wedge a Masonry chisel between the wood. And struck nope now another crack. “Welp, One is ruined, where did I go wrong?” Claw Hammer pull. PULL!!! PULL and HIT with deadblow hammer. Nope. Tried to use a small 6 inch pry/crow bar. No go. Again 6 inch with a 4 foot piece of Solid Electrical Conduit pipe on top of the mini crowbar (I’m 190, full weight, leaning back more then 45. The little pry bar gave up the ghost (broke it’s tooth) and I was lucky I only barely landed on the corner of another pallet with my shoulder muscle (ow phuc!). Okay F this. WHAT THE HELL!

        Small Dremel cut off wheel. Chewed through the wheel and now that corner nail still solid and wood is now smoldering. “Great..” Watered. Came back with a Sawzall made for metal and wood. Rattled the house for one nail. So I started checking for any “loose nails” on the other pallets AH-HA! Found one, no, the board was already cracked in 3 places from 3 nails. Finally dug it out.

        3-1/4 in. x 0.131 in. 21-Degree 304 Stainless Steel Spiral Shank Nails (1000-Pack)

        All of them. All of them…. Had Stainless Steel Collated Framing Nails. And driven at almost maximum impact (3 below the wood surface)

        If you haven’t had a problem finding pallets good for you. We have thieves and scrappers here.

        They won’t pay for aluminum cans or glass bottles. BUT… There is a grey/black market business model.


        you WILL notice they write “Good condition only”. Yes, People steal pallets and resell them.

        Also you cannot go dumpster diving here because… If the CIO/CTO and EVEN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS didn’t get enough they will call these fine folks.

        And THEY will HAPPILY resell you WORKING power supplies and CD/DVD/Blu-Ray drives.

        1. Oh yeah, the 2×4 I wanted to use as spines? Usually are a touch under 4 inches. I had to run a circular saw and remove 1/8 of an inch to get them to fit inside the pallets themselves.

          Ideally A LEGO style ROOM that could be deployed quickly and match the performance of say a “cheap” 10,000 to 20,000 dollar constructed sound room? Worth the 800-1000 dollars in materials? Especially when you could take it apart and move it into a new home? I say Golden. Using the Yoga Mat material to separate the pallets?

          No, I got messed up, because people kept talking about how wonderful Pallet wood and materials are. They are not.

          These pallets would be great IF you had a zombie horde attacking the seams as they are almost impossible to break down. But the center of the floating wood panel itself? Trival to break.

          I am against using Wooden Pallets, I am now an expert and have invested money, time and knowledge… Enough to know to warn others.


    2. We don’t get poison-treated pallets over here in Europe! Better lumber too I think. And while it is mostly a waste of time compared to just buying the boards, they do have a great reclaimed look and it is really good exercise.

      Recommend a pallet breaker bar for the job (with a sawzall as backup)

  3. You have no idea how hard it was to find Heelys in size 12. I did it though. Word of advise: Don’t try to get on a flight wearing Heelys. Yes it’s fun to Heely in the airport, no it’s not fun going through security.

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