What Material Are Skateboard Wheels Made of?

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Last Updated on September 26, 2022

Skateboard wheels are made of a variety of materials, the most common being polyurethane, which is a type of plastic. Other materials include urethane and even wood.

Polyurethane is durable and has a good grip, which makes it ideal for skateboarding. There are different durometers, or hardness, of polyurethane, which affects how the skateboard rides.

Softer wheels are better for tricks and going over rough surfaces, while harder wheels are better for street skating and going fast.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the history of the skateboard wheel, the different materials they’re made of, and their pros and cons.

What Was Skateboarding Wheels Made of Before Polyurethane?

Skateboarding is an activity that has been around for centuries, with the first recorded instances dating back to the early 1800s. In its earliest form, skateboarding was more akin to surfing, with riders using boards made of wood or metal to glide across the water.

It wasn’t until the 1950s that skateboarding began to take on its modern form with the invention of the first urethane wheels. These wheels allowed for a much smoother ride and quickly became the standard for skateboards.

So what were skateboarding wheels made of before polyurethane? The answer may surprise you.

Early Skateboarding Wheels: Metal and Wood

The first skateboards were made of wood, with metal wheels attached to the bottom. These boards were difficult to ride and offered very little in the way of a smooth ride.

As skateboarding became more popular in the early 1900s, manufacturers began experimenting with different materials for the wheels. The first successful alternative to wood was metal, which was used on some of the earliest skateboards.

Metal wheels offered a smoother ride than wood, but they were still far from perfect. They were also very heavy, which made them difficult to maneuver.

The Invention of Urethane Wheels

The first urethane wheels were invented in the early 1950s by Dr. Samuel J. Buss, a chemist working for the DuPont company. DuPont was already a major player in the plastics industry, and Buss saw the potential for urethane to be used in skateboard wheels.

Buss’s invention revolutionized skateboarding, and within a few years, urethane wheels replaced metal and wood as the standard. Urethane wheels are lighter and smoother than metal or wood, and they offer a much more comfortable ride.

How Are Polyurethane Skateboarding Wheels Made?

Skateboarding is a popular activity enjoyed by people of all ages around the world. While it may look like a simple activity, there is actually a lot of science and engineering that goes into making a skateboard work.

One of the most important parts of a skateboard is the wheels. Here, we’ll take a look at how skateboarding wheels are made from polyurethane.

Skateboarding wheels are made from a type of plastic called polyurethane. This material is very strong and durable, which is essential for withstanding the wear and tear of skating. Polyurethane is also very flexible, which allows it to absorb impact and reduce vibration.

To make skateboarding wheels, manufacturers start by creating a mold. This mold is usually made from metal or aluminum, and it is designed to match the size and shape of the desired wheel. Once the mold is created, it is filled with liquid polyurethane.

The polyurethane is then left to harden and cure. This process can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the specific type of polyurethane used. Once the wheels are fully cured, they are ready to be used on a skateboard.

Skateboarding wheels are an essential part of the skateboarding experience. Without them, skateboards would not be able to roll and would be much less maneuverable. Thanks to the strength and flexibility of polyurethane, skateboarding wheels can withstand a lot of abuse and continue to perform well for many years.

Skateboard Wheel Durometer Ratings

The Skateboard wheel Durometer Rating is a measure of the hardness of the wheel. The higher the number, the harder the wheel. The lower the number, the softer the wheel. The scale goes from 0 to 100.

The scale is not linear, however. It is logarithmic, which means that each number is 10 times higher than the one before it. So, a wheel with a durometer of 30 is 10 times harder than a wheel with 20.

Skateboarders usually prefer wheels in the 78A to 85A range. This is because harder wheels will last longer, but they are more difficult to control. Softer wheels are easier to control, but they wear out more quickly.

The best way to choose a wheel durometer is to experiment. Try different durometers and see what works best for you.

Can You Make Polyurethane Skateboard Wheels at Home? Step by Step Guide

Skateboarding is a great way to get around, but it can be expensive to keep up with the latest trends. One way to save money is to make your own skateboard wheels. Polyurethane is a popular material for skateboard wheels, and it’s not too difficult to work with. With a little time and effort, you can make your own polyurethane skateboard wheels at home.

Materials

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

  • A piece of polyurethane sheeting. You can find this at most hardware stores
  • A skateboard wheel mold. You can find these online or at some skate shops
  • Heat gun
  • Kitchen oven
  • Sharp knife
  • Drill
  • Jigsaw
  • Sander
  • A drill bit that is slightly larger than the axle of your skateboard trucks
  • A set of skateboard bearings
  • A set of skateboard spacers
  • A set of skateboard washers
  • A set of skateboard nuts
  • A set of skateboard bolts

Step 1: Cutting the Polyurethane Sheeting

The first step is to cut the polyurethane sheeting to size. You’ll need to cut it into four pieces that are each slightly larger than your skateboard wheel mold.

Step 2: Heating the Polyurethane Sheeting

Next, you’ll need to heat up the polyurethane sheeting. This can be done with a heat gun or in a kitchen oven. If you’re using a heat gun, be sure to keep the sheeting moving so that it doesn’t get too hot in one spot.

If you’re using an oven, set it to a low temperature (around 200 degrees Fahrenheit) and put the sheeting in for a few minutes until it’s soft and pliable.

Step 3: Molding the Polyurethane

Once the sheeting is heated, it’s time to start molding it into shape. Place the sheeting over the mold and use your hands to press it down into the mold. Be sure to work quickly, as the polyurethane will start to cool and harden as soon as it’s removed from the heat.

Step 4: Use Knife to Remove the Polyurethane

Once the polyurethane has cooled and hardened, it’s time to remove it from the mold. This can be done with a sharp knife or a jigsaw.

Step 5: Adding Other Parts

Now that the polyurethane is in the shape of a skateboard wheel, it’s time to add the bearings. First, drill a hole in the center of the wheel that is slightly larger than the axle of your skateboard trucks. Next, press the bearings into the hole. Finally, add the spacers, washers, and nuts.

Your polyurethane skateboard wheels are now ready to be installed on your skateboard.

All the Reasons Why Should You Use Polyurethane Wheels?

If you are in the market for a new set of wheels, you may be wondering if polyurethane wheels are the right choice for you. Here are a few reasons why you should consider using polyurethane wheels:

1. Polyurethane Wheels Are Extremely Durable

Polyurethane is a synthetic material that is very strong and resistant to wear and tear. This makes it an ideal material for wheels, as they will be able to withstand a lot of use without showing signs of wear.

2. Roll Smoothly

Because of their smooth surface, polyurethane wheels roll more smoothly than other types of wheels. This can make for a more comfortable ride, as well as making it easier to keep your balance while skating.

3. They Are Available in a Variety of Colors

If you want your wheels to stand out, you can choose from a wide range of colors when you opt for polyurethane wheels. From bright, eye-catching colors to more subdued hues, you’ll be able to find the perfect shade to match your skating style.

4. They Are Affordable

Compared to other types of skateboard wheels, polyurethane wheels are very affordable. This makes them a great option if you are on a budget or if you are looking to buy a new set of wheels for your skateboard.

5. Easy to Find

Because polyurethane is a common material used in skateboard wheels, it is easy to find them in stores or online. As a result, you won’t have to search high and low to find the perfect set of wheels for your skateboard.

If you are looking for a new set of skateboard wheels, you should definitely consider using polyurethane wheels. They are durable, affordable, and easy to find, and they can provide you with a smooth, comfortable ride.

The Pros and Cons of Different Skateboard Wheel Materials

Skateboard wheels are made from a variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a rundown of the most common materials used for skateboard wheels, along with the pros and cons of each.

Polyurethane (Pu)

Polyurethane is the most common material used for skateboard wheels. It is inexpensive and provides a good balance of grip and speed. PU wheels are available in a wide range of durometers (hardness levels), so you can choose the right wheels for your skating style.

  • Pros

Inexpensive, good grip and speed, a wide range of durometers.

  • Cons

Not as durable as other materials.

ABS

ABS is a plastic that is sometimes used for skateboard wheels. It is harder and more durable than PU, but it is also more expensive. ABS wheels are available in a limited range of durometers.

  • Pros

Harder and more durable than PU, limited range of durometers.

  • Cons

More expensive.

Urethane

Urethane is a synthetic rubber that is sometimes used for skateboard wheels. It is more expensive than PU, but it is also more durable. Urethane wheels are available in a limited range of durometers.

  • Pros

More durable than PU, limited range of durometers.

  • Cons

More expensive than PU.

Rubber

Rubber is another material that can be used for skateboard wheels. Rubber wheels are softer than urethane or polyurethane wheels, so they provide more grip. They are a good choice for beginners or for skating on rough surfaces. However, they can wear down quickly and need to be replaced more often than other types of wheels.

  • Pros

Good grip, affordable.

  • Cons

Wear down quickly. Not as durable as other materials.

So there you have it, the pros and cons of different skateboard wheel materials. Urethane and polyurethane are the most popular choices, as they are durable and provide a good grip. Rubber wheels are a good budget option, but they don’t last as long. Whichever material you choose, make sure you get the right hardness level for your skating surface.

What Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Wheels?

When it comes to skateboarding, one of the most important choices you will make is the type of wheels you use. Not all skateboarding wheels are created equal, and there are a variety of factors to consider when choosing the right wheels for you. Here, we will be discussing how to compare polyurethane skateboarding wheels.

Wheel Diameter

One of the first things you will want to consider when choosing skateboarding wheels is the diameter of the wheel. The diameter of the wheel will determine how fast the wheel will roll and how much traction it will have.

A larger wheel will have more speed and less traction, while a smaller wheel will have less speed and more traction.

Hardness

Another essential factor to consider when choosing skateboarding wheels is the hardness of the wheel. The hardness of the wheel will determine how much grip the wheel will have.

A harder wheel will have more grip and be better for tricks that require a lot of stopping power, while a softer wheel will have less grip and be better for cruising and going fast.

Width

The width of the wheel is also an important factor to consider. The width of the wheel will determine how stable the wheel will be. A wider wheel will be more stable and better for cruising and going fast, while a narrower wheel will be less stable and better for tricks that require a lot of stopping power.

Bearings

Another factor to consider when choosing skateboarding wheels is the type of bearings that are used. The type of bearings that are used will determine how fast the wheel will spin and how long the wheel will last.

There are two types of bearings, standard bearings and ceramic bearings. Standard bearings are less expensive but don’t last as long, while ceramic bearings are more expensive but last longer.

Now that you know how to compare skateboarding wheels, it’s time to choose the right wheels for you. Consider the factors that we discussed, and make sure to select wheels that are the right size, hardness, and width and have the right type of bearings for you.

Final Say

In conclusion, Skateboard wheels are traditionally made from polyurethane, which is a durable and long-lasting material. However, there are other materials that can be used to make skateboard wheels, such as rubber or plastic.

The type of material that you choose for your skateboard wheels will depend on your personal preferences and the type of skating that you do.


Taylor Jensen

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