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Thread: Installing Casters

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    Installing Casters

    Got my new Fender Twin Reverb LE Custom amp yesterday. The ad said it was 42lbs... Nope... it's 64lbs. I'm 70 years old and I can move it around fine with a dolly. Has anyone here installed casters on an amp before? Any suggestions about it before I start? I saw some casters displayed on the wall at GC but I'd rather be sure of quality before I buy any. I don't want el-cheapo hardware on a $1500 piece of equipment. Thanks in advance for all your input....

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    Senior Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    Fender offers casters and the snap-in socket for these amps. you can find them at Antique Electronic Supply...P/N P-HW015 for each caster & socket. Once the mounting holes are drilled in and the mtg screws installed, the casters 'snap' into the socket, so they can be removed. Or, you could have a cradle made using better fixed casters on it, so the amp sits into the cradle, and no modifications req'd to the amp. I'd probably go that way if it were me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nevetslab View Post
    Fender offers casters and the snap-in socket for these amps. you can find them at Antique Electronic Supply...P/N P-HW015 for each caster & socket. Once the mounting holes are drilled in and the mtg screws installed, the casters 'snap' into the socket, so they can be removed. Or, you could have a cradle made using better fixed casters on it, so the amp sits into the cradle, and no modifications req'd to the amp. I'd probably go that way if it were me.
    I'll research the "cradle" option...is that offered by Fender also? ... thanks nevetslab

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    Senior Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    No...the 'cradle' option is a DIY shop project, or something that could be built by a local cabinet shop....piece of plywood cut a bit larger than the base of the Twin, and add a lip around it to 'cradle' the amp, and then fixed casters mounted to it using 1/4" T-Nuts, 1/4-20 bolts, nuts & washers to secure them. Sanded, coated in some finish or painted as desired.

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    He says cradle, I call it a wheel board. Harbor Freight calls it a dolly. Buy one or make one.

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    I prefer to use a wheel board, because I don't need to make holes in my amp cab, and I can set the amp on the floor with no wheels to rattle. Plus once the amp is moved, I can use the wheel board to move something else too.

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    I'll check out Harbor Freight, thanks

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    Old Timer Tom Phillips's Avatar
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    Larry,
    When my customers ask about wheels for their amp I recommend that they get a folding dolly and a heavy duty cinch strap to hold the amp securely on the dolly. The advantage is that the amp gets a smoother ride, the wheels are not permanent and are taken away when the amp is on the stage, you can hop curbs & even climb stairs, you can strap additional stuff to the dolly on top of the amp and you can use the dolly to move other equipment after you are done moving the amp. The dolly with the amp strapped on is also safer than casters for an amp with a high center of gravity such as a Super Reverb. (I've seen many caster equipped Supers that fell over when being moved or just bumped on stage) A caster ride across old pavement in a parking lot is pretty rough on a tube amp due to the high vibration level transmitted to the tubes.

    One example of a folding dolly is at https://www.amazon.com/Vergo-S300BT-.../dp/B00UBWJDZU
    Of course, you could use a standard non-folding dolly with nice pneumatic tires if you had the space to carry it around.

    Cheers,
    Tom

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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    The Fender Field Guide says that my vintage SFTR weighs in at 69 lb. Mine has EV speakers in it, so it easily has to weigh 80 lb. I understand why you're asking for advice.

    I have multiple big Fender amps -- several Twin Reverbs, several Super Twin Reverbs, Super Reverbs and Bassman 10 conversions. I have casters on *ALL* of those amps. I wouldn't consider not having casters on them.

    Years ago I spent my college summers working as a professional in-house furniture mover at one of the Chicago skyscraper office buildings in The Loop. We had perfected the art of tipping full filing cabinets, bookcases and other heavy things like executive desks, credenzas and office furniture onto furniture dollies for moving them about the building. Furniture dollies are great when you're moving something along a stable, smooth and regular surface like a marble floor, but they're not so good at navigating streets, sidewalks and any other sort of uneven terrain that involves seams... like getting onto a freight elevator or running up a ramp into a truck. In that sort of environment a mover's dolly becomes pretty worthless because the wheels jam into the irregularities of the surface, and the load typically shifts off of the dolly if it isn't strapped down. Snap-in casters are *much* more stable, because the wheels aren't likely to become separated from the load because they're anchored by screws.

    In the big scheme of things, fixed casters are *great* indoors, bur they are only so good when it comes to moving an amp outdoors. The small wheel diameters on Fender casters makes them susceptible to getting caught in cracks in the sidewalk seams. In that type of environment a hand truck, or better yet, an appliance dolly is the best solution. The larger the wheel size the better.

    Being a bass player I've had to move a lot of refrigerator sized cabinets, either 810 or 215 setups. For those, nothing beats a refrigerator appliance dolly with the ratcheting strap. The integrated stair-climbing apparatus is particularly helpful if you need to move something heavy while climbing stairs. For a Twin Reverb, a folding hand cart with a strap should be good enough.

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    Last edited by bob p; 03-01-2018 at 06:04 AM.
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    Better Tone thru Mathematics bob p's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nevetslab View Post
    Or, you could have a cradle made using better fixed casters on it, so the amp sits into the cradle, and no modifications req'd to the amp. I'd probably go that way if it were me.
    For short amps like the Twin Reverbs, I think the Fender snap-in casters work best. They're a quick and dirty solution that works well.

    For the tall amps like the Bassman 10 and the Super Reverbs, they can be a bit top-heavy. I have casters on mine but I don't particularly like them -- I have to be particularly careful about how the wheels are oriented before I leave them somewhere, because the front-back spacing of the wheels isn't that far apart relative to their height. If the wheels end up pointing at each other the amps can tip over easily, so I have to turn the wheels away from each other front-back to give the amp a wider footprint. Some type of clamp-on cradle is particularly appealing for those amps, as you could design it so that the front-back spacing of the wheels is farther apart than the amp is deep; having wheels in front of the amp and behind it would add tip-over stability as you clamp the amp to the cradle.

    Leo once suggested using the Fender piggyback fasteners on the bottom of the amp to connect it to the cradle. I thought that was a brilliant idea.

    The nice thing about casters is that they're great for moving the amp around inside of the house, they don't take up space and they don't prevent you from using the folding dolly that Tom suggested when you have to take the amp somewhere.

    Having casters on stage has never bothered me.

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    "Stand back, I'm holding a calculator." - chinrest

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    The snap in casters require the big holes for the shaft cups. Just make sure when you drill them that you are not drilling up into the edge of the baffle board.

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    Senior Member nevetslab's Avatar
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    Fender Twin Reverb sitting in castor cradle

    Having gone over to our rental dept to find a Fender Twin in a close-fitting road case, I pulled the cover off, leaving the amp sitting in the bottom fitted dolly portion of the case...what I'm referring to as a cradle. This is for concept. Disregard this being a road case, with all the latches, case valences, foam lining and such, and instead envision a piece of 3/4" Plywood, with say 1-1/2" pine lips around the perimeter, and four fixed casters mounted to the base. Amp sits within the cradle dolly

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    Lifetime Member Enzo's Avatar
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    So your wheel board has low side walls then.

    Or one could route out wells for the feet if this is only used on the one amp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Phillips View Post
    Larry,
    When my customers ask about wheels for their amp I recommend that they get a folding dolly and a heavy duty cinch strap to hold the amp securely on the dolly. The advantage is that the amp gets a smoother ride, the wheels are not permanent and are taken away when the amp is on the stage, you can hop curbs & even climb stairs, you can strap additional stuff to the dolly on top of the amp and you can use the dolly to move other equipment after you are done moving the amp. The dolly with the amp strapped on is also safer than casters for an amp with a high center of gravity such as a Super Reverb. (I've seen many caster equipped Supers that fell over when being moved or just bumped on stage) A caster ride across old pavement in a parking lot is pretty rough on a tube amp due to the high vibration level transmitted to the tubes.

    One example of a folding dolly is at https://www.amazon.com/Vergo-S300BT-.../dp/B00UBWJDZU
    Of course, you could use a standard non-folding dolly with nice pneumatic tires if you had the space to carry it around.

    Cheers,
    Tom
    Thanks Tom, I have a similar folding dolly like the one you recommend and I've decided that's the way to go. The more I thought about it the more I was sway against installing casters. Mainly I just didn't want to alter my amp in any way to begin with. Thanks for your input...it re-enforced my thoughts on the whole project!

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