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Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Enclosure, cage, nest box, building and enrichment ideas for any species.

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Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Tue Nov 24, 2015 10:39 pm

Apparently you can use chloroplast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MyhVpwz_r0
http://petdiys.com/diy-coroplast-cat-wheel/
Instructions for that but in Japanese, photos say it all though: http://df1.github.io/blog/2012/05/01/cat-wheel-diy/

Edit: this commercial wheel is actually made from coroplast/corrugated plastic, wow, and they charge a ton for what turns out to be cheap plastic and roller skate wheels. Maybe I'll use that instead. http://www.gocatwheel.net/

This guy used sonotube(concrete forms) to make a cat wheel. I found it because I was thinking of this. Pre-made in wheel shape and you can buy any size you might need: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9p95dcBXZOM
How he did it:
A Sonotube 36" (mason's supplies), cut to 1' wide, carpet, 16 rollerblade bearings set in pairs on the inside of the outer ring, 2 long plastic strips bent at the right angle (lowes), two strips of 1" wide brown dense cardboard-like sheets (lowes) for guides, wrapped around the outside of inner ring. I wish I could find 38" sonotube for the outer ring, but as it was I had to cut the outer sonotube and spread it about 8" apart, to be able to fit the inside ring with 1" to spare for the bearings.

Thick plywood (7 layers) for the stand, screws, dowels for the bearings, glue gun. The inside ring is made 2" wider than the outside (using the carpet), to prevent cat paws from grabbing onto the stationary pieces. It's important to place 2 sets of bearings at the very top because cats like to sit on top of the wheel. I have pictures I can share, they used to be on my web site but I got hacked and spammed, so it is currently down.

circle, cut the outer ring to extend its radius by 2", screw it in with any screws long enough, attach the 8 pairs of bearings, glue in the carpet (I used a very sticky double-sided tape that was a millimeter thick with tiny wire mesh embedded in it), glue the carpet around and you are done. Mike P.S. I couldn't find 38" Sonotube, that is why I bought 36" and constructed the whole thing by cutting the outer ring.

The bearings are attached to the outer ring. I used 1' wooden dowels to glue them in place, one bearing on each side, with cut-out. Plastic (and heavy cardboard) prevents the inner ring from wiggling side to side. Basically the pair of them makes the railing within which the inner ring rotates; sort of locked as a large bearing. Please be sure to make the inner ring larger by about 2" then the outer one. Cut out both sides of the foundation with 38" wide


One site I found has the snonotube for less than $30 per foot for the 30" Shipping is pricey though due to size. If you can find a cheap local place this seems a good option, except they may make you buy a whole tube which are several feet, maybe make wheels for your friends too, or use the extra for other pet furniture and enrichment projects.

I'm thinking to TRY a different idea with no wheels used. I'll paint it a smooth durable paint and then mount high quality furniture movers in the base for it to slide on. It'll just need a rim to keep it from sliding off. Then use silicon spray lubricant to make it even slipperier. Should be quieter too, if it works. It will be more like this but maybe just rim on the base part rather than rim the whole wheel, that's harder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpdeJeCCe54

Once you know the basics you can get fancy with it if you want: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzF2yU5yzDs

Or real cheap make a wheel from a kiddy pool but depending on your pet you may not be able to find the size you want. I love his self adhesive cork mat idea for the footing material: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDR0920HcIY

Then if you don't mind it not being round: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZaVZg3VFIY

This is typical wood one but using a castor. Castor does seem quieter than all the wheel ones: http://stitchesnsews.blogspot.com/2013/ ... wheel.html

Or this wood one but you don't want holes in it like they did: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEdnCGfoHkM#t=1586

And this is pretty: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/59777
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:20 am

ImageWorking on exercise wheel by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

Decided to use the old Corrugated plastic I had laying around but it was a bit short. I attached two pieces to make it feet with steel putty epoxy. It worked perfectly. Connecting the two ends for a circle was a bit harder. Screws holding together one side of the tubing. Vinyl tape for looks and to cover the roughness of the old plastic.

ImageWorking on exercise wheel by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

Looks great but was actually a fail. The tubing I got was too soft and actually made it sag instead of help hold it's shape as instead. So I am now using a second layer of C plastic with seams not lined up and it is working great to hold a circular shape much better instead of sagging into a oval. But now there are screw hold left with the tube removed and am thinking to buy silver outer liner instead since I have some silver spray paint I could use on the ramps wood I got then cage will be a theme of black and silver highlights.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby Ash » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:53 am

Thanks for those links. I can't wait to see how yours turns out in comparison to theirs. :)
3 red fox, 4 iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, 2 salamanders, tarantula
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:14 am

No problem. A lot of exotics could probably benefit from wheels. If they are cat sized or larger there are a couple options now that aren't super expensive but if they aren't making one(or having one custom made) is still the only option, not counting pocket pets who already have plenty of commercial wheels.

Mine will have to have a bit of rim on the base to keep the wheel from sliding off the other wheels since that was the secondary function of the tubing. I might go with more black on the base for contrast.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:54 pm

See your exotic does need an exercise wheel
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... cation=ufi
Image

If I could go back in time I'd have had one and trained the anteaters to it from young since they love to run.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:31 am

So I got a big piece of coroplast or equivalent off brand stuff at homedepot today. I thought I was going to have him cut it for me but he said the wood saw would make chewed up edges. So I had to fit the whole thing in the SUV. It's 96"x48" so way more than I need but that's what they had. I gave an older couple a good laugh watching me try to get it in there but I figured it out.

Putting a shorter piece on a longer piece of the old stuff I had here failed cuz of physics. Since not one solid piece no matter how well joined the short piece got more force on it so it refused to make a perfect circle. But joining one long solid piece does that fine long as joined well as I did that with the shorter pieces here but that's not big enough. Of course I forgot to get anything for joining it while there so will either need to order or buy it at the little local store.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:04 pm

So I guess I didn't have to trash the other one it does still settle a bit oblong but not as much. So I had to make rims. Being I seem to suck at this stuff, lol, adding the rims made it to big for the space, ha. My options are to trim the rim shroter but to do that will need to take the bolt cutter to the metal supports cuz they ate too long or remove it all and buy the right tubing instead. Both a lot of work. I think I'll try just cutting it first once I get my energy back from recent events.

ImagePutting the wheel together by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

did not like this plastic weld as much a the metal. Use metal, for everything. That stuff's awesome just have to let it sit over night though, had to with this plastic stuff too and it still wasn't great. Tried filing the lump down some and it softened it.

ImagePutting the wheel together by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

Used metal connectors like before but on outside and removed after the weld was set.

ImageMaking rims by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

ImageMaking the most of the plastic by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

ImageConnecting the rims by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

ImageDecorating the rims by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

ImageDecorating the rims by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

ImageFinished but failed by TamanduaGirl, on Flickr

The cork didn't actually stick well the the bit of side over night so will be removing the cork sides so it's back rim with a silver line then just cork footing.

PS did use 2 layers of plastic for the wheel it just feels sturdier that way.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:51 pm

Well got it done. The video is before I put the finishing touches of tape back on the rims. I didn't have to cut the metal I just cut down to the metal supports and it fits. Had to put the wheels on the blocks to raise them up to pace them wider for more stability so just need to fit those down on the cage floor. Not as pretty as could b but works. It doesn't look smooth but feels it. If it works I may upgrade eventually and use the snotube instead as it will be a nice circle already. Oh, put furniture sliders on the outside of the wheel so the metal part wasn't rubbing the rim.
Image
I stuck poor Beaker in it and with a bribe of cheese got him to take a step and it move and freaked him out, ha.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby Ana » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:43 pm

This is so tempting, but it looks difficult. I'm afraid of investing the time and money and then nobody wanting to use it, or being afraid of it, or breaking it instead of using it in the way it's intended! How does the interior seam feel when you run your finger over it? Can it be COMPLETELY smooth? My kids love to pick seams, DAMNIT.

If you could go back in time to before you did this, what would you do differently? Do you think it'll get the use to justify the work and cost?
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:17 am

Well the seam of the plastic is covered by the cork board adhesive lining but they could for sure pick at the cork lining. You might need something else for grip for them. Or for a coon it might work to put wood bars screwed down, since they have gripping hands then you could just put a bar over the plastic seem.

As I said if I were to do it over or again I would try to find a length of snotube(concrete tube) to use instead. That was my first idea but the plastic was easier to get since at home depot. And actually even if you had to by a larger length of snotube, if you have a place to store the extra you would have easy replacements if they do destroy it. Though if you have to buy a whole length then buying a cat wheel might just be more economical. The plastic was a cheap way of doing it but the tube would be easier and nicer when done. Also would probably hold up better to a coon. Mine is just for a tiny fennec. If Beaker or the cat wanted it would be okay for them but coons are a lot heavier and it would be easy for them to pick up and toss around and mess with. The snotubes are a bit heavier and a lot more durable. There is a bit of a seam issue with those but might be okay if you found the right lining to cover it.

Training adults to use it can be harder. As With Beaker and my anteaters they tend to freak out about the "floor" moving under them. If I have future anteaters though I'll either make or buy one for them and start them young, the fennec one would be okay for a young tamandua but the adults would at least need a wider if not bigger diameter. It's not impossible to train an adult though, at least with cats, Most can be talked into it slowly with toys and treats. you might need to do just a baby step at a time at first though.

You can buy a cat wheel for under $300 on Amazon now but making one is still cheaper but you might find it worth it to avoid the labor. Coroplast 48 in. x 96 in. x 0.157 in.right now at my home depot is under $16, plus buying the wheels and I didn't use the tubing for rims since used the extra plastic then under $20 or so each for the inner and out linings. So around $100-ish oh that was rounded but there was still some screw, epoxy and the metal angles for the rim supports so 100+ ish Under 150 though but then there's your own time personal labor costs to figure but that's an individual thing.

I had to make one though since fennecs need a smaller wheel than for cats. I suppose it might be able to use it but the 48" catwheels would just be overkill for a tiny fennec. I would think raccoons would find a cat wheel about right? They do have a couple larger dog wheels too but those are a lot more expensive.

For me making the circle/tube part was the hardest so buying the concrete tube would save a lot of the hassle. Then you could still use the garden/pvc/ect tubing for the rms or cut them from plastic or wood if you like the look better but tubing of some sort is probably cheaper and easier. You would just want tubing large enough to help keep it on the wheels then run srews from the inside into the tubing on the outside. Or you could go rimless but then you'd need to make a base that would hold it on the wheels, which could be a bit more difficult.

Other changes, would just spray paint the outside. The vinyl lining was impossible to get on smoothly.
And would probably buy larger wheels as that might be a bit more stable but elevating them to space them farther apart worked fine and I have space issues so not sure.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby Ana » Sat Feb 13, 2016 12:37 am

I was thinking of apple cider barrels, or pickle barrels, which I think are running 15$-ish per around
here. The finger picking, the weight considerations of tubby coon butts, it's maybe a little more complicated, but the cost is low enough to experiment a bit! Thank you for the details!
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:30 am

Well I don't know their diameters but that sounds like it could be good. I thought about 55 gallon drums but they seemed too small, only about 22-23" But I'm not sure. It's a bit hard to say for sure without a fennec her to check it.

I just stuck Beaker in the wheel to model again. He was sure evil was happening. But it looks like it would be okay for his size so maybe coulda gone smaller for a fennec after all.
Image
You can see I just over lapped the lining but you could make it flush and maybe put smooth tape over it or something.

They say the cat wheels are 48" so their backs don't bend running on it but Beaker is cat size 10+ pounds or so, he fluctuates a bit, and looks like it would be okay to me. You'll just have to see how it fits your guys.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby Ana » Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:45 am

How about taking 2 55 gallon drums (or similar whatever) and cutting them into slices of maybe 15 inch width.
Then cutting down the sides of the slices, making a 'C'. So you wind up with 4 C's, giving you an inner and outer
layer/ring. The seams could be on opposing sides, then riveted into place (hand riveter run you about 10$)

You could use the leftover plastic strips to make traction inside, though I'd be tempted to adhere some carpet.
Does this sound feasible?
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:43 pm

Not sure exactly what you mean. If you mean layering them like I did the plastic you probably could but you would need to cut some off the ends of each C to for the inside parts to make it fit inside as it would need to be a smaller circle to fit inside the others and by cutting it you'd actually have a bit of an oval but probably not enough to make a big difference.

But if you're unsure of what I was saying before, diameter is the length across the middle of the circle from one side to the other. For a wheel the inside matter for comfort, the outside diameter matters only for where you have to put it.. If you were trying to put the 4 C's together to make a bigger diameter you'd wind up with something sorta 4 leaf clover shaped.

a 55 gallon drum would make a nice place to sleep if cut down but considering a coons size would be too small for comfortable running.
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Re: Make your larger pet an exercise wheel

Postby TamanduaGirl » Mon Feb 15, 2016 3:08 pm

Corrugated plastic(used an old sign) to make a wheel but you can see how it's a bit awkward when small for the animal like this
https://www.facebook.com/richard.t.burr ... 861648869/

Looks like he used hardware cloth for this one for the wheel, you don't see the wheel till later but you do get to see some other dillo enrichment of nest building while waiting. https://www.facebook.com/richard.t.burr ... 231690832/

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