I built a prop that consists of a box with casters on the bottom. The bottom of the box is 1/4" plywood. The casters are attached with machine screws; the nut and top of the screw are hidden by fabric sewn to the inside of the box. The fabric does not have any way for me to remove it for easy access to the plywood board on the bottom of the box; it's sewn in.

One of the casters got tired of the abuse I put it to, and broke off. (The plate that attaches to the box is still fine, but I'm going to have to remove it.)

   |X|     nut
}}}}X{{{{  wood
   _X____  caster plate
   XXX     head of screw

How can I attach new casters to the bottom of this box without ripping out the fabric on the inside? I have some Molly bolts, but they're not good for attaching to 1/4" thick boards.

For reference, the box looks like this. You can just see one of the casters peeking out from under the missing legs on the left.

enter image description here

Can a replace these casters without having access to the inside of the box?

Usage: I drag this thing around city streets and buildings. It's following me via fishing line, which means that for most bumps, curbs, sidewalk seams, and doorjambs, I'm just walking forward and assuming the box will keep up.

  • 2
    PTerry's Luggage I assume ... ? – brhans Sep 6 '16 at 21:43
  • I would probably try plate mount caster with a good sized plate with a good epoxy first. – Comintern Sep 7 '16 at 3:16
  • @brhans, yes. It's part of my Rincewind & Twoflower costumes. – Paul Marshall Sep 7 '16 at 5:45
  • Can you find the shop where you bought it? ;) – Buzz Sep 9 '16 at 10:59

There's a thing called a T-Nut you can use, that has prongs and fits into a drilled hole. You could back it up with some epoxy if you're paranoid, since it can pull out from the inserted side if not pounded in. You're left with a threaded hole that you can put a rod-topped caster into, and it's a very strong connection.

enter image description here

You will want to match the threads on the t-nut to the threads on the caster.

  • 1
    The tee nut will only work if it can be driven in on the back side of the wood. Driven from the same side as the wheel, only the small prongs are available to keep it from falling out the first time the prop hits a crack in the sidewalk. – Ast Pace Sep 14 '16 at 17:24

A butterfly anchor (also called a toggle bolt) allows you to drill into the plywood and insert the toggle from the accessible side. Then tighten and the bolt will hold very tight. Enjoy!

  • Butterfly comes us with something that doesn't sound like this. Do you mean a toggle bolt? Perhaps its a regional thing. – Matt Sep 7 '16 at 18:53
  • @Matt A toggle bolt is also commonly referred to as a butterfly anchor. I clarified the post. – Robert Cartaino Sep 8 '16 at 12:39

I would use a caster wheel with a plate that you can screw to the bottom. First I would glue the plate to the bottom with strong construction kit and then add some screws for extra strength.enter image description here

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