Precautions for Boiling Wheels to Remove Plastic Inserts

I’ll be boiling 4" wheels to remove the plastic inserts in them to replace them with metal shaft inserts. I’m doing this because one of the wheels on my bot right now has completely rounded out. I read some posts from 2013 which recommended boiling. I’m planning to use a big pot and boil until the adhesive looses sufficiently to remove the plastic inserts. I will then set them on a tray or blow dry them with a hair dryer.

My second option is to drill the insert out and then force the insert out with pliers, which worked earlier at the shop.
I could also use a heat gun at the shop. It has three settings. 180f, 600f, 800f.

Update: I did it, took about 30 minutes including drying them with a hairdryer on low - cool temperature. My tip is to use a prying tool and have a mallet or hammer and hs axle ready. One side will come off easily, but the other will fight you. I mangled an insert pretty badly.

Also, in the process of removing the inserts I noticed that the lip around the insert would be mangled badly, but once it was thrown back into the pot, it would reform seamlessly.


1 Like

That’s an interesting method. We have some wheels that have this same issue, I might try this or possibly just go at them with a plyers and a pry tool.

I just inserted a screw in one insert and a shaft on the other side. One or two hits on the shaft with a hammer popped the plastic insert out. Once one was out the HS shaft + a hammer worked. Not says anyone should do this just saying it worked for me.

Is VEX using better glue?

1 Like

Why are you boiling wheels to remove plastic inserts? Just grab a standard hex screwdriver and push the inserts out at an angle from inside the hole. Also there’s been a Q&A during the SS or ITZ year that ruled boiling wheels to be illegal, so I doubt it will be legal this year.


It was ruled an illegal part modification I believe

1 Like

Would someone mind linking to the Q&A? This seems to be a mechanical modification, not a chemical or functional one. (Which encompasses a lot of part-modification rules, albeit admittedly not all of them.) Getting rounded inserts out of the wheels in favor of Vex’s stronger ones seems like a good move to me, but if it’s illegal, then so be it.
The modification would not give any competitive advantage, although I’m not sure exactly which wheels are in question. (Part number, make and model, year, etc.) It would only allow for more use out of worn out parts.

But, this mindset could open a whole seperate can of worms.

I’ll do this tommorow before I leave for U.S. Open. Thanks

I tried this because I was previously drilling out the insert but was not physically strong enough to pull it out. Having the extra force of the hammer works.

I tried this method because I became frustuated by the stubornness of the insert. Your method is much better.