Office Chair Thrust Bearing
Printable replacement ball bearing cage for a swivel chairFor your home
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The gas lift cylinder in my office chair fell apart (the rod protruded out of the bottom of the chair) because of a defective plastic piece in the thrust bearing that was supposed to allow the chair to swivel. Rather than order a whole new gas cylinder online, I simply 3D printed a stronger replacement part since all of the other components were still in good shape.
In most chairs, this bearing is under the removable, non-pressurized cover of the gas lift cylinder, making DIY repair easy and safe.
Materials and methods
- 1 printed bearing cage (I used ABS, but any hard plastic should work as long as your printer is dialed in and you use grease that’s safe for the plastic)
- the 5 bearing balls from the original bearing
- the 2 washers from the original bearing
- external washer and clip from the bottom of the office chair
- lithium or silicone grease (recommended)
- Flip the chair upside down, ideally on a soft surface to avoid scratches
- Remove the clip and external washer from the bottom of the lift cylinder (be sure to keep the washers organized as there are three different sizes involved)
- Carefully lift the bottom half of the chair (including the black metal cover of the gas cylinder) off of the top half
- Remove the parts of the thrust bearing from the end of the gas lift rod (1 larger washer, the bearing cage with balls, and 1 smaller washer). These may be stuck inside the bottom cover and need a long tool to remove.
- Remove the bearing balls from the original cage and insert them into the printed replacement (you may need pliers to squeeze the balls into the new cage)
- (optional, but recommended) Liberally apply grease to both sides of the new bearing cage, covering the inner and outer edges and the balls themselves
- Reassemble the chair the same way you disassembled it (if a thick rubber washer/bumper fell out of the cylinder, it should go back onto the rod before any of the bearing parts)
- Spin the chair around to test the repaired bearing. If there is any friction, you not have applied enough grease or there may be a defect on the printed piece from the printing process. In my case, the chair spun with even less friction than it did when new, even with my weight on it.
A diagram for how the assembly should look can be found here
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