Yeah, it's just as a feared. No bearings.

Beneath the steel washer in the background was this bronze bushing. That explains why the roller idled so poorly. What to do? I suppose I could polish the axle and do some investigative work to find the best lubricant, or perhaps I should press in a ball bearing. Press it in where? Oh yeah, there's nowhere to press a bearing into.

OK, so do I turn a new roller all together with accommodations for bearings? (Sigh) Maybe.

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Belt Sander Racer Takes Flight at BSRA Race at '07 AWFS