Lightweight simple adjustable wheelchair design.

Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Messages
7
Location
Upstate,SC
I am going to be in a wheelchair soon. I've been looking and researching them. I can not for the life left in me understand why they are so expensive. Sure, a few like the Aria models (my fav) are carbon fiber and magnesium and made in Italy. They are $5000-$7000 and weigh around 18lbs/8.1kilos. I get that. How difficult would it be to design and build a simple "active life" style wheelchair in lighter weight steel tube, Chromoly, or even aluminum? Without getting into the sport models with heavily cambered wheels, they are pretty simple. I'll include a pic of my favorite model. The seat height, width, and footplate would need to be close. The footplate hoop could be made adjustable like a bicycle seat quick release. Standard lightweight casters could be used from 3 inches up to 8 or even 10. Most main wheels are 20-24 inches and cambered in up to 5 degrees to make it easier on the wrists when wheeling yourself around. The camber means you don't have to reach around the wheel to use the hand hoops. You simply push your hands down by your side to propel yourself. The wheel guards can be made out of 1/4 inch/6mm plywood door skin or even coroplast. It could be made to fold but in my case, a rigid chair would be fine. Most active life chairs are around 30 inches tall. That's easy to fit in the bed/tray of my small pick up/ute and it would be possible to put in my wife's Kia Soul should the need arise.

My fav. Wish it were in bright royal blue.



If I were a sporting man.


If I were and offroader.
 
Joined
Oct 19, 2012
Messages
862
Location
Wakefield, UK
Anything that appears made for disabled or handicapped folk seems to be ridiculously priced for no reason I can fathom. Ebay UK has more than a few pairs of both main wheels and castors for wheelchairs second-hand. Hopefully it's a similar position over there so you can build something more reasonably priced.
 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,599
Location
Nottinghamshire England
Are you going to build this yourself ?

Which bits do you see as having to be adjustable ?


regards Paul
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Messages
7
Location
Upstate,SC
Anything that appears made for disabled or handicapped folk seems to be ridiculously priced for no reason I can fathom. Ebay UK has more than a few pairs of both main wheels and castors for wheelchairs second-hand. Hopefully it's a similar position over there so you can build something more reasonably priced.
Used parts are just as crazy priced on Epay US and CA.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Messages
7
Location
Upstate,SC
Are you going to build this yourself ?

Which bits do you see as having to be adjustable ?


regards Paul
I'm considering it. The chairs I have looked at are between $3500 and $5000 US or 3100-4500 Euro. That's the low-end non-folding active daily chairs. They lure you in with what seems like a reasonably low price. Then you have to add options and customization to fit the chair to your measurements and requirements. So a $1000 chair becomes $3500-$5000.

Adjustability for me would be the footrest up and down, axle forward and rearward to tune center of gravity, wheel camber from 0 to 15 degrees negative for sports, and seatback adjustment both fore and aft as well as a little tilt. Also, having a seat back that can go up and down would be nice. I could raise it to mid-back level for daily activities and lower it when I need more upper body range of motion for more active activities. The chair below is purpose built for tenis and basketball but doesn't have the front bumper for basketball.

 
Joined
Feb 7, 2008
Messages
2,599
Location
Nottinghamshire England
If you are building this yourself [ unless you have hidden skills ] you will looking at using round steel tube and welding.

I would consider building one first as a prototype ?

Reduce the number of adjustable bits for the first one to the bare minimum [ they will all add weight ] and go for the simplest design you can come up with i.e least number of tubes/joints and made for what you see as it's majority use.

That should give you something to use , an idea how hard it will be built from scratch and a basis for a newer improved one.

It is far easier to use and consider improvements to an existing chair than sit staring at a blank sheet of paper.
Maybe if you build it yourself it will then make sense to have 2 or more for different situations.
 
Joined
Dec 10, 2015
Messages
7
Location
Upstate,SC
If you are building this yourself [ unless you have hidden skills ] you will looking at using round steel tube and welding.

I would consider building one first as a prototype ?

Reduce the number of adjustable bits for the first one to the bare minimum [ they will all add weight ] and go for the simplest design you can come up with i.e least number of tubes/joints and made for what you see as it's majority use.

That should give you something to use , an idea how hard it will be built from scratch and a basis for a newer improved one.

It is far easier to use and consider improvements to an existing chair than sit staring at a blank sheet of paper.
Maybe if you build it yourself it will then make sense to have 2 or more for different situations.
Yeah, I was thinking about using EMT(galvanized steel) conduit to make a prototype. Once I'm happy with the fit I can use whatever metal I want within reason. I can weld stainless steel, most other steals, and aluminum with my MIG welder. I do have experience with composites. MMMM, carbon fiber.:giggle: I have very limited experience with titanium and magnesium.

I found a good and very helpful video last night on getting fitted in a wheelchair.
 
Joined
Jan 16, 2011
Messages
263
Location
Vilvoorde / Flanders / Belgium
Yeah, I was thinking about using EMT(galvanized steel) conduit to make a prototype. Once I'm happy with the fit I can use whatever metal I want within reason. I can weld stainless steel, most other steals, and aluminum with my MIG welder. I do have experience with composites. MMMM, carbon fiber.:giggle: I have very limited experience with titanium and magnesium.

I found a good and very helpful video last night on getting fitted in a wheelchair.
I do have some experience welding titanium, and it's actualy a very nice metal to weld, once you learn about the foibles.
Main thing is to keep it in an atmosphere with no reactive elements. In other words, use gallons of argon, or weld in a glovebox, and make sure of the absense of reactive gasses. I use chilled pure argon to flood the welding area.
 
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