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A project I finished today: wheelchair upgrade

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  • A project I finished today: wheelchair upgrade

    This is a couple of views of the footplate of a wheelchair that is used by a friend's son:

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    Note that the plate is attached to the frame at the rear of the plate closest to the seat. The plate is secured by just two 4mm screws, they are barely visible in the first photo. Now this is fine if the person who uses the chair has no use of their legs and the plate has only to support the partial weight of their legs and keep their feet from dragging on the ground. But surprise! not everyone who uses a wheelchair has the same issues. Imagine. Anyhow, the guy who uses this chair is over 6' tall and has a condition that sometimes can cause involuntary movements such that he presses down on the plate placing some considerable weight on it. Well after enough times of that happening, it sheared off the bolts.

    My friend called the supplier for the wheelchair, who came, looked at it, and said that they would get in touch with the manufacturer and get it repaired. That was last September, no kidding. So the poor woman was pushing her son around with his feet getting caught on the ground. When my wife heard about this, I was enlisted to see if there was something I could do.

    Knocking out the sheared off bolts and nuts was nothing nor was replacing them. Of course that does nothing to address the underlying issue. So I came up with this simple bar to transfer some of the load to the outer tubes on the frame.
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    The notches on the ends sit on the chair frame and the relieved part on the top is where the footplate sits.

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    While it was not a hard and fast requirement, I did not want to permanently alter the footplate to attach the bar. So I made this quick little die set to bend up some thin stainless fender washers to fit down in the slots in the footplate plate.
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    I squashed them down in the die set with a shop press. It worked really well considering that I had never tried that before and did not really know what I was doing. The three washers are fastened to the bar with 8-32 countersink head screws and they hold the bar very securely in place.



    This will hopefully be somewhat more robust than how it was before. Time will tell I guess.
    Last edited by alanganes; 03-04-2022, 07:45 PM.

  • #2
    And just a couple of additional views of the installed part.

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    • #3
      Good work. I'm sure the mom and kid are very appreciative!
      21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
      1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration

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      • #4
        Thank you for helping someone out, well done
        mark

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        • #5
          Great job, and very satisfying to do. In the UK we have a volunteer organization called REMAP which undertakes jobs like this for people. Is there anything similar in the States?

          George
          Last edited by Georgineer; 03-04-2022, 11:50 AM. Reason: typo

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          • #6
            Nice, I recently lowered the foot rest on my daughters wheel chair which was lathe work.

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            • #7
              Nice job!
              Love the washer squasher.
              I'm sure they are both grateful every time he gets in the chair and has his legs supported.
              Mike

              My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."

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              • #8
                It is a great feeling to have been able to help somebody, and well thought out engineering, congratulations.

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                • #9
                  Nice job! My dad had a heavy electric wheelchair and had trouble getting in and out. I fabricated a stainless ‘rollbar’ that attached to the frame near the front. With non slip grip material on the vertical part he could easily pull himself up and it gave him something to steady himself and swivel to get into bed. When people asked what it was for I told them it was rollbar for the nightly races to the dinner table.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Georgineer View Post
                    Great job, and very satisfying to do. In the UK we have a volunteer organization called REMAP which undertakes jobs like this for people. Is there anything similar in the States?

                    George
                    I presume that there are similar organizations like that around. This was a situation where the woman simply relied on the supplier of the chair which is fairly new and still under warranty. It was not even a matter of being able to pay for a repair, I'm pretty sure that she could have. But she called the supplier and they took a look at the thing and left it to the manufacturer to deal with. Which would have been fine except that here it is 6 months later and they have done nothing. I would have fixed it a long time ago if she had mentioned it to us.

                    Somewhat ironically, she happened to mention to the dealer that she had a friend (me) who was going to take a look at it for her. He warned her that if I altered it in any way that it "would void the warranty..." She was fine with me doing whatever I felt best. I told her to ask them how much the warranty had helped her thus far.

                    One of my sons used a wheelchair for 10 years or so, and I ran into this sort of nonsense some with his. It's pretty absurd and infuriating.

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                    • #11
                      Bravo Alan !!
                      It can be satisfying to use our years of accumulated home shop tools and
                      machinery to help someone in need.

                      Well thought out and made , again Bravo !!

                      Mike
                      Mike Green

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                      • #12
                        very slick and good on you for helping out a neighbour. I was going to ask how you did the washers and then I saw the little die set, very neat!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MotorradMike View Post
                          Nice job!
                          Love the washer squasher.
                          I'm sure they are both grateful every time he gets in the chair and has his legs supported.
                          Thanks MMike and everyone else who chimed in here. I liked doing the Washer Squasher ( I think that should be followed by "TM") myself. I had not ever attempted something like that before and it worked out just right, which was at least partly dumb luck.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MGREEN View Post
                            Bravo Alan !!
                            It can be satisfying to use our years of accumulated home shop tools and
                            machinery to help someone in need.

                            Well thought out and made , again Bravo !!

                            Mike
                            Thanks Mike. Indeed it always feels good. I like doing stuff like this when the opportunity arises. I even used my die filer to clean up some of the edges on the bar!

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                            • #15
                              I cannot believe what the factory overlooked there - the leverage on that piece "was" unreal but not anymore!

                              Great fix Alanganes and good on you for helping the family out...

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