Sunday, August 19, 2012


Raw materials:
I had these two specific un-used items in my hoarder stash that I knew would go into this project. The wheelchair was very used when I got it (for next to nothing) on craigslist years ago. The hard rubber tires are yellowed and weathered, but the frame was sturdy and the bearings are in good shape. Weighs about 30 pounds. Rated for 300 pounds. I also had a Coleman brand captain's chair with a ripped back. It served us well on a decade of camping and fishing trips. I had originally planned on trying to fix it, but we have enough of these already.

When I started, I didn't have a plan. The wheelchair was a pain to take all the way apart. I left the wheels attached to each side of the frame, but I took the seat back and cushion off, leaving the two halves connected by two bars forming an "X" between them. I got those apart and was left with a whole mess of parts.

It was clear that the two "X" pieces would be used to brace the frame, but in a different configuration. Out comes the cut-off wheel on the Dremel. You can see the cuts I made. I placed the un-altered cross-member in frame for comparison. The piece can swivel by a somewhat tight-fitting piece of tube that fit the inside diameter of the frame and cross-member. Pulling it out was a genuine pain in the butt.

The other cross-member got chopped up even worse. I cut each end's tubular frame piece in half. This was so I could drill through the frame near the handles, and attach bolts through it to give the frame extra stiffness.

It was about this time that I decided to turn the trailer into a "bucket hauler" so the next part was to build a platform for said bucket. This is where the captain's chair came in. I turned a few screws counter-clockwise,  drilled out a dozen or so rivets, and had broken the chair down into a neat stack of useful steel tubes and a pile of canvas, plastic feet and busted rivets.  I had to chop the tubing to length, so again out came the dremel.  I drove six screws through the bottom of the blue tub and into these horizontal tubes.

I held everything together with machine screws and nuts I had laying around, but I ran out of hardware here. I needed to pick up more of the same, but I also had to whip up a hitch for the bike, too. I spent a few bucks on screws, nuts and a clevis pin. I used a piece of the chair tubing with a bend in it to get the tow bar away from the bike, otherwise right turns would be almost impossible.

To allow the bike to lean while turning, I attached the trailer to the bike with two thicknesses of tubing, and cut a pair of slots in the outer one so that the screw driven between them can swivel.

Here it is hooked up to Frank. One of the front wheels is missing on the original wheelchair because it was getting in the way of the tow bar.

Unhooked, the tow bar doesn't touch the ground. Not that it matters too much. With one front wheel, it probably won't stay upright with a load in the bucket.

It pulls like a dream, but I haven't taken it on a grocery run yet.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Pretty cool!

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