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Design Choices for Wheelchairs

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HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 64: Decisions About Special Seats and Wheelchairs > Design Choices for Wheelchairs


WHEEL SIZE AND POSITION

2 BIG WHEELS with 1 or 2 small caster wheels DESIGN DETAILS
A wheelchair with large front wheel and small back wheel, another with small front wheel and large back wheel.
INDOOR
OUTDOOR
one or 2 rear wheels
Rear wheel set back to avoid tipping backward on slopes
Child’s weight should be mostly over big wheels.
  • Large wheels let rider push herself.
  • Small caster wheels allow easy turns (on cement, not sand).
Girl without legs wheeling a chair with a large wheel further back in the chair.
  • For leg amputees, rear wheels must be moved back to prevent tipping over backward.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • Child can move it herself if she has hand and arm control.
  • Large wheels go over rough surfaces easier.
  • takes up more space
  • harder to get in and out of from the side (because wheels need to be higher than seat so that rider can push herself)
4 SMALL WHEELS DESIGN DETAILS
Chair with small wheels, caster.
casters for easier turning
Very simple temporary chairs can be made by putting 4 wheels on an ordinary wood chair.
Two wheels attached to a bar to make a wheelchair. Arrows indicating what things are.
chair leg
pin
rod
wheels
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • good only on smooth floors for a child who cannot push or help push his own chair
  • cheaper
  • takes up less space
  • easier to move child in and out of.
  • not good on rough surfaces
  • Child cannot move it herself.
  • creates dependency
3 BIG WHEELS DESIGN DETAILS
Wheel chair made of three bicycle tires, with handles.
hand crank and steering

  • You can use 3 bicycle wheels.
  • Some models have removable front wheels so that chair can be easily changed to have small front wheels for use inside the home.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • excellent for long distance and rough road travel
  • can be used by a person with strength in one hand only
  • too big for use inside home
  • more costly
  • more difficult to make




BUILDING MATERIAL FOR FRAME

STEEL TUBE DESIGN DETAILS
  • Thin-walled electrical conduit tubing can be used — ⅝ inch to 1 inch diameter.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
A strong, long-lasting, fairly light chair can be made better and cheaper than most commercial chairs.
  • requires welding skills, some design ability, and a fair amount of equipment
  • a good chair for a well-equipped rehabilitation center workshop to build, but not a family
  • builders need to be trained
WOOD DESIGN DETAILS

Girl sitting on wheelchair with wooden structure.

Healthlink Worldwide model

For wood design details, see "Health Link Wood Wheel Chair" and "Plywood Frame Wheel Chair" and references.

wood chair model design


Sideview of the wooden wheelchair model.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • relatively cheap and easy to make—mostly wood, few or no welds
  • easy to adapt and to add special supports or tray tables plywood model design

    Wheel chair made out of wood.
  • May not be as stable and long-lasting as other models.
(For tighter joints and more adaptability, use nuts and bolts instead of nails.)
RE-BAR (metal reinforcing rod used to strengthen cement) DESIGN DETAILS
re-bar wheelchair with woven plastic as the back and seat.
woven plastic seat and back
footrest slides in and out
Design can be the same as for metal tube chairs, but it is easier to adapt because the re-bar is easy to bend.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • relatively cheap
  • easier to bend and weld than steel tubing
  • can have plastic woven seat and back (easy to clean)
  • especially good for small chairs
  • A heavy person or rough treatment may bend it out of shape.
  • fairly heavy
PVC PIPE (plastic water pipe) DESIGN DETAILS
PVC pie wheelchair.
  • Use 15 mm PVC pipe.
  • comes with joints so that it can be fitted together with a special glue
  • For details see reference.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • lightweight
  • can be built mostly by glueing pieces together
  • costly materials (around $100 US)
  • Plastic tubing will in time sag or bend in the direction of stress.
    Therefore it may be necessary to fiberglass the frame— which adds to cost, work, and weight.


SEATS AND BACKS

SOFT CANVAS OR LEATHER STRETCHED BETWEEN SUPPORTS DESIGN DETAILS
wheelchair with soft canvas or leather seat and back.
  • For child who is likely to pee or shit in the chair, use a cloth that is easy to wash.
  • Plastic-coated canvas makes cleaning easy but is hot and may irritate child’s bottom. Best to use an absorbent washable pad over it.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • easiest seating and back design for folding wheelchairs
  • Adjustment to shape of butt gives comfort (but cushion is needed to protect against pressure sores).
  • Curving back may help keep child from falling sideways.
sad child slumped in wheelchair.
  • Soft, curving back lets child bend in an unhealthy position.
  • hard to attach positioning aids
  • In children with spasticity or muscle imbalance, this may increase the risk of developing knockknee contractures.
FIRM (BUT PADDED) BACK AND SEAT DESIGN DETAILS
wheelchair with firm upright back and seat both with padding on them.
other possibilities for use under cushion
metal slats
wood slats
  • Use wood or thin plywood.
  • Special designs allow a wood seat to swing up for folding.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
happy child sitting in wheelchair with a head support attachment.
  • Wood seat and back allow easy addition of supports and adaptations.
  • Firm wood back and seat help child sit with back straight and knees apart (especially important for children with spasticity).
  • may be less comfortable
  • without cushion may cause pressure sores in child with no feeling in his butt
  • heavier
  • difficult or impossible to fold the chair
WOVEN SEAT AND BACK DESIGN DETAILS
seat and back of chair made out of inner tube.
strips of old inner tube stretched tight
  • Use natural basket fibers, reeds, or rattan,
  • or use plastic webbing,
  • or use tightly stretched strips of car inner tube.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • An open weave is cooler in hot weather.
  • Plastic or rubber woven seats can be easily washed. Can be used as a chair to bathe in.
  • must be kept stretched tight; not useful on folding chairs
  • may not last long if material is not strong
  • same sag problems as with canvas or leather


TIRES

PUMP-UP WITH AIR 'BALLOON' TIRES DESIGN DETAILS
bicycle tire and pump.
  • Bicycle tires and tubes work well for the large wheels—20 inch (51 cm.), 24 inch (61 cm.), or 26 inch (66 cm ), wide or narrow.
    Puncture-proof inner liners may be available.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • softer ride
  • easy to replace
  • wide tires good for sand and rough ground
  • narrow tires better on smooth, paved roads
DVC Ch64 Page 595-4.png
  • Puncture (hole in tire) may occur— especially on rough roads.
  • more costly than some other tires
  • wears out sooner than solid tires
SOLID TIRES (standard wheelchair wheels) DESIGN DETAILS
a solid tire.
Buy from wheelchair supply center to fit diameter and width of rim.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • no flat tires
  • good for speed on very smooth surfaces
  • costly
  • hard to replace
  • very hard, bumpy ride on rough surfaces
  • very narrow—sinks into sand
RUBBER HOSE INSIDE BICYCLE TIRE DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 596-3.png
  • Overlap ends and cut at 45° angle
  • Fit hose into tire.
person pushing hose into tire ring.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • no flat tires
  • softer ride than with solid tire
  • cheap
  • Flattening of tire where it touches ground means it moves slower, and is harder to push.
THIN STRIP OF OLD CAR TIRE DESIGN DETAILS
person cutting a strip out of an old car tire.
  • Cut strip in wedge shape to fit rim.
  • Wire ends together
tire strip fit into the tire rim with ends wired together.
Wire ends together.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • no cost
  • long-lasting
bolt head is below the line of the outer tire edge.
Sink bolt head,
and/or bolt the ends.
  • bumpy ride
  • difficult to fit well on rim and to fasten ends firmly
LARGE MACHINERY FANBELT
discarded
DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 596-8.png
  • Use old power belts or fan belts from industrial machinery or tractors. Cut to fit and wire ends together.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • no cost
  • long-lasting
  • wedged to fit wedge rim
  • bumpy ride
  • difficult to fit
  • may be hard to find at the right width
PIECE OF OLD BICYCLE OR SCOOTER TIRE DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 596-9.png
DVC Ch64 Page 596-10.png
  • used for middle-sized or small wood wheels
  • Notch edges, glue, and nail to wheel.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • cheap
  • If heavy tire is used it may last a long time.
  • Protects edge of wood wheel
  • hard, bumpy ride (but softer than on wood wheel alone)
  • may tear off

BIG WHEELS

STANDARD FACTORY-MADE WHEELCHAIR WHEELS DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 596-11.png
  • Buy to fit chair.
  • available from wheelchair dealers
  • 24 inch (61 cm.) or 26 inch (66 cm.) rims for adults
  • 20 inch (51 cm.) rims for small children (may be hard to find)
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • little work needed (if they are bought to fit standard hubs)
  • May come fitted with hand push rim.
  • costly
  • may be hard to find
  • wide-wheeled models often not available
  • may not hold up on rough ground
  • poor quality bearings
BICYCLE WHEELS (rims and spokes) DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 596-12.png
  • For children, standard thickness spokes may be enough.
  • For large persons, heavy-duty spokes may be needed.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • less costly than standard wheelchair wheels
  • available in different sizes and widths
  • Putting on and lining up spokes takes time and skill.
  • axles weak (but stronger ones can be adapted)
BICYCLE RIMS WITH WOODEN SPOKES DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 596-13.png
DVC Ch64 Page 596-14.png
  • notched wood crosspieces on a triangular wood base can be greased and used as the hub
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • no need to know how to fit spokes
  • works with wood hub
  • Rim may easily get bent—especially on rough roads.
  • hard to line up evenly
  • Hub wears out easily.
WOOD WHEELS — big or small DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 597-1.png
  • Use boards or plywood.
  • To avoid splitting, screw and glue 2 layers together with grain running in opposite directions.
  • Cut notch in rim to hold solid tire.
tire fitted into rim notch.
tire
edge of wheel
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • relatively cheap
  • little skill required— mostly carpentry
  • works with wood axles
  • heavy-duty bearing can be added
  • often heavy
  • may not hold up long—especially in wet climate or mud (Keeping wood oil-soaked helps them last. Use old engine oil.)



CASTERS AND WHEELS

STANDART WHEELCHAIR CASTER WHEELS DESIGN DETAILS
(Caster means that the wheel can swing in different directions for making turns.)
DVC Ch64 Page 597-3.png
  • Casters come with hard or balloon tires in many sizes, weights, styles, and prices.
    If possible, get (or make) casters with ball bearings.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • little work to attach— especially if standard mount and bearings are used
  • usually very costly
  • may not be locally available
CASTERS FROM OTHER (non-wheelchair) EQUIPMENT (used or new) DESIGN DETAILS
caster wheelwith flat top, caster wheel mounted to side plate, caster wheel with point.
for mounting on wood frame
DVC Ch64 Page 597-5.png
caster welded to metal plate for screwing to wood





DVC Ch64 Page 597-6.png
for mounting into metal tube frame
  • Use 3 inch to 6 inch wheels.
  • larger, wider wheels for rough ground
  • Be sure bearings are strong enough and in good condition.
  • Drill holes in rubber wheels to make them weigh less.
DVC Ch64 Page 597-7.png
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • less costly (especially if not new)
  • often full wheel and caster bearings come with them
  • Poor quality casters make wheelchair much harder and more awkward to use.
  • Hard-rubber casters make a bumpy ride.
  • Some used casters are too weak.
BENT AND WLDED STEEL CASTER FORKS DESIGN DETAILS
components of a caster fork.
30° angle
bolt
strong bronze weld
holes to make fork weigh less
hole sized to fit axle
  • Choose bolt width to fit bearings.
  • A bent steel tube can be used instead of a metal band.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • less costly than factory-made casters
  • strong (if well made)
  • needs special equipment (bending jig) and welding skills



HUBS, BEARINGS, AND AXLES

STANDARD WHEELCHAIR BEARINGS DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 597-9.png
ball bearings
DVC Ch64 Page 597-10.png
ball bearings at each end of hub
axle
hub
  • A standard wheelchair uses 12 bearings: 2 for each wheel axle and 2 for each upright caster bearing.
  • How a ball bearing works:
axle with wheel moving whit ball bearings.
axle does not move
turning wheel
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • These bearings come as part of standard wheelchair hubs and wheels.
  • Most factory-built wheelchairs have unusual sized axles and therefore must be fit with special wheelchair bearings.
  • Bearings on most factory-built chairs are costly, of poor quality, and wear out quickly.
  • Unusual hub size makes it hard to replace commercial wheelchair bearings with other standard machine bearings.
BICYCLE BEARINGS AND AXLES DESIGN DETAILS
components of a center wheel axle.

front wheel axle
hub
axle
For mounting alternatives, see wheelchair designs "Design Choices for Wheelchairs" and "Health Link Wood Wheel Chair". Also, see the Healthlink Worldwide Manual.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • cheap — especially if old bicycles are used
  • easy to get
  • can be used with complete bicycle wheels
  • Axle is too weak to be supported by one end only (except in a small child’s wheelchair).
REAR BICYCLE WHEEL AXLE AND BEARINGS DESIGN DETAILS
hub attaqched to metal plate
metal plate attached to wheelchair frame.
DVC Ch64 Page 598-3.png
hub
metal plate
wheelchair frame
  • First take free-wheel mechanism apart and remove ratchets.
ratchets on either side of the the free wheel mechanism.
  • Then attach hub to a metal plate as shown and spot weld it.
  • Other methods for one-end axle support are in the Healthlink Manual.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • Allows axles to be attached by one end only.
  • Needs fairly skilled work and welding.
  • heavy
USED MACHINERY BEARINGS DESIGN DETAILS
components of machinery bearings.


thin metal pipe
⅝" bolt
holes for spokes
narrower tube to hold bearings apart
bearing
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • no need to adjust, grease, or clean
  • usually free or very cheap
  • In wheelchairs they will last a very long time.
  • If done well, results are better than with commercial hubs and bearings.
  • very careful, exact work needed for good results
WOOD BEARING DESIGN DETAILS
components of wheel with wood bearings.


DVC Ch64 Page 598-7.png

washer
bolt (welded to fork)
oil-soaked wood tube
metal fork
wood wheel
(oil-soaked hole)
bolt spot welded to fork
  • Use a hard wood that will not split.
  • Soak wood in old motor oil.
  • For more ideas and details on wood bearings, see Healthlink Worldwide Manual.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • cheap and fairly easy to make
  • tends to wear out, wobble, or crack quickly unless very well made; not as smooth or easy to ride as with ball bearings


SUPPORT OF AXLES

AXLE SUPPORTED ON ONE SIDE ONLY DESIGN DETAILS
components of a support axle.
a wheelchair.
nut
axle passes through metal tube welded to frame
This is the standard mount for factory-built chairs.
  • Strong steel axles are needed for support at one side only. Axle should be at least ⅝ inch thick for a large person.
  • For a very small child bicycle axles can be supported by one side only. One way is to weld bicycle axles to a thin metal pipe.
DVC Ch64 Page 598-10.png
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • Not as wide or heavy as the chair with 2-side support.
  • easier for user to get a full-length push with hands and arms
  • narrow size important for doorways and transporting
DVC Ch64 Page 598-11.png
Pass pipe through a wood frame,
or weld to metal frame.
  • For adults and large children, standard bicycle axles are too weak for one-side support.
  • Even for smaller children, bicycle axles are weak, and rough use can bend them. Put a sign on chair:
AXLE SUPPORTED ON BOTH SIDES DESIGN DETAILS
This can be done in several ways:
wheel attached to wood frame by metal strips.
wheel attached to metal frame by metal bar.

metal strips on wood frame
metal tube on tube frame
  • Place outer bar of axle support so that it allows as much room for hand pushing by the rider as possible.
DVC Ch64 Page 598-14.png
single caster
wood on wood frame
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • 2-sided support allows use of standard bicycle wheels and axles.
  • easy to build and replace
DVC Ch64 Page 598-15.png
re-bar loop on re-bar frame
  • chair wider, more difficult to get through narrow doors and spaces; more difficult to transport
  • Wheel supports get in the way of hands when user moves by pushing wheels.
    DVC Ch64 Page 598-16.png
  • heavy

TO FOLD OR NOT TO FOLD

A TYPICAL FOLDING CHAIR DESIGN DETAILS
a folded and an unfolded wheelchair.
  • folding mechanism usually with 2 scissoring flexible cross pieces and cloth or leather seat
  • See details of a make-it-yourself model.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES

Folding:

  • narrow when folded for easier transport or storage
  • smoother ride due to flexibility

Non-folding:

  • cheaper and lighter
  • easier to make
  • more adaptable
  • often stronger

Folding:

  • heavier
  • harder to make
  • more costly
  • less adaptable

Non-folding:

  • Transport in cars and buses more difficult. Consider how much this will affect the child’s ability to go where she wants.
  • stiff ride


ARMRESTS

NO ARMRESTS DESIGN DETAILS
a wheel chair with no arm rests.

Note: Many chairs are built so that armrests are part of the main structure and strength of the chair. The armrests cannot be easily removed, even though this might benefit the child. Carefully consider the child’s need for armrests before buying or making a chair.


ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • Many children with strong arms and trunk control prefer a chair with no armrests and a very low back support.
  • Moving by pushing the wheels is easier.
  • less weight
  • Getting off and on from the side is easier—especially important when legs are completely paralyzed and when arms are also weak.
  • Many small children need armrests for stability, for positioning, or for comfort.
FIXED ARMRESTS DESIGN DETAILS
Fixed armrests
a wheelchair with fixed arm rests.
child in wheelchair with arm rests too high to fit under the desk.
The so-called ‘desk arm’ lets front of chair fit under a table—but is often too high or too short.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • especially helpful if child cannot use legs to get out of chair
  • They can help child to sit in a better position and be more comfortable.
child in wheelchair with attached desk.
They can sometimes be used for attaching a removable table.
  • They get in the way for pushing wheels and for getting off chair to the side.
  • For many children, fixed armrests get in the way more than they help.
REMOVABLE ARMRESTS DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 599-6.png
adjustable armrest
arrow pointing to tubes on side seat of wheelchair.
Armrest fits into these tubes.
  • In folding chairs, armrest attachments must be placed so they do not get in the way of folding.
boy moving from wheelchair to bed.
child transferring from a chair on a board — one armrest removed
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • Provides arm support when needed, yet can easily be removed for travel and transfer.
  • requires more work, materials, and exact fittings
  • adds slightly to weight
  • Separate armrests may get lost.

FOOTRESTS

POSITIONS DESIGN DETAILS
adult in wheelchair with angled foot rest.
In adult chairs, footrests often angle legs forward to leave room for casters.
child in wheelchair with non angled foot rest.
For a small child, often footrests can position legs straight down. This is important in many cases.
A larger child may need to sit on cushions so that his feet are above the casters.
DVC Ch64 Page 600-3.png
  • Footrest should keep the knees and ankles at right angles and the legs slightly separated
DVC Ch64 Page 600-4.png
  • It should usually not twist them or force them together.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • Good positioning and support of the feet help the whole body to stay in a better position.
foot rest has a gentle sag in the middle
A footrest like this,
feet with ankles bent outward.
may help feet like these.
  • A footrest that keeps the leg at right angles may cause or increase knee contractures in some children. Children should not stay sitting too long and should do daily exercises to stretch their legs, feet, and hips.
DVC Ch64 Page 600-7.png
To prevent or correct contractures, one or both legs may need to be kept as straight as they will go.
FIXED POSITION FOOTRESTS DESIGN DETAILS

The height of the rests should be carefully measured to fit the child who will use them. (For measurements, see "Fitting the Chair to the Child: Measurements".)

child bent forward in ill fitting chair.
REMEMBER: Cushions or seating adaptations will change the height needed for the footrests.
  • If the footrest is too low, blocks can be placed on it to make it higher They can be removed as the child grows.
child sitting up with fixed footrests.
  • However, fixed footrests that are too high are more difficult to correct. So it is better if they are too low.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • easiest to build
  • For a small child who can easily be lifted in and out of the chair, they are fine.
  • If footrests are screwed or bolted onto a wooden wheelchair, their position can easily be changed as the child grows.
DVC Ch64 Page 600-10.png
  • They often get in the way when the child gets in or out of the chair, or in the way of the person lifting a larger child. (See other methods below.)
REMOVABLE OR SWING-AWAY FOOTRESTS DESIGN DETAILS
components of swing away foot rest.
back-stop for feet
wood chair swing-away footrest
components of swing away foot rest
pin on which footrest swings
stops
There are many designs. Here we show one for the wood chair shown above and one designed for a metal chair.

Other designs for sliding or swing-away footrests are on pages "Re-bar and Woven Plastic Wheel Chairs", and "Whirlwind Steel Tube Wheel Chair".

ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • They make it easier to get in and out of chair.
DVC Ch64 Page 600-14.png
  • The best footrests are those the child can easily move out of the way herself.
  • Removable footrests may get lost.
  • more work to make them
  • Unless well-made, they may be less stable than fixed footrests.
ADJUSTABLE FOOTRESTS DESIGN DETAILS
components of an adjustable foot rest.
hand hole for pulling
Footrest pulls out and slips back out of way.
components of an adjustable foot rest.
FRONT VIEW
strips of wood to form slots
adjustable height

There are many designs. Here is one of the simplest, for a plywood chair.

DVC Ch64 Page 600-17.png
For straight leg sitting, a longer board fits into high slots.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • very adaptable
  • easy to make
  • can support a casted leg
DVC Ch64 Page 600-18.png
leg board for both legs
DVC Ch64 Page 600-19.png
for one leg
  • A cushion or padding should be placed over the leg board (unless leg is casted).
  • Side supports may be needed to keep leg from slipping off.
DVC Ch64 Page 600-20.png
NO FOOTRESTS DESIGN DETAILS
girl in wheelchair with no foot rests.
  • Seat is mounted low so that feet rest flat on floor.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • useful for persons who can pull their chair along with their legs and feet— especially when one or both arms or hands are too weak to push the wheels
  • Feet may drag when someone else pushes the child in the chair. Swing-away footrests may be the best solution.


PARKING BRAKES

LEVER BRAKES DESIGN DETAILS

Brake for wooden chair

lever brake in off position, tangent to the tire.
off
lever brake in the on position.
on
up close picture of a a lever brake in the on positions.

There are many brake designs. This one is from Healthlink Worldwide. Two others are on "Details of How to Make Wheel Chair Parts".

components of a lever brake
push handle out and up
metal plate
lever brake.

SIDE VIEW
catch
weld
pivot
split pin
washer
metal plate
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • takes little space
  • fairly easy to use if made right (which often they are not)
  • needs welding and skill to make
  • Homemade brakes often give problems—yet it is important that chairs have them if possible.
PARKING BLOCK DESIGN DETAILS
block with on and off ramp and a groove in the center.

Brakes on wheelchairs are for keeping the chair from rolling when getting in or out, or stopped on a hill. The simplest form of brake is a parking block that keeps the wheel from turning.

wheelchair parked on a parking block.
To ‘brake’, roll wheel up ramp and into groove.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • easy to make, requires no welding, and is cheap
  • If the child usually only gets in and out of the chair in one or two places in the home, blocks in these places may be all that is needed.
  • a heavy, awkward object to move from place to place
  • not practical outside the house (or in it)
  • have to tilt child to one side to ‘park’ chair

HANDRIMS FOR PUSHING

HANDRIMS DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 601-8.png
using thin metal tubing (cane or wood have also been used)

Designs taken from Healthlink Worldwide.

components of jig for bending metal tube.
jig for bending tube
Cut down this line before removing from jig. Weld ends.
Wrap tube around several times to make several rims at once.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • Handrims help keep hands clean. (Otherwise child has to push on tire.)
  • especially important where there are very dirty paths and roads
components of handrim attached to tire.
tire
Attach rim with metal brackets like this.
bracket
rim
  • Added width makes it harder to get through narrow doorways.
  • adds weight
HANDRIM GRIP IMPROVERS DESIGN DETAILS
DVC Ch64 Page 601-11.png


rim pegs
components of rim pegs.
wood or rubber tube
rim
Posts can be bolted or welded onto rim.
nut
bolt

Cut a piece of rubber hose lengthwise and tape it onto rim.

rim with hose taped onto it.
cut
rim
hose
handrim grip components.
metal post
welded
onto rim
Posts can be bolted or welded onto rim.
ADVANTAGES DISADVANTAGES
  • For child with weak or paralyzed hands, a smooth rim can be hard to grip—especially if it is chromed or galvanized.
  • Putting rough cloth tape, a rubber hose, or many small handles on the rim will make pushing easier.
  • Or you can wrap the rim with a long thin strip of car tire inner tube.
  • Pegs sticking out from rims increase width of chair.
  • Pegs sometimes cause hand injuries— especially when going fast downhill.
inner tube being wrapped around the hand rim.
strip of inner tube
rim
wrap




This page was updated:19 Jan 2018