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Details of How to Make Wheel Chair Parts

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HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 66: Designs for 6 Basic Wheelchairs > Details of How to Make Wheel Chair Parts


  • A thick bolt should fit tightly inside bearing.
  • Bearings should fit tightly inside outer steel tube.
  • Carefully mark and drill the outer steel tube for spoke holes.
  • Spacer tube fits over axle bolt and holds bearings against spoke heads.
Wheelchair part to connect the large wheel.

holes for bicycle spokes

Note: Used sealed bearings with a ⅝" inner diameter can often be obtained free or at low cost from electrical tool and appliance repair shops. These used bearings often last longer than standard wheelchair bearings.

Steel bolt, steel bearings, outer steel tubes thick wall tube welded to frame and locknut with arrows indicating where they connect.
axle (steel bolt ⅝")
spacer tube
used sealed bearings
outer steel tube (1¼" thin-wall)
frame of chair
thick-wall tube welded to frame

To attach the heavy-duty hub to a wood chair, you can weld the thick-wall tube to a metal plate.

The bigger the plate is the stronger the mount.
Square part where wheel part would connect to chair.
Where square part connects to chair.
The metal plate can be bolted onto the wood.
Drawing of wooden wheelchair.


Sequences of parts that connect to upsidedown U shaped piece.
sealed bearing
steel bar
galvanized steel tube for caster barrel
⅝" bolt
A sleeve tube spot-welded to inside of barrel keeps bearings in place.
Drill at equal lengths.
Sealed bearings fit tightly inside caster hub and rest against inner sleeve tube.
Weld bolt to steel bar.

Caster axle fits tightly inside bearings.
7 cm.
Mount the caster axle at least 7 cm. behind bolt. This helps prevent ‘flutter’ at higher speeds.

For slightly different designs, see:


shows how to make brakes connecting
piece of rubber hose
bent piece of flat bar
flat or round steel bar
bolt for attaching to frame
DVC Ch66 Page 623-8.png
Or steel rod can be bent like this for the brake.
showing wheel with brake locked with metal stops
metal stops to hold brake in place
See other brake designs.


Canvas sewn into a tube.
Cut canvas twice as wide as seat or back, allowing 4 cm. extra on sides (for seams) and at least 20 cm. longer on length.

Sew canvas into a tube.
Canvas tube marked to show where to reinforce.
Tuck in, ends to add strength where wear is greatest.
Flattened canvas tube marked to show where to sew.
Sew seams here.
Wheelchair with canvas back and seat.
Drill holes and screw rods to frame.
CAUTION! Measure carefully. On a folding chair, the width of the seat and back control the width of the chair.

For designs of other wheelchair parts, see the following pages:

seats and backs:
axle mounts:

Examples of locally made wheelchairs

DVC Ch66 Page 624-1.jpg
DVC Ch66 Page 624-2.jpg
DVC Ch66 Page 624-3.jpg
The plywood wheelchair, with the armrest in place (left) and swung back (right). A plywood wheelchair for a child with cerebral palsy with inner tube stretching aids to gently pull his feet and straighten his severe knee contractures.
DVC Ch66 Page 624-4.jpg
DVC Ch66 Page 624-5.jpg
DVC Ch66 Page 624-6.jpg
A bamboo hand-powered tricycle made at Viklang Kendra (People’s Village), Allahabad, India. A wheelchair made completely of paper, including the wheels. Paper is glued together using rice flour in water (Zimbabwe). A wood design of the square tube wheelchair, two Healthlink wheelchairs, and a ‘trolley’ made from half of a plastic bucket and wood wheels.
DVC Ch66 Page 624-7.jpg
DVC Ch66 Page 624-8.jpg
DVC Ch66 Page 624-9.jpg
A wood wheelchair in Thailand. The bicycle wheel axles are supported on both sides to keep them from bending. A metal frame, wood wheel ‘trolley’ in Bangladesh. The rubber tube serves as a cushion and also as a toilet seat. This trolley, also from Bangladesh, uses a cushion made of coconut fiber covered with rubber.

For more examples of wheelchair designs, see:

This page was updated:19 Jan 2018