Hesperian Health Guides

Healthlink Wood Wheelchair

In this chapter:

(Modified from Personal Transport for Disabled People — Design and Manufacture.)

The Healthlink wheelchair is built onto an ordinary child’s wood chair. Measurements should be adjusted to the child’s needs.
Boy sitting in a wooden wheelchair with hands on wheels.
Chair with arrow pointing to seat.
A webbed plastic seat lets air move through it and can be easily cleaned.
Bicycle wheel.
It uses standard 20” x 1¾" bicycle wheels and axles.

Basic carpentry tools are needed to build this wheelchair. It can be made in one day by someone with basic carpentry skills. The local blacksmith may be able to help weld together the wheel supports if you cannot. It is easy to add positioning aids or make other adaptations.


Drawing of wooden wheelchair model with arrows.

bolt (2 ½" x 1¼")
plywood or wood side (¼" to ½")
axle tube position
caster wheel (5" x 1 ½")
Drawing of wheelchair seat from above with arrows.

holes to hang crutches
Armrests also work as table supports.
webbed seat
plywood top


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Weld axles to ends of a steel tube 2 cm. longer than the chair is wide.
Front view of wheelchair seat.
Welding the axle.
Weld axle perfectly straight. YES
Pass axle tube through holes drilled through sideboards and front chair legs.
Looking from above to how to attach the wheel to the structure.

WARNING! Use standard bicycle axles this way only for children under 20 kg (50 lbs). A heavier child, or rough use, will bend or break the axle.

Heavy young child in wood wheelchair looking confused as wheel falls off.

For children over 20 kg, use a stronger axle. Or support the bicycle axle from both sides.


shows how to join pieces together to make casters

cross bar (1 ½" x ¼")
Weld extension bar to cross bar.
machine screws
extension bar (½" x ⅛")
Weld caster bolt to extension bar here.
caster wheel
caster attached to the back of a chair
This backward extension distributes weight better and keeps chair from tipping backward on hills.
Two back casters are more stable and make it easier for the wheelchair to go up curbs.
two casters attached to the back of a chair
child in chair with two casters in the back being pushed up steps

For brake designs, see:

For other pictures and models of the Healthlink wheelchair, see:

This page was updated:04 Apr 2024