Click to read more about Part 1 of this wheelchair platform build! This was a really satisfying project because I got to build something that directly makes somebody’s life easier.
The whole point of a wheelchair platform is to get the wheelchair up at the same height as the vehicle seats, so the person in the chair can use a transfer board to slide into the vehicle. This becomes a problem though when the vehicle (in this case pickup truck) seat is ~12″-14″ above the height of the wheelchair seat. I had to put some serious thought into this project before I started building it. Particularly because the challenge was to make the platform with adjustable height for different vehicles and fold-able legs for storage.
We had briefly talked about making it out of aluminum but since the only method I currently have to weld aluminum is TIG welding, it would have taken FOREVER for me to do. So to make it out of steel but still relatively light, I picked thinner materials and decided to use expanded steel as the deck.
I did a lot of research trying to find examples of portable wheelchair transfer platforms. The ONLY result I found was a company located in London with a small 30″x30″ aluminum platform and ramp (link to it HERE). I have no idea why US companies don’t build these unless they actually have to adhere to ADA compliance which would mean the ramp for my 12″-16″ high platform would have to be approximately 12+ FEET LONG and at least 36″ wide. Needless to say I won’t be meeting the ADA guidelines for businesses with this ramp, though a part of THIS article states that “most residential applications do not need to meet ADA code and ADA guidelines…”.
Enough talking, on to the pics!!
Intermediate to advanced (though I would lower this requirement considerably if it weren’t for the adjustable and fold-able legs)
4×8′ sheet of Expanded Steel 3/4″ 9 gauge raised
4ft 1″x1″ square tubing 14 gauge
4ft 3/4″x3/4″ sqare tubing 14 gauge
~12′ 1.5″x1.5″ angle iron 1/8″ thick
~24′ 1″x 1″ angle iron 1/8″ thick
~4ft 1/4″ round solid rod stock
8 7/16″ pins with wire retainers
4 rubber crutch / cane tips
Part 1 – Platform and Ramps
TIP: When marking material for cutting it is a good idea to put an X on the ‘drop’ or piece that you won’t be using. That way if the drop happens to be similar in length to the piece you plan to use, you are less likely to get the two confused.
I ran into naptime so I had to choose something quiet to do for a while. For quite a while now I have been rolling paint on my bigger projects with a foam roller and it has suited me pretty well so far. Less fumes, no overspray (other than some drips), and I don’t have to wear a respirator. Rolling the paint works especially well on expanded steel. When trying to spray paint it seems to get paint on everything BUT the expanded steel…
Stay tuned for Part 2 where we build adjustable legs, then cut them back off and rebuild them stronger!!