To model and test our design we built a prototype of our frame out of steel. Parts represented in the prototype were the L-shaped bracket, the frame sides and back, the long front rod that the castor wheel attaches to, and the fabric seat and back. Parts missing were the wheels and armrests. The prototype was built using the dimensions found from the model of our final design.
Front views of our final prototype, without wheels attached.
To model the L-Shaped Bracket, we used 1" diameter box extrusions welded to a circular tube that would allow rotation around the center rod. The ends of the L-Bracket also are welded to circular tubing to allow rotation around the sides of the frame.
Full view of L-Brace (top), front view of L-Brace (bottom left), L-Brace from the back (bottom right).
Since the front rod holds the most stress in the wheelchair, we modeled it using a 1.5" diameter steel rod. Both L-Brackets rotated around this center rod, and they were both held in place by screw stops we inserted into the tube.
The rest of the frame was modeled using 1" diameter steel rods and the dimensions of our final design. When folded, the frame measured a little more than 3.5", very close to our original design!
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