We started off this studio by learning Autodesk Fusion, the software we will be using for this project. Fusion is a 3D modeling software that allows you to edit dimensions and sizes on models you make. We spent the first few days making objects in the software as exercises. I made a phone case.
Once we were done learning the software, we brainstormed as a studio on what improvements a wheelchair needs and how we can hack it. We want to accessorize the wheelchair as opposed to redesign it. We broke up into groups and started to brainstorm ideas in-depth more.
Our group decided on making the wheelchair faster. We live in a busy fast paced world that the wheelchair hasn’t necessarily kept up with. We want to use a ratchet mechanism, which would allow the user to wheel faster in the chair in a rowing motion as opposed to a wheeling motion, a similar motion to the arms on an elliptical machine. We are mainly focusing on the ratchet mechanism moving the wheelchair forward but hopefully if we have time we can work on brakes as well.
We started our project with a pile of bike parts. We wanted to get the parts from the bike wheels to see if we could use them for our project. We took the wheels apart and explored, and found that we already had some mechanisms that we could recycle instead of creating our own. We started making attachments that would make the bike parts usable for our particular situation. The tricky thing is that because of the parts that we have, the wheels can only turn one way so we have to use a slightly different system for each wheelchair wheel. The left and right wheels are flipped mechanically. We spent the day designing separate parts for each.
We continued our process of making parts and testing them out for a while. We worked on the right wheel first. We decided to put the concept of wheelchair brakes on hold, and decided to just work on the speed aspect of the project.
Throughout the project we have kept the design pretty simple, although we did end up needing one slightly major design change. After testing our previous spider attachment design we realized that we needed to beef it up because it was breaking when we applied force on it. We also realized that the way we were connecting the 8020 bar to the mechanism wasn’t helping our design. It was giving it too much torque, and adding stress to the entire mechanism. We took out the need for a right angle with the 8020 bars and redesigned the connector to accommodate the changes.
On the last day we had another realization. After we put one of the sides together we realized that we had made two of the same sides, but in different ways. We made two of the right sides. Although this was unplanned and would be considered a mistake it was good that we had done it. We had come up with two completely different ways to do the same thing and through doing this we found that one way was much better.
Once we had wrapped our mind around making the left side of the system, it actually wasn’t that difficult. We had all the hard parts made, and just had to edit them a little to be able to use them for the left side.