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Old 12-30-2016, 01:21 PM   #1
drivesitfar
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Default I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her weddin

ALL: i'm destined to build this chair on casters for my daughter out of wood cause steel would be too heavy and i don't have the welding skills (yet). i have some aluminum i might be able to cut and bolt a frame together so keep that in mind.

my daughter has SPINA BIFIDA and is 26 and been in a wheelchair going 100 MPH for the last 25 years now. I think she has maybe gone through maybe 10 or more pairs of wheels and a few chairs because she doen't have the words CAN'T DO in her mind.

so here's my challenges. she is getting married next month to a great young man that is in the ARMY and is plenty strong enough to carry her, but she would like to dance at their wedding in her cool dress and not have any wheels from either her wheelchair or her basketball wheelchair ruining it or causing problems.

so the plan i think is to build a base with maybe 6 or 8 casters cause i definitely don't want it to tip or fall over. then i need to build up a platform with a seat to fit her wheelchair padded seat and maybe a short back on the chair for support.

anybody built or have an idea how to build one? i was just given this project which of course needs to be done yesterday so her wedding dress can be altered so she can be married on this elevated chair on wheels and dance and visit all night long. and maybe use the chair in the future so would be nice if it could be broken down to fit in a trunk.

thanks in advance and i'll post up pictures of what i'm making if nobody has any ideas.

EDIT: it's sort of a bar stool on a platform with casters and a seat with a short back on it. here's a few pictures of a sort of mock up if you will and just figuring how to make it with 5 casters, foot rest and not top heavy.

my daughter is 5'8 and about 135 for all you engineers and designers.
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Last edited by drivesitfar; 12-30-2016 at 05:51 PM.
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:46 PM   #2
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Are you talking about a stool (wih wheels)? Or kinda like a computer chair? Is there anything wrong with these? Could they be modified to work? Does it need to be pretty?
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

drives, let me put in some thought on that one..

I for one will follow up with your progress..

Regards
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:51 PM   #4
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Dress question first...Tailored for a close fit around her legs or flowing and billowing skirt with train? It makes a big difference in how you do some things..
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Old 12-30-2016, 01:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Young: we actually found a sort of office or shop chair at Costco that i might attach to a base, but thinking i could make it more solid if i made the entire chair. PRETTY ISN'T necessary and function and safety is everything. her dress and her smile will amaze anybody that sees her and the stand will be covered cause the wedding dress will be altered to fit to barely be above the floor so even the wheels might not show. thanks for stopping in to help.

1/2: you've got a lot on your plate, but if you need a break from the engine and rodents i'd love to hear what you might have to say.

ALL: i'll try to get some pictures if i can find any to post, but honestly we are creating something that these poor handicapped kids have never had available. i'm not looking to patent it, but i'd sure like to make my daughter and wife smile and maybe help other dad's or kids (or adults) out when they need something like this.

cheers and HAPPY NEW YEAR
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

CV: wedding dress would be covering the stand so yes billowing and more like the old school ones that maybe were held out with wires. (no train). the dress will be covering the entire chair and altered to maybe a half inch or inch from the floor. sort of worried about dress getting hung up in casters so probably will have base out a few inches beyond casters. didn't want the base too big so my daughter's new hubby can get in there close.

ALL: if you have questions ask and if you have ideas or pictures please post. when my wife first proposed this to me i was hoping there would be some sort of example to maybe copy from or get an idea.

would 4 casters be enough not to tip? that's why i'm thinking 6 and i have 8 inch casters and 2, 4 and 6 inch ones probably too. one of my furniture dollies has 3 inch casters that doesn't move real well so i'll try to get all of my casters in a pile and take a few pictures. or i can buy some if there is maybe some new ones out there that are better than the old ones i have laying around.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

How large of a base? If you want 8 casters are you thinking an octagon with a caster at each point?

Sorry drives, I was on the phone mid post and didn't see your last two replies.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Sled: i hadn't thought of 8 casters, but if better than 6 and a lot better than 4 i'm open to the idea. here's a dolly i own and my wife likes the insets so the groom can step in closer.

thanks for stopping in and helping and if you have any ideas how to make a chair attached to the base either with wood or aluminum tubing let me know. remember i'm bolting and not welding cause i don't have the skills yet to weld.

All: as mentioned above Mrs. Drives likes this sort of dolly (or base's design). of course with more casters I'll have to make something a bit different.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

How smooth is the floor going to be, I put my shop stool (which would be way too high) on top of a dolly I made a while back and it's a lot more stable than I thought.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:30 PM   #10
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Sled: great picture and sort of what i have in mind. there is carpet all around a 20x20 foot dance floor so a little bit more of a challenge.

thanks again

ALL: i have plenty of wood laying around here cause I am about to build a fence and it's not all cedar. also i have 3/4 and 1.125 inch plywood so thinking a 1.125 inch plywood base would be plenty enough to hold the casters or should i put maybe a 1x4 under the 1.125 where the casters mount? bolt through?

how about sort of interior dovetail joints or should i just screw or bolt to the edge of the base?

thanks everybody and here's a picture of the bride to be maybe 6 years ago with her brother (twin) and her older sister.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Good on the taloring. You will want to form a ring a couple of inches high that surrounds the casters on the outside to help keep the hem out of them....
Something built in this style would probably work well. It has a low back and provides some side support and you could close form it to fit her.
http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/stor...vyRhoCjGDw_wcB
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivesitfar View Post
Sled: i hadn't thought of 8 casters, but if better than 6 and a lot better than 4 i'm open to the idea. here's a dolly i own and my wife likes the insets so the groom can step in closer.

thanks for stopping in and helping and if you have any ideas how to make a chair attached to the base either with wood or aluminum tubing let me know. remember i'm bolting and not welding cause i don't have the skills yet to weld.

All: as mentioned above Mrs. Drives likes this sort of dolly (or base's design). of course with more casters I'll have to make something a bit different.
drives, you could get some threaded tube inserts for the chair legs then bolt them through your dolly.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q...erts&FORM=IGRE
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:53 PM   #13
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

CV: i showed my wife a barber chair that i could buy for $75 and she said the back was too high so she picked the one i posted a picture of that we bought from Costco. since my daughter has a special seat in her wheel chair we'll probably take the Costco chair back and i'll need to build a seat with a back support. i posted a picture of the chair you found at Bed Bath and Beyond (my wife's favorite store BTW).

thanks for taking the time to find and post the link and for your thoughts.
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

1/2: thanks and great idea
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Old 12-30-2016, 02:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivesitfar View Post
...would 4 casters be enough not to tip?...
I would think not. There's a reason that all office chairs now have 5, instead of 4. As for 6 vs 8, there is a diminishing return in adding casters, and 6 will probably be just fine. More than that may be worse in some ways. One problem with casters is that they need to pivot as you change direction, which can make them act fussy (there's also the phenomenon of "caster flutter", though I doubt that will come into play in the low speeds here)..

How big a caster diameter you need, will depend on the floor you plan to dance on. If it's wood parquet, regular chair casters (usually between 2" and 2.5") will be fine. If it's VCT or something smoother, I think you could get away with these:
http://www.harborfreight.com/1-inch-...ing-67060.html

Though you'd probably want something like 10 of those if you went that route. But those rollers will certainly get stuck on grout lines if you tried them on a tile floor. Then again, since they don't need to pivot, they just roll in any direction, so they have a big advantage that way.

If you're looking at a more difficult dance surface, I'd think you may have problems with any caster that small (and bigger casters cause new issues).

As for the dress: If I were designing this, I'd have the dressmaker provide some matching materials to "upholster" the chair into something that appears sort of seamless with the dress. It doesn't have to be tailored, and can be stapled into place, but that takes care of the possibilities of getting fabric caught in a wheel.
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:03 PM   #16
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

drivesitfar - I have nothing for you except my support. What you are doing for your daughter and new new husband is great. Thank your son-in-law for his service on behalf of us all. Your picture is worth a million words - nice looking group of young adults you have there.

Best wishes and on the off chance I have a brainwave I'll contribute more than a 'high five'.
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:05 PM   #17
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

Quote:
Originally Posted by drivesitfar View Post
Sled: great picture and sort of what i have in mind. there is carpet all around a 20x20 foot dance floor so a little bit more of a challenge.

thanks again

ALL: i have plenty of wood laying around here cause I am about to build a fence and it's not all cedar. also i have 3/4 and 1.125 inch plywood so thinking a 1.125 inch plywood base would be plenty enough to hold the casters or should i put maybe a 1x4 under the 1.125 where the casters mount? bolt through?

how about sort of interior dovetail joints or should i just screw or bolt to the edge of the base?

thanks everybody and here's a picture of the bride to be maybe 6 years ago with her brother (twin) and her older sister.
What do you mean about the carpet making it more challenging? Does it need to roll over carpet too? I believe the plywood would be significant enough, but when safety is key, you can never go wrong with more material. Sled's picture pretty much captures what I'm envisioning from reading this thread. I think you have all the elements, you just need to put them together, with your biggest concerns being the stability of the base. Sorry my response is all over the place, I was touching on key aspects as I went along.
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

I have made some performance or sport chairs for wheelchair athletes before.
This is what I would recomend.
6 wheels are better than 4 to reduce the chance or tipping in any given direction. 8 might be better but there will be a weight penalty.

Get the best quality casters you can find and bigger wheels are better. I would use a 4" min wheel size. Reduce drag and weight by going to thin wheels. 3/4 wide is plenty

Weight at the base is ok but keep the upper parts as light weight as possible. Using 1/4 plywood or even 3/16 moulon will be just fine. Create a box structure with the centers cut out to reduce weight. Kind of like that portable workbench that one guy invented.

On the casters you use, think about washing out the grease they come with and reliable them with a light weight oil or even a teflon lube. Something that will further reduce the rolling friction.

Place Velcro on the perimeter of this rolling base and on the inside of the dress. Velcro the bottom of the dress to the rolling stool to provide the look you want, and be sure that the dress cannot interfere with the stool. Will also assure that the stool will not show.

Concider providing some leg or lap restraints to connect your daughter to the stool. This will assure that when she is getting moved around that she does not shift on the stool. Same for the seating pad, Velcro to the stool. (Don't want to mess up the magic moment).

Feel free to contact me for any further discussion or whatnot.
Congrats to your daughter and applause to you for doing what you can to make thatnthe best day she can have

Bob
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:24 PM   #19
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

I knew a surgeon that had weakness in his legs due to a spine injury. He operated standing up in a "chariot" contraption someone made for him out of plywood. He could shuffle into it and the nurse would close the door. It held his legs and lower torso snuggly while allowing movement of upper body and arms. Maybe something like that? Basically a tight fitting padded plywood box.

Can your daughter wear leg braces to hold her legs straight?
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Old 12-30-2016, 03:26 PM   #20
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Default Re: I'm building a chair on casters for my handicapped daughter to dance in at her we

RL: thanks for your thoughts and i'll be posting my thoughts as i read more and see what materials i have.

Outlander: GREAT POST and had me almost in tears. thanks for the support and i'll pass on the word to my future son in law who BTW is planning on putting in 20-30 years in the Army (GOD WILLING) and i think he's on his 7th currently.

Young: yes commercial carpet, wood dance floor and probably a few bumps and humps. bear in mind her new hubby and friends should or probably will be hanging on to here and i swear she is made of rubber cause of all the falls she's taken and bounced back up without a tear or a lost step. I DO IT DADDY has been her motto since i pushed the wheelchair to the van and let her climb into her baby seat when she was 1 or 2.

ALL: thanks and keep those thoughts and pictures coming cause i'm still not certain how this is going to keep her safe and hold up for 6 or 8 or more hours.

cheers
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