UVU Mechanical Engineering Capstone Project

Wheeled Bandits Design Project (2019-2020)

Project Sponsor: UVU Engineering Department with Consulting from RunOn.org
Team Members: Stephen Beatty, Erik Van Otten, Cassidy Kelsch, Gino Mangini and Adam Brown

Faculty Advisor: Sean Tolman

  • Spring Semester GANTT Chart Before COVID- 19
  • Front Fork Assembly
  • Central Hinge Detail
  • Break Disc Design
  • Fabrication of Wheelchair components
  • Tip Testing

The purpose of this project was to create an improved running wheelchair in coordination with Run On, a non-profit organization which helps people in wheelchairs run races. They connect high school students who participate in running clubs with individuals that have disabilities and would normally be unable to run in a race. Run On provides the specialized wheelchairs that are used in these competitions. They have tried several wheelchair designs but were interested in developing a new chair that was less expensive, and better fit for their needs.

A kickoff meeting was first conducted with the client, Run On, to establish the desired features and constraints of the design. The client desired improved dynamic stability, stopping effectiveness, maneuverability, transportability, and comfort for both the runner and athlete, all while keeping the unit cost of each chair below $500. After the constraints were established, research was then conducted into how to address each of these constraints and brainstorming was conducted to create initial concepts. The number of concepts were then whittled down to a final concept through a series of decision-making tools (decision matrix). Detailed component design and specification were then completed for the final concept using SolidWorks. Manufacturing was also briefly started on some of the components of the prototype, but all manufacturing and component procurement ceased when the campus was shut down due to COVID-19.

In this project, several of the client’s needs were successfully addressed in the final design by i) slightly increasing the overall length and width of the wheel base, ii) moving the center of gravity forward away from the rear axle to improve dynamic stability, iii) adding disc brakes to improve stopping effectiveness, iv) replacing the original chairs fixed front wheel design with a custom castor design to improve maneuverability, and v) adding adjustable handlebars, padding, and a mesh material to the seat to increase comfort. Due to the increased size of the final wheelchair, the folding mechanism used in the original design was insufficient, so a new central hinge was designed using SolidWorks to allow the chair to physically hold in half. Moreover, a set of quick release pins were designed to allow the rear wheels to be easily removed. The complex mechanisms needed to address the transportability and maneuverability of the chair, however, caused the cost per unit to exceed $500; thereby, failing to meet the target cost. It is recommended to redesign some of the components to optimize the structural stability, comfort, and cost. 

Students' Presentation