Carbon Fiber Collapsible Wheelchair
Motivo improved on the client's original concept to deliver two working prototypes, utilizing his existing patent.
Michael Every’s passion for innovation and personal experience led him to invent a new type of wheelchair. Every’s innovative wheelchair design took him to the TV show American Inventor, eventually leading him to start his company EveryWare. EveryWare’s vision is to create a lightweight, collapsible wheelchair that can easily be handled with only one hand for storing the chair when not in use.
Every had a mockup he designed and manufactured himself, but he needed a more representative prototype. The updated version required integration of carbon fiber to save weight, and commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components to minimize costs. Unique design changes were also required in order to make the chair more user-friendly for broad range of clients.
The challenge was to improve on the existing design, while utilizing the client’s patent on the folding/hinge mechanism. The new design needed to maintain an ease-of-manufacturability, as the client plans on producing small batches himself. So, special attention needed to be made to simplify the custom nodes to allow Every an easily replicable design. Creating custom nodes and sliding mechanisms for the folding components involved multiple iterations and analysis.
The client created his first metal prototype in his garage. While the original prototype mechanism functioned, there were some binding issues in addition to weight concerns from unnecessary material.
The original prototype was captured by a coordinate measuring machine and laser scan so Motivo could leverage the original frame and kinematics as a geometry reference. To keep costs low, Motivo used its experience in carbon fiber tube and node design to create the precise geometrical structure of the wheelchair allowing the folding mechanism work. The kinematics required precise geometry to ensure easy operation for the user. Motivo used a combination of COTS carbon fiber tubes with custom metal nodes to solve Every’s challenges.
OUTCOME/TIME TO COMPLETION
Motivo delivered two carbon fiber wheelchairs with a refined folding mechanisms in 6 weeks, along with associated drawings and assembly jig, to enable EveryWare to produce identical chairs in-house.