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Wanting to modify my Manual Wheelchair - Thoughts, Advice?

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    Wanting to modify my Manual Wheelchair - Thoughts, Advice?

    I have no insurance, and had to quit my job a few months back because I could not meet the physical requirements for the job. (That is, I could no longer stand, and I worked at a gas station - Two things that just don't go together for a small town gas station at least.)

    I got lucky after posting "Wanted" ads everywhere it was appropriate, contacting organizations, etc. and will be getting a manual wheelchair of my own tomorrow (Unless the person who contacted me was lying or flakes out for some reason). Right now I'm borrowing a heavy, unwieldy thing that belongs to a family member.

    Now, as for the actual reason for my post.

    As stated above, there are numerous reasons my options are limited, but I've always been a very active person, and I'm also very good at building and/or modifying things.

    Since I've always been very active, and the chair I'm getting is very basic (If things go the way they're supposed to, I'll post any and all information on the chair that may help someone give me some advice on the matter), I'm wondering if there are any sites, or information out there on how to modify an existing manual wheelchair.

    I do know the chair I'm getting is light weight, or relatively so, but what I'm wanting to do is make it into as much of a 'sports' wheelchair as I can.. Angled out wheels to avoid tipping, 'foot rests' that don't stick out to aide me in knocking things over if I turn wrong, and tires with traction and the ability to move over more than just smooth surfaces. I've heard using mountain bike tires - The tube and the rubber part, at least, on existing wheels is a fairly effective option when it comes to going over rough terrain, but since I'm very new to that, I'm unsure of what would work best.

    Would larger front wheels be a good or bad idea in conjunction with the modified 'bike' wheels if I can find information on how to 'angle' the rear wheels? Are there any things I should avoid? As a possibly important side note, I have a very strong upper body and no control issues aside from my legs just.. no longer supporting my weight in any manner.

    I'm pretty sure I'll have to find a way to scrape up the money in order to make the 'sports' modification (angle) to the rear wheels, and that in and of itself will be challenging, but really, any other information or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

    I've looked at sports chairs, and without insurance.. 3k is just NOT an option in any way, shape or form, not for me.

    Hoping someone can help me out with this, as I'm having a very hard time finding sites dedicated to modifying manual wheelchairs. Thanks to anyone who might be able to help. I just want to remain as active as I possibly can, and I feel that modifying my chair to fit my needs better will help me adjust to this very drastic change in my life.

    -V

    #2
    It is hard to tell you what modifcations to make without knowing what the chair is like.... As far as "angled" wheels, you ar refering to camber.... The ability to adjust the camber also depends on the chair (how adjustable it is) and whether or not it already has a camber tube (they're not crazy expensive)... Your best bet would be to post once the chair is in your posession

    Comment


      #3
      Finally something -good- happened today, I GOT THE CHAIR! - I admit, I was very skeptical about it actually happening, as cynical as that may sound, it just seems that I've been let down over and over again since this all began. Mainly by Dr.'s, but there have of course been other things. But having actually gotten the chair, I at least have hope that things will get better.

      However, I only got a couple of hours of sleep last night due to pain and not wanting to miss meeting the man bringing that chair to me. And of course, the lack of sleep atop going and getting the chair, exciting as it was to FEEL the difference, I'm thoroughly exhausted.

      After I get some rest I'll post photos and information on the chair I now have. From what the man said it has quite a few options regarding modification, but I'll of course wait to see what everyone here has to say on the matter once I put that info up.

      I'm praying that I can make the modifications I want to, but even if I can't, this is still WORLDS better than the one I was borrowing. 1/3rd the weight to start with, smaller, easier to maneuver, etc. - So many other things as well, but my brain's not all the way on at the moment.

      I'd post it now, but all I could post are pictures, and that may not help much if at all. I need to get the detailed information on it so I can get the best advice available. It's amazing how big of a difference something like this can make in how a person views their situation. Maybe I can sleep for more than a few hours this time.

      Also, thank you wheelie, for clearing up that terminology for me, I really appreciate it.

      -V

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by JackalOnWheels View Post
        It's amazing how big of a difference something like this can make in how a person views their situation.

        -V
        It is amazing . . . I was just thinking last night that a good chair is akin to beam-me-up-Scotty, Startrek technology. Without a good chair, there are many places I cannot even think of going; with a good chair my world has greatly expanded.
        Chas
        TiLite TR3
        Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
        I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

        "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
        <
        UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

        Comment


          #5
          Chas,

          is this your first "real" chair??

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by wheeliegirl2010 View Post
            Chas,

            is this your first "real" chair??
            Yes. I have MS, and had been using a walker for over a year, but was still getting fatigued very easily. Starting last spring when shopping I began using the walker just to reach the store's scooters to conserve energy. About the same time, I started sleeping on a bed wedge in an effort to help lessen fatigue. When I began sleeping better, I realized that standing and walking quickly triggered fatigue even when using the walker. So I borrowed an Invacare XL9000(?), which I returned after a couple days. Then a fellow PVA member offered to let me borrow his standby chair (Q2), which I adjusted as best I could (it was still to big and tall). I've been using the Q2 since June 21. I immediately realized a chair's potential for setting me free! So I asked my VA PCP for an Rx, which she gave me. This week my first real chair arrived!! About a month ago, VA dxd me with mild obstructive sleep apnea, and issued me a ResMed S9 Autoset (APAP). So now I'm sleeping much better and 'walking' much better. My quality of life is definitely on the rise.
            Chas
            TiLite TR3
            Dual-Axle TR3 with RioMobility DragonFly
            I am a person with mild/moderate hexaparesis (impaired movement in 4 limbs, head, & torso) caused by RRMS w/TM C7&T7 incomplete.

            "I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but what I don't think you realize is that what you heard is not what I meant."
            <
            UNKNOWN AUTHOR>

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by chasmengr View Post
              Yes. I have MS, and had been using a walker for over a year, but was still getting fatigued very easily. Starting last spring when shopping I began using the walker just to reach the store's scooters to conserve energy. About the same time, I started sleeping on a bed wedge in an effort to help lessen fatigue. When I began sleeping better, I realized that standing and walking quickly triggered fatigue even when using the walker. So I borrowed an Invacare XL9000(?), which I returned after a couple days. Then a fellow PVA member offered to let me borrow his standby chair (Q2), which I adjusted as best I could (it was still to big and tall). I've been using the Q2 since June 21. I immediately realized a chair's potential for setting me free! So I asked my VA PCP for an Rx, which she gave me. This week my first real chair arrived!! About a month ago, VA dxd me with mild obstructive sleep apnea, and issued me a ResMed S9 Autoset (APAP). So now I'm sleeping much better and 'walking' much better. My quality of life is definitely on the rise.
              That's so awesome to hear, really happy for you! The right chair makes all the difference in the world... Since I got my TiLite ZRA I have had much less discomfort and energy loss because it fits me awesome and is lightweight.... Hope it continues to go well for you..... Keep on "walking"

              WG

              Comment


                #8
                I'm trying to get more details from the Organization that got me the chair I needed, but for now I have this link;

                http://www.wheelchairfoundation.org/...wheelchair_360

                It's just a series of images, and I'm not sure what all can be told from that if anything, but figured it wouldn't hurt to try and find out.

                To me it LOOKS like wheel modifications could be made (Even if new wheels were required, since I'm not sure what wheels are, and are not able to be in anything but the 'normal' position.) There's no barrier between the area where each wheel is connected to the frame, so that seemed like a good thing. Yeah, I'll have to wait until I'm working to make the modifications, but I'd like to get as much information on the subject as I can, beforehand.

                Later today I should have a response of some kind in regards to "specs" on the chair, other than what's posted lower down on the linked page, but if anyone has any thoughts to offer based off what little I've been able to give, I'd appreciate it.

                Thanks in advance. And as a side note.. It's amazing the difference a chair like this can make, when you've been using a borrowed, old 'heavyweight'. I won't ramble, but to make a long story short.. I actually feel like I have a future again, my depression is lifting, and I find myself -wanting- to do more things, instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for myself. Before all this I was going to be getting my CDL and driving a truck.. Heh, I think that dream being stomped was one of the bigger blows, since it's obviously not happening now.

                -V

                Comment


                  #9
                  Whas kind is it ? We could help you better knowing the make of the chair. Congrats, may it carry you to better and even more prosperous times.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I'm doing research (See if I can find information on the chair somewhere other than the main site for the Organization), as well as waiting for a response from the Organization itself to try and get the make as well as other details. Unfortunately their website, even the link I provided that gives some information on the chair only gives the basics.

                    I'm also going to look the chair itself over, see if there are any identifying marks, tags, or anything like that. Might get lucky, who knows, but I have to wait until I've gotten up enough strength to get myself down the stairs with any hope of getting back up. At least there are sturdy handrails on either side that can support my entire body weight (And thank God for having a strong upper body atop that), or I'd be.. stuck, to put it mildly.

                    That's one of the many problems of staying with a family that doesn't even grasp this concept at all. With all the rooms downstairs taken, they couldn't care less how hard/painful it is for me to get up and down said stairs, because switching rooms would be 'Too Inconvenient'. But I'm not going to get into that, I'm not sure if I'd be able to stop once started. >.>

                    As soon as I know more, I'll be sure to post it here right away.

                    -V
                    Last edited by JackalOnWheels; 31 Oct 2010, 5:38 PM. Reason: Fixed some wording

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I found the site for the company that actually makes the chairs that The Wheelchair Foundation distributes (There was some small writing on part of the chair that led me this direction), so here's the link;

                      https://drivemedical.com/catalog/pro...roducts_id=960

                      A lot of things on there don't make a whole lot of sense to me, but I'm sure someone with more experience may be able to glean at least a little something from that. My chair's red, but.. That aside, it's the same chair.

                      Hoping this helps in some way, feel like I'm chasing my tail so to speak.

                      -V

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Im no expert but that looks like a hospital chair. I don't think you'll be able to do the things you want to do I hope someone can tell you better.
                        Aspergers,hypotonic CP, Autonomic Issues.

                        Disney OBSESSED family

                        Comment


                          #13
                          yeah.why not build your own chair, since u said u're a decent fabricator.if $3000 isnt an option, why not buy $100 camber tube and another $100 for fork and caster, and another $100 for aluminum tubing?find yourself a workshop to build it...that is a lot easier than modification...
                          walking is OVER-RATED!!!

                          Broken in August 14th, 2003. T9-L1 complete.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            That sounds like a good idea. A cool project, too.
                            Aspergers,hypotonic CP, Autonomic Issues.

                            Disney OBSESSED family

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