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The future of titanium wheelchairs?

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    #46
    Unless DME's are aggressive I think the future is bleak. Today I received a letter from my health provider outlining changes to Medicare Advantage plans. It reads in part:

    "...Medicare coverage is limited to clinically proven items and services that are reasonable and necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of an illness or injury ( within the scope of a Medicare benefit category). NCDs are made through an evidence-based process, with opportunities for public participation. In some cases, CMS supplements its own research with an outside technology assessment and/or consultation with the Medicare Evidence Development & Coverage Advisory Committee.

    In The absence of a national coverage policy, an item or service may be covered at the discretion of the Medicar contractors based on a Local Coverage Determination.

    Once an NCD is finalized and published, its coverage guidelines are binding nationwide. It is important to discuss the medical necessity of your medical care with your doctor. Items and services that are not detrermined by Medicare to be medically necessary will not be covered by Medicare or the Clear Care plans. As a reminder, you plan may require prior authorization for these services..."
    I have had periodic paralysis all my life. I lost my ability to walk in 2011 beginning with a spinal block, which was used for a hip fracture caused by periodic paralysis.

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      #47
      Originally posted by Curt Leatherbee View Post
      It's a shame because it really does make a difference with Titanium over aluminum. I had the same chair three years I just replaced a week ago only difference is it's Titanium vs aluminum (Aero X Folder vs. Tilite 2gx Titanium) I weighed them both, same size frames, the Titanium is 4 lbs lighter and you really do notice the difference when loading and unloading the chair from the car all day. All along though I've just bought chairs used or demos and paid cash for parts because I just don't like to wait for months and deal with the system even though I could have in the past. I realize though not everybody has this choice and it sucks for them that this code K0009 has been eliminated.
      Your lighter chair happens to be titanium, but my aluminum/magnesium alloy chair is still lighter. Chromolybendum can be used for even lighter. Titanium is heavier than aluminum (check the periodic scale). This is the misled elitism I mentioned. What makes the difference is less about the material and more about the engineering. Some materials allow different engineering. An aluminum chair with well engineered oval tube could yet be even lighter! The miracle is not the material. There are soooooo many options there need not be any loss to the wheelchair industry for the loss of titanium (which isn't gonna happen, anyway!)
      "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

      "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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        #48
        biggest thing ti v alum for me is my tilites really take more beating and dragging from car transfers. when I ran alum the chairs would get ate up where I drag the frame on pavement every day. the ti certainly holds up better and longer.... like a few have said you have to be aggressive to get what you want. I've never used a pt/ot or "seating specialist" just very solid lmn from my sci doc.
        Bike-on.com rep
        John@bike-on.com
        c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
        sponsored handcycle racer

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          #49
          Aluminum and magnesium are good metals; they certainly have their uses. Aluminum is easy to cast and extrude, but it's also quite soft and malleable. Even with the best alloys or treated to increase surface hardness, it's still comparatively soft. Try hitting some flat stock with a hammer. You can flatten most aluminum. This is very hard to do, if not impossible by hand, with titanium. And aluminum just doesn't have the hardness or tensile strength of steel or titanium.

          I think many of us have seen the weight comparisons between aluminum, titanium, and steel. And yes shape and design can overcome deficiencies. However, titanium has a huge advantage in durability and can be used to fabricate thinner. For appearance and easy user restoration, try polishing aluminum and using it without some kind of coating. Your skin and clothing will turn gray rubbing on it. Just the oils in human skin will cause problems.

          The bottom line is that both aluminum and titanium are great for building wheelchairs. Each metal has its advantages and deficiencies. Just know what you're getting with each.

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            #50
            Originally posted by elarson View Post
            I agree with you at some level about titanium and materials, but really do think the titanium frame helps with bumps and vibrations, especially on our typical brick roads...
            Having used aluminum (Top End) and titanium (TiLite) chairs, if there is any vibration dampening with titanium, it's hardly noticeable to me.

            Comparing suspension vs. non-suspension is another story. The difference between my TiLite and my Icon (with real suspension) is night and day.

            Originally posted by fuentejps View Post
            biggest thing ti v alum for me is my tilites really take more beating and dragging from car transfers. when I ran alum the chairs would get ate up where I drag the frame on pavement every day. the ti certainly holds up better and longer....
            I agree.

            From another perspective: my wedding ring is titanium & it takes a beating. I would've destroyed an aluminum one. The titanium one lost its brushed finish from daily wear over the past 5.5yrs, but has fully maintained its integrity and now looks polished.

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              #51
              Scott -- Do you use a power add-on? Higher speed is when the vibration seems to come in the most, or at least that is what I have read. We did not have a power add-on when using aluminium, so I don't know.

              And I totally agree about titanium taking a beating. We live in a 450 year old house that has some stone and cement "features" that are bashed into constantly, due to a reduced visual field. Outside it is even worse with curbs, posts, etc. Granted, the frame itself does not always take the full hits directly due to the design, but I have to believe it is taking some heavy stress in ways that are not typical. Any anodized aluminium surfaces like the handrims look like they have been through a crash test. My husband is also a painter, and trying to get paint off of aluminium with powder coat, and even anodized aluminium, is much harder than with titanium, where I can scrape it and then buff it.

              My husband only receives funding every 7 years. Having a chair that will look decent that long is also important on a social level in my opinion. What's the point to get all dressed up to go somewhere when it looks like you are in an old beat-up jalopy? I also think others like taxi drivers, PCA's, etc., treat equipment better if they see it is maintained well. I would really be disappointed if it became harder and more expensive to get a titanium chair that we could not keep up to at least look decent.

              Here are some not so good photo's of the wall that we call the inside dike (live in Holland), and an abused cement corner -- its on the way to the beer !

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              Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

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                #52
                Originally posted by elarson View Post
                Scott -- Do you use a power add-on? Higher speed is when the vibration seems to come in the most, or at least that is what I have read. We did not have a power add-on when using aluminium, so I don't know.
                Yup. I have a Smartdrive, used on a TR3 with a Freewheel.

                I'm not trying to argue, just noting that I personally don't notice vibration dampening from Ti.

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                  #53
                  Interesting... I did not think you were arguing, and hope you know that I was not trying to argue either. I think it is interesting to hear others take on titanium, because we are fairly new to ultralight titanium chairs compared to may others on the forum. We only had rentals of aluminium chairs, and it's hard to compare without "like" frames/components.

                  Originally posted by -scott- View Post
                  Yup. I have a Smartdrive, used on a TR3 with a Freewheel.

                  I'm not trying to argue, just noting that I personally don't notice vibration dampening from Ti.
                  Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

                  Comment


                    #54
                    Originally posted by -scott- View Post
                    Yup. I have a Smartdrive, used on a TR3 with a Freewheel.

                    I'm not trying to argue, just noting that I personally don't notice vibration dampening from Ti.
                    same here, I don't notice anything. I like it because it holds up better
                    Bike-on.com rep
                    John@bike-on.com
                    c4/5 inc funtioning c6. 28 yrs post.
                    sponsored handcycle racer

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                      #55
                      Originally posted by elarson View Post
                      Interesting... I did not think you were arguing, and hope you know that I was not trying to argue either.
                      I just didn't intend for my comment to imply that you were wrong. Glad it didn't.

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                        #56
                        Originally posted by fuentejps View Post
                        same here, I don't notice anything. I like it because it holds up better

                        Compared to t6 aluminum this is mostly true. Ti 6al4v scratches quite easily, but has 3x tensile strength of T6 Al. Compared to, say, a far cheaper chrome-moly-bendum steel, not so much. Properly hardened chrome-moly steel (3x tensile strength bump over Ti) kicks both Al and Ti into the dirt. Harder, tougher, and can be used to design a much lighter chair, too! (RGK, Oracing, Panthera, et al, have proven this!)

                        "Chromoly steel" just doesn't have the buzz like the word "titanium" brings into the market.

                        Maybe ridding the market of "aerospace titanium" buzz would make room for cheaper and better alternatives?

                        Too many otherwise bright folks drunk on titanium laced Kool aid!!!! Next to pre-fabrication single heat treated T6 Al titanium seems way better, but that's a crazy low bar to judge a material by!

                        "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it." - Edgar Allen Poe

                        "If you only know your side of an issue, you know nothing." -John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

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                          #57
                          Steel is real.

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                            #58
                            Originally posted by Oddity View Post
                            Properly hardened chrome-moly steel (3x tensile strength bump over Ti) kicks both Al and Ti into the dirt. Harder, tougher, and can be used to design a much lighter chair, too! (RGK, Oracing, Panthera, et al, have proven this!)?

                            )
                            This got me curious. Any actual side by side weight comparisons with similar sized and outfitted chairs between Ti and steel? Back when I took my 2nd chair completely apart to replace the frame (Ti), I was surprised that the frame was one of the very lightest parts of the chair.

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                              #59
                              Here is a interesting article, not really related to wheelchairs, but the comparison between steel, aluminum, titanium and magnesium. http://cdiichinadirect.wordpress.com...-lillian-wong/ One thing I will say I really like about the Titanium wheelchair I just got is it does ride a lot better than it's Aluminum counterpart. Titanium has built in shock absorbing qualities. I really noticed it tonight on a cobblestone walkway I've done in both chairs in Newport.
                              "Life is about how you
                              respond to not only the
                              challenges you're dealt but
                              the challenges you seek...If
                              you have no goals, no
                              mountains to climb, your
                              soul dies".~Liz Fordred

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                                #60
                                Originally posted by Andy View Post
                                This got me curious. Any actual side by side weight comparisons with similar sized and outfitted chairs between Ti and steel? Back when I took my 2nd chair completely apart to replace the frame (Ti), I was surprised that the frame was one of the very lightest parts of the chair.
                                Yes, the overall weight of a chair is determined more by the components (add-on options), wheels, tires than the frame. Of course, a fully-welded chair (or nearly so) will be lighter than the majority of adjustable chairs, which have more components.

                                Now that I'm a new car owner (Mazda5), I'm especially grateful to have an ultra-lightweight chair. I pull the chair into the back fully assembled and to remove the chair, I grip it one-handed by clinching the wheel against the side guard and lower it out. I could not do this with a chair larded up with options.
                                stephen@bike-on.com

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