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  • FreeWheel help suggestions

    I purchased a FreeWheel though LivingSpinal. I currently have an ill fitting TiLite ZRA and I have a new (and hopefully better fitting) ZRA on the way. (couple more weeks maybe!)

    I have the angle adjustable footplate on my current chair and ordered the same for new chair. I ordered the special clamp and shim through LivingSpinal for this specific footplate so it works with the FreeWheel.

    This clamp needs to have holes drilled into it so you can put screws through the clamp and into the bars the clamp is attached to. This is to make sure that the footplate doesn't rotate. Which mine does currently. So I can't use the FreeWheel until I get this rotation issue fixed. It"s bolted on tight but still rotates.

    Unfortunately I don't really have tools. Or know how to use tools. Or have the strength to use tools. Or want to mess up my expensive wheelchairs by randomly attempting to drill HOLES in it!!! Not to mention that they want you to drill these holes in the front and then put ugly silver screws on my all black chair. And also not to mention they sell this clamp, and it doesn't have holes drilled in it already, you have to just figure out how to do it yourself. And still quarantined due to 2 family members being dangerously susceptible.

    I am trying to figure out 2 things;
    1, can these screws be placed underneath? So facing straight down so they don't show as much? And...
    2, who can I find to help me do this without messing up my chair(s)? What type of business would do this? (DME won't have anything to do with the FreeWheel, not their problem)...

    I don't know anyone I would trust to drill holes in my super expensive wheelchair. But I also can't use the FreeWheel until I can make the clamp not rotate when the FreeWheel is attached.

    Any ideas anyone?
    Thanks,
    Chanda

  • #2
    Yeah, they can be screwed in around the under side fairly easily. If it's aluminum its easy enough to start small pilot holes then secure with a self tapping style sheet metal screws. The titanium footrest is very thin walled so that shouldn't be an issue either, really. Having them under can cause issues if you scrape that part a lot. They could come loose or get stripped out, etc.

    I have a Aero Z adjustable footplate (same part # as on a stock ZRA) with a Freewheel and I just torqued the crap out of the bolts holding the clamp on to stop it from rotating. I guess under hard use it might slip, but ages ago I did the same thing with an old Quickie GT and it stayed put. Haven't had any issues with regular use.

    Any local machine shop or even maybe a bike shop could probably make short work of it. It's a straight forward process. Just make sure the footrest is at the exact angle you want when they set it with screws. It won't be adjustable after this is done.
    "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

    "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

    Comment


    • #3
      I tried to tighten the footplate as much as possible but even on my flat smooth street it still turned the footplate. Im not sure it could get tight enough not to twist???

      I have one bike shop in town but I haven't ventured out since March 11th... I probably could ask them to do it. But boy does it make me nervous. I was planning on waiting until I got my new chair and then try and do them both at the same time.

      I don't think I scrape the underside of that clamp 'too' much. I mean its scraped a bit but I am normally super protective and gentle with my chair. I would just rather have them underneath then sticking out the front. Especially on my all black chair coming.

      I really wish I would have known all this before I ordered it. It's hard to think something will just clamp on and work and then find out you have to go out during quarantine to find random people who know how to use tools!!!! Wish that stupid clamp would just come with holes in it already!!!!

      Comment


      • nauticalmike
        nauticalmike commented
        Editing a comment
        You could also order some new screws that are black or paint the silver screws black...

    • #4
      I thought That clamp was a stock TiLite part so they don't have any reason to drill those holes. e.g. My Tilite came with the correct clamp from the factory so all I had to do was add the shim. The process is described in detail on the main product page for the Freewheel on LivingSpinal. Looks like the latest stock clamp doesn't work. You could coat the screws with a black Sharpie and they'd blend right in. I wouldn't risk having them stripped out because if that happens the fix will be a bigger pain in the ass than the original install!
      "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

      "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

      Comment


      • Chanda
        Chanda commented
        Editing a comment
        The clamp that comes with the FreeWheel that you purchase through them for the type of footplate I have IS the exact same clamp that is on my current chair. There is a lightly different shaped clamp that comes on some chairs, my thought is it is the 'new' shape of the clamp that comes on new chairs. My current chair is 6 years old. I don't know what the clamp that will come on my new chair will have.

        But because I ordered the kit that comes with the FreeWheel it comes with the clamp, a shim, and two silver screws. So I am supposed to drill two holes though the clamp and the bars underneath to keep it from rotating.

        But my point is the clamp I purchased with the FreeWheel needs to be drilled. If they are going to sell a clamp for the FreeWheel shouldn't it come with the clamp already drilled so a random girl with no skills can use it?

        Otherwise what is the point of selling me a clamp to use with the FreeWheel that I can't use because there are no holes in it???

    • #5
      I have two chairs now: my good old Ti ZR circa 2003, and new POS clunker Aero Z
      Aero Z has clamping foot plate and I hated to do it but I drilled and screwed it for the FreeWheel.
      The ZR has front and rear welded tubing outlining the footplate and provides a wonderful union with the FreeWheel.
      A couple years ago I went trough hell with Ti to get a replacement footplate (the outsides of the bends had worn through for years of sliding on asphalt every time I pulled it into the car). The serial number printed on the adhesive foil of the axle had worn off and the factory couldn't find my chair. I provided an engineering drawing of the assy and despite accurate measurements and three perspective drawings of it AND photos, they fucked around for months!
      (I'd love to say they're so stupid they couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were on the heel )
      I hunch that this type of footplate is available for your chassis if they can put two and two together

      From an engineering perspective, putting holes in the footplate tube is bad practice. It weakens the torsional resistance of the tube, creates two big stress risers, and is subject to a good deal of additional stress as it counters the torque of the FreeWheel mounting.
      69yo male T12 complete since 1995
      NW NJ

      Comment


      • Chanda
        Chanda commented
        Editing a comment
        Well, I agree. I don't want to be drilling holes in my wheelchair. But how can I get a FreeWheel to work on my wheelchair with an angle adjustable footplate that rotates when you clamp the FreeWheel on it???

        In my head I thought this would be way easier. You buy a FreeWheel, clamp it on, and off you go... Nope.

        Purchased a FreeWheel. Purchased a new clamp and shim and screws as recommended by FreeWheel. And then can't use the whole darn thing AT ALL because you can't drill holes in shit.

        I tried tightening the footplate AGAIN. But it still rotates the foot plate. I can't win. Does this mean I can't ever use a FreeWheel?

    • #6
      Sorry I'm so frustrated but the whole process it defeating. Finally after 6 years of being stuck in my bed and only limited time in an ill fitting wheelchair I got a new chair coming and a SmartDrive and a FreeWheel. So I could live a life outside of my bed. But I can't use any of these tools yet...

      Comment


      • #7
        Originally posted by Chanda View Post
        Sorry I'm so frustrated but the whole process it defeating. Finally after 6 years of being stuck in my bed and only limited time in an ill fitting wheelchair I got a new chair coming and a SmartDrive and a FreeWheel. So I could live a life outside of my bed. But I can't use any of these tools yet...
        I hear you! Don't surrender yet. I DID drill and screw my flexible footplate on the newer "you suck!" chair. If you were nearby, I could do it for you as well. (where are you?)
        Hang in there, the Universe has not forgotten you! It's just that we crips need patience sometimes; sometimes anger energy: and sometimes things just come to us.
        69yo male T12 complete since 1995
        NW NJ

        Comment


        • Chanda
          Chanda commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks, sorry. I have just been SO frustrated by the whole process of getting this chair. It's long, I won't go into detail. I am sure we have all dealt with crappy DMEs who forget you exist.

          I would definitely trust one of you folks to drill holes in my chair than a random stranger who doesn't understand how important the thing their drilling holes into is... I am extremely protective of my chairs. Even with insurance I have to pay to upgrade to titanium so they cost me a LOT. And I can't work. Can't even adapt my house because of $$.

          I live on the Central Coast of California in a town called Santa Maria. Apparently the land of 'no one else in a chair'. I swear I am alone here. I keep desperately tryin to find others... I spend hours googling adaptive sports or support groups and there is nothing. Unless you are a kid. Which I'm not anymore... (48)

      • #8
        Have some patience! We will help you get it sorted. Despite your self professed lack of mechanical skills, this is easy enough that you could do it IMO with simple tools. A small cordless handheld drill with a bit and driver set would suffice. Where are you in the world? Maybe we could find someone close who's willing to pitch in.

        I agree if they're gonna sell a clamp might they as well pre drill it too, but they're really just reselling a TiLite part. They certainly could 'value add' to it by drilling it for a small premium I guess. I guess they figure folks will have to pilot drill their footplate tube anyway, so why bother.
        "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

        "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

        Comment


        • Chanda
          Chanda commented
          Editing a comment
          The main thing I worry about with the drilling is that it is a round curved surface. I don't know how to make a drill solid enough on a curved round surface to even start a hole. I could probably not even do a flat surface!

          Im picturing spinning drills slipping off the sides scratching the crap out of everything.

          I feel like if the clamp I purchased had holes drilled in it then I could likely manage pilot holes in the pipe underneath. Because the clamp would be like a guide? I don't know. What a mess...

          I am in Santa Maria California. I don't know if there is anyone anywhere near me....

      • #9
        Just wondering if you can change the chair order to a non angle-adjustable footplate. Or, is this something you must have?
        If you must have, can you contact Free Wheel and ask to have the holes drilled by them? This might involve taking delivery and paying for them then sending back with marks where you want holes drilled. This would not involve you going out in this pandemic madness.
        (Sorry if I have misunderstood your situation.)

        Comment


        • Chanda
          Chanda commented
          Editing a comment
          The reason I am getting the angle adjustable on my new chair is because that is what is on my current chair. My grand plan (in my head) is to use it on both chairs.

          I will use the new chair as my daily nice looking chair that can go on grass and gravel for my husbands work events. They are always fancy wine events on grass with tents (I'm an ex-winemaker, hubbies still in the biz) . I just can't do that without a FreeWheel. Tried a few times. I was a sweaty disaster from trying to wheelie for miles!

          And then have my old chair with some knobby tires and it can get dirty and gross going into the vineyards or on 'hikes' and such. I keep having to film him doing wine presentations in the vineyard and it is just not possible in that thick of dirt.

          So the only way to easily do that is to have the exact same footplate on both chairs. Otherwise you have to really do a LOT to get the FreeWheel to attach to two different footplates.

      • #10
        Understand. Hope something can work out. I’ve used the FreeWheel while attached to my ZX1 scooter for some fast downhills on paved trail. A great device so hope you can work it out as you’ve said.

        Comment


        • #11
          I only see 3 ways through this:

          1. Try doing it yourself, despite your fears
          2. Get someone else to do it for you
          3. Forget about using the Freewheel.

          Since #1 isn't feasible (taking you at your word) and #3 is the least desirable possible outcome...

          ...what I would do is:

          Set up the footplate with the new clamp and plate angled exactly where I wanted it, then take the whole footrest assembly off and to a machine shop, with the correct screws mentioned in the instructions, show them the image of the instructions from LivingSpinal, and ask them to install the 2 screws for me.

          Any of these places could most likely do this easily:

          https://www.yellowpages.com/santa-ma.../machine-shops

          Might even do it for free if you rolled in and asked nicely. (I've had bike shops do little things like this for free just by showing up in a chair and asking for help.) Regardless, it would almost certainly be cheaper than the cost of a drill and bit set.

          I'd take both chairs with me too, so I could put the footrest back into the new one, get in it, then take the footrest off the other for the same treatment.

          If I called ahead (which I probably wouldn't) I'd keep it short and sweet: "I need someone to install 2 #10-32 self tapping machine screws into a short piece of thin walled 3/4" aluminum tube. I have the tube and the screws already. Would you do that for me?"

          I might add, "I'm a full time wheelchair user and can't do it myself but really need it done." If they pushed back a bit (since it's really a tiny job.) I'm not above playing the cripple card when I genuinely need help because of it.

          That's as best of a direct solution as I can muster, given the constraints you've indicated.


          "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

          "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

          Comment


          • Chanda
            Chanda commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, you are correct. Thanks for making it so nice and clear for my frantic brain!!!

            I will wait until my new chair comes and try the machine shops first. It's so hard to trust people not to screw things up. But if I tried to do it myself I would for sure screw it up!!

            OK, its a plan. another couple weeks (if my chair comes on schedule). I can have the DME make sure both footplates are set just right and then I will get them pinned and then I will be able to adventure!!!

            Thanks...

        • #12
          Chanda: Something you commented on was a plan to use your chair on grass with both SmartDrive and FreeWheel attached. Just curious if any CC members have tried this.
          I have used FW on grass, manually pushing, and also FW on grass with ZX1 attached, and both worked great. I have not used the SD except for managing to drive it into the side of our house while trying out my husband's new one. The SD ended up rotated around, sitting way under the seat of my wheelchair - my husband had to get a chair for me to transfer to until he could unclamp the SD. My bad, not the SD's.


          Comment


          • Chanda
            Chanda commented
            Editing a comment
            Before I realized I needed to pin the footplate I took the setup for a spin. Worked amazingly (other than my footplate rotating). Super soft sand or dirt not so much. But that setup tackles all I need. I mean, not perfect, but WAY better than just my chair with nothing else on it!!!

            Most of the places that do these events know there will be ladies in heels and such so the locations are usually quite nice. Smooth firm grass. I normally had to just wheelie hop and make it to our area to work and then I felt trapped in there. But with the whole set up it will mean I'm able to cruise around and get food!

        • #13
          The SD isn't super effective off road. It's OK but suffers quickly on anything loose. Hard packed dirt, mowed grass, and stuff like that it's OK, not great, but it'll get you across it. It is also somewhat sensitive to dirt and debris getting into the lateral rollers and into the hub area of the drive wheel. Need compressed air to really clean it out well, else it starts getting gritty and noisy and that undoubtedly increases wear and tear on the moving bits.

          Ive never had it rotate under me, but Imagine that could happen if the front end of the chair is against an obstacle and it lifts the back wheels a bit when the SD is trying to move you forward. Although it took me a while to get used to the 'bump to start and stop' feature and Ive almost flipped myself a few times engaging accidentally!
          "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

          "Even what those with the greatest reputation for knowing it all claim to understand and defend are but opinions..." -Heraclitus, Fragments

          Comment


          • Chanda
            Chanda commented
            Editing a comment
            The SD have been great so far. I mean I have gone through some junk I thought I would never make it though and it was great. So far.
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