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Build a stair lift?

Discussion in 'Other Builds' started by jeffmorris, Jan 13, 2019.

  1. jeffmorris

    jeffmorris Veteran
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    My mother fall down the stairs and broke her leg. I found out that a stair lift costs $3,000 or more and that medical insurance won't pay for it. I searched the Internet and found a few home-built stair lifts using rails, wheels, a winch, and plywood. I'm not sure if C-Beams and carriage kits are strong enough for carrying people. Is this possible?
     
  2. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Probably not a good idea but just for the sake of discussion how much height is required and how much weight do you need to lift?
     
  3. David the swarfer

    David the swarfer OpenBuilds Team
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    the reason those lifts are expensive is because of the safety that is built in.
    the chair has to be able to take a large person flopping down onto it. this represents a large dynamic force, maybe as much as a ton and I really do think that openbuilds rails are the wrong thing for this.

    I would look at heavy duty rail systems such as those used for sliding doors
     
  4. jeffmorris

    jeffmorris Veteran
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    I visited the website and while the rail system is better, I would like wheels on top and bottom of rails for safety reasons, using carriages similar to those shown at Gantry Carts - OpenBuilds Part Store
     
  5. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Figuring a good safe load of 25 pounds per carriage and assuming a 200 pound load and about 8 lengths of 1500mm C-beam plus necessary crossmembers and connectors you're at about $1200 and this doesn't include the price of the winch or the cart.

    If you're truly looking for economy I would suggest this design with the modification of using an appropriately sized aluminum C-channel set vertically as the rails. This will capture the wheels, preventing uplift.
     
  6. jeffmorris

    jeffmorris Veteran
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    I watched that video and I'm not sure about building that stair lift. Do I need to set the C-channel so that it touches the top of the wheels on the cart?
     
  7. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Actually I was just referring to trapped wheels. This will prevent the chair from lifting out of the track.

    trapped wheel.jpg
    The wheels should be just slightly smaller than the internal dimension of the channel.
     
  8. jeffmorris

    jeffmorris Veteran
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    I know that McMaster-Carr has CAD files for most of their products. C-Channels are usually sized by their outside dimensions. How can I find out the inside dimensions?
     
  9. jeffmorris

    jeffmorris Veteran
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    I know that McMaster-Carr has CAD files for most of their products. C-Channels are usually sized by their outside dimensions. How can I find out the inside dimensions?
     
  10. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    Actually McMaster gives that information in its charts. Onlinemetals and Midweststeelsupply have similar offerings. You may be able to find it locally though and save substantially on shipping (as well as get full size lengths). I randomly selected 2x1.25 as it seemed about right but I have no idea what size wheels are readily available.
     
  11. jeffmorris

    jeffmorris Veteran
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    What about garage door tracks and wheels?
     
  12. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    As a short term solution would probably be okay. Just remember on an OHD each wheel only holds 20-25 pounds so design accordingly. They're also fairly loose on the axle so they will wobble a bit more than skateboard wheels which may not instill confidence in the rider. Support the track fairly often to prevent any lateral flex. The main thing here is to test, test, and test again before allowing a human rider. Suggestions online are just that, suggestions. It is up to you to truly determine viability.
     
  13. jeffmorris

    jeffmorris Veteran
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    What about roller coaster tracks and wheels? I tried to search the Internet for info on how the wheels are attached to cars so that the wheels can turn with the tracks. If this is possible, from the second floor, there is one flight of stairs to a landing, turns right, goes down one step, turns left, goes down half a flight of stairs to a landing where the front door is, makes U-turn to left and goes down another half a flight of stairs to ground floor where there is a garage.
     
  14. Rick 2.0

    Rick 2.0 OpenBuilds Team
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    That's way too complex for amateur work.
     

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