PDRacer Wheelbarrow To Trycycle Conversion
By Wes Lewis
It is said that "necessity is the mother of invention". The ink was barely dry on my recent "Wheelbarrow PDR" article before I decided I needed to modify my Duck's mode of land/shore transportation due to my inability to lift the Wheelbarrow handles!
After a recent surgery left me unable to lift more than ten pounds, I found myself unable to transport my Duck, and yet unwilling to wait until I healed in order to go boating again. I needed another way to move my PDR besides using my "Wheelbarrow" method until I regained my strength; I needed a method that even a child use; I needed a "Tricycle" PDR! So I invented some rear temporary wheels than can pop on and off as required which enable the Duck to be pushed about with a minimal amount of effort---and requiring no heavy lifting.
I started by thinking about what I wanted...and didn't want. I wanted something I could put on and off easily withoug having to lift more than ten pounds. I wanted it as simple as I could make it (read "cheap and fast-build"). I wanted it to pin in place---quick and temporary. I didn't want to have to buy anything (no time to drive to town for parts). I didn't want to spend more than one afternoon making it---we would be taking the PDR out the next day. With a rough idea of what I wanted and a survey of parts on hand, I jumped in.
I figured I could try to use a wood 2 x 4 to support a metal axle and have two 2 x 4 arms holding the axle in place against the sides of the boat. If I angled the arms about 45 degrees forward, they should lock the axle in place with a single pin on top of the arms.
I started by scrounging up two pneumatic, ten inch diameter wheels abandoned from an earlier project. I didn't have a solid steel axle that was four feet wide to span the Duck, but I did have a half inch diameter copper pipe from an old plumbing project---that would have to do. I hope it can stand the load. Next, I cut a four foot long 2 x 4 to support the axle/pipe and ripped a groove in it length-wise 1/2 inch wide by 1/2 inch deep using my radial arm saw. My thinking was that this was necessary to distribute the load and because I was using a rather weak pipe (copper plumbing pipe); a steel rod might work fine without this step. The axle/pipe was then laid in this groove and secured with a three inch strip of 1/4 inch plywood screwed on top of it. Two 2 x 4 arms were then rough-cut about 33 inches long and I drilled 1/2 inch diameter holes into the ends about 1.5 inches up to accept the axle/pipe. I slid the wheels on the pipe/axle and laid the whole thing out loosly on the ground to size it up.
A long 2 x 4 was used as a lever to raise the rear left and right sides of the PDR up to set it on blocks so I could slide the axle/arms assembly under the boat for a test fit. The 2 x 4 lever won't be necessary for lifting most boats, but since I was limited to the ten pound rule by Doctor's orders....I wasn't going to risk injuring myself. Who was the guy that said he could move the world with a long enough lever?
I rotated the arms up to determine the final arm length and the angle required to be cut on the top of the 2 x 4's so that they would match the boat gunwales. After cutting them, I simply drilled a 5/16 inch diameter hole in the top sides of the 2 x 4's and through the sides of the Duck to receive a large nail (the hole is high and won't draw water). This very effectively pins the arms in place, and with the boats' weight on the axle and against the pinned arm, it makes a very secure arrangement that won't allow the axle to slip backwards.
It workes great! I was able to push the PDR out of the barn and up a small slope easily. I'll cut down a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood to use as a ramp tomorrow to load the PDR into our horse trailer and off to the Lake we'll go! Once the Duck is in the water and the load is off the running gear, it will be easy to remove the wheel assembly. I'll post a follow-up article with Lake pictures next week!
Wes Lewis 5-7-12
PDR 346 "Laurie Lee"