Introduction: Shopping Cart Chair

Turn a shopping cart into a comfortable stylish wheelchair!
You'll be amazed what a nice chair you end up with.
As seen in Make Magazine volume 07
by Tim Anderson, photos by Jen Munch.

Now on Know How! Click on the steps above for more details.



Do you like this Instructable? Digg it! Then check out episodes one, three, four, five, six, and
seven!

Step 1: Find a Cart

The shopping cart. Visitors to the United States are astounded by our shopping carts, which are the largest in the world. Also amazing is their abundance miles from the stores from which they came. No homeless person will ever want for a shopping cart.

The best selection of shopping carts will be found near a "redemption center" where homeless people get paid for recycled soft drink containers.

Step 2: Through Destruction Comes Creation

Look for a shopping cart that really wants to be a chair. You won't have to cut or bend much to release the inner chair.

Let's get started. Pound, twist, and pull out the retaining rods and remove the front bumpers.

Save them. One can be used later to cover the front edge of the seat

Step 3: Plan Ahead

Plan the cuts you will make in the wire basket. Blue tape marks where the cuts will be made.

Iron origami magic will make nice arms from those weird projections. This particular cart had very high sides,

so I thought I'd try a new style of arm bending. I've been making these things for a couple of decades, but there is always something new to try.

Step 4: Cut It Up

I'm using a sawzall to cut along the lines. A hacksaw, bolt cutter or angle grinder work well also.

The right chair design will require few cuts. The chair is already there. You're just releasing it.

Step 5: (Neat Trick)

Here's how to keep your power cord from pulling out of the extension cord.

Step 6: Bend the Arms

Clamp a couple of boards to make the crease of the bend happen where you want it.

This was a tricky diagonal bend and it took a lot of leverage from the long sticks to make it happen.

Note that bending the metal work-hardens it. It's very difficult to change if you bend it wrong.

Step 7: Curve the Arms

For the next bend I made a tool from pipes and bolted it onto the protruding arm piece.

Step 8: Clean It Up

Clamp a couple of boards on the front edge of the chair and bend it down.

File all of the burrs off the ends of the cut wires.

Step 9: Finish the Front.

Clamp a couple of boards on the front edge of the chair and bend it down.

Step 10: Alternative Method of Finishing the Front Edge

Carve the inner projections of the bumper so they'll fit over the wire and
slide the retaining rod through the holes.

File all of the burrs off the ends of the cut wires.

Step 11: And Now You Have a Chair.

Two different chairs, two different styles. Don't leave them outside though, because they will rust.

Comments

author
Simran Sharma (author)2015-12-11

What a creative idea

author
crispernakisan made it! (author)2014-09-19

Howdy! My kiddos and I actually made a pair of these a few years ago, inspired by your segment on the first episode of Make: Television. I'm getting ready to enter our (um, I mean your) chairs in the Remix contest... keep your fingers crossed. And thanks again for the great idea!

Bradburn.jpg
author
ilpug made it! (author)2014-02-02

Here we go, chilling in my new chair!

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author
TheLodgeShop (author)2011-11-21

such a creative idea.

author
uber man (author)2010-03-28

Sorry dude, I think you did a fantastic job with this but I use a wheelchair and I would not like to use this for more than 5 minutes. It looks MEGA UNCOMFOTABLE. Cool idea though!

P.S Am trying to make an "awesomechair" with ipod speakers, snack compartment, dvd player and a fold out table. Any ideas???    

author
TimAnderson (author)uber man2010-03-30

How about a hand crank bike unit like this one I saw in Nicaragua?
Or hand cranks on the wheels like that "big wheel" plastic trike competitor,
"the thing" I think it was called?

IMG_0324c.jpgIMG_0325c.jpg
author
suayres (author)TimAnderson2011-06-06

I would sure love an 'bile to make a hand-crank trike! I have knee & hip problems, but would love to be able to cycle (and I never have ridden a bike--long story short, klutz genes)--it's pretty good exercise. My hub is pretty handy, once you get him going. So, were those ones made with shopping-cart hybridization, or what? The picture looks like the back part is a wheelchair?

author
onrust (author)2010-08-24

There is cool and then there is F'n cool! I once mounted a kitchen sink in a shopping cart......... I thought that was cool but the security device beeped sporadically and scarred me!

author
kcls (author)2010-02-07

This is great! We always make jokes about the carts laying out on the side of the road being asleep after a wild party they had:) Hey, its the little things in life.

author
katmckee (author)2009-10-21

I think the doge would have enjoyed the chair... he could have wheeled around under the papal chapel enjoying the frescoes with the pope on his lap. I got to ride in one back at miters long ago, it was cool. Great video!

author
Salsa766 (author)2009-10-18

 looks uncomfortable

author
mrmath (author)2007-05-02

Where do you get a used shopping cart? I mean, if you just took one, you'd be, well, stealing. Where did you get such a special little girl? She's soooo cute!

author
skids927 (author)mrmath2007-05-02

Your point is? Walmart is making enough profit already, they can afford a few missing shopping carts.

author
DavidKaine (author)skids9272009-07-26

Walmart actually doesn't make much net profit. There is so little profit margin between what they buy an item for and what they sell it for that the only reason they make a profit at all is because of how many stores they have. If they only had one or two stores open, they'd never make it. This is why walmart stock is considered "high risk." Most of the gross profit they make is used up in overhead, such as property taxes, employee wages, and replacing stolen shopping carts.

author
mrmath (author)skids9272007-05-02

Just because a company makes "enough profit", doesn't mean that stealing from them is right.

author
TimAnderson (author)mrmath2007-05-02

Don't worry, none of these shopping carts are stolen. However all the land seen in these photos and videos is stolen. It is the U.S. after all.

author
ironsmiter (author)TimAnderson2007-05-06

once again, the immoral vs illegal squeaks in here... the US was , from time before records, acquired through conquest. One invading group, from the other... MOST of the current us was purchased with cash. :-) the rest of the post-13 colonies falls under the 5th amendment provision for "private property be taken for public use, without just compensation" said compensation being, at the time... land in the form of reservations. Not to say it's right, just the way things were. Good to know that the carts weren't stolen though :-)

author
Goodhart (author)ironsmiter2009-06-20

Native Americans never felt that they "owned the land in any way.

author
grantdevine (author)ironsmiter2009-01-07

Isn't the Fifth Amendment the right to not incriminate yourself? As in "to plead the fifth"?

author
ironsmiter (author)grantdevine2009-01-07

That's only PART of that particular amendment.

"Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791.

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

author
mrmath (author)grantdevine2009-01-07

Yes that is part of the 5th, but here's the full text: Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings. Ratified 12/15/1791. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

author
stevoIution (author)mrmath2007-05-03

Ohhhh it's wrong to steal 0.000001% of a massive company's stuff, watch out for karma man. I'm crying now. Let's all stop stealing and go to church to worship our non-existent gods.

author
mrmath (author)stevoIution2007-05-03

Try that defense when you're facing jail time, or a fine, or community service or whatever. It won't work. We all live in a society where stealing, regardless of why, how much, and who it's being stolen from, is wrong. While it may be based, in many cases, in belief in a specific god (or God), it's the law of the land you live in.

author
stevoIution (author)mrmath2007-05-05

Duly noted. Who would have thought that someone with the name mr math would be intelligent.

author
mrmath (author)stevoIution2007-05-05

I don't know if I'm intelligent or if I just have intelligent moments :)

author
skids927 (author)mrmath2007-05-03

The fact that they schedule just under full time to make more profit by leaving out benefits and screwing their employees in the long run isn't right, but you don't see them hesitating a bit, do you?

author
mrmath (author)skids9272007-05-05

What they do is morally wrong, yes, but not illegal. Stealing from them may or may not be morally wrong, but it's definately illegal. If you have an issue with the way they do business, take yours elsewhere. That's perfectly legal.

author
wombat7 (author)mrmath2007-05-02

it just means you feel a little bit better about the stealing.

author
karen608 (author)skids9272007-05-03

Hey in small town america, you can buy older smaller shopping carts from little stores that close down. Just no place on them for a child to sit by the handle. At the dime store here they are called by the owner Bas-carts (basket carts). Must be old terminology. No need to steal, really. Ask a store, and if any are wearing out, they might sell it to you cheap.

author
LasVegas (author)skids9272007-05-02

That is a Mervins (Target) shopping cart. Unless it was purchased as surplus or damaged goods, it's stealing. Not from the company that owned it, but from you and I, in the form of higher prices to cover the cost of stolen merchandise. Not that I have any lost love of Mervins... The last time I was there, the store was so filthy, I decided against making my purchase and left.

author
TimAnderson (author)mrmath2007-05-02

No Stealing please. Lawyers among us can explain how to lawfully take them as salvage, abandoned, or discarded property. It might look very much the same to a layman. Can someone fresh from a bar review class enlighten the multitudes? You can get new seconds shopping carts for about $70 from the factory. The mfg co. usually stamps their contact info on them, to find such an outfit near you just look at some carts. And as for the little girl, she is the angel of shopping cart chairs. She appears in a penumbra of radiance whenever you finish a chair to bless it.

author
grantdevine (author)TimAnderson2009-01-07

Law breaking or no, if wanted to build one of these chairs (which I very well might) I won't be buying the cart for $70, I could buy several new chairs for that. Besides, Grand Theft Cart is just too cool to pass up XD

author
sensoryhouse (author)2009-05-21

Man....Safeway probably has a hit out on you.

author
strmrnnr (author)2009-04-15

Have you seen the cart bike? This is where the guy replaced the front wheel of his peddle bike with a shopping cart. Put the two of these together and the Ricksaw guys will be screaming murder. "You are stealing our business!" Likely the cabbies if the bar district will dislike you for stealing the short runs. I like it.

author
madara009 (author)2008-09-13

hmmm i think ill do it...excuse me while i go to targrt to steal a cart.....

author
Bartboy (author)2008-09-05

now, if it just had a motor...

author
derttiej (author)2008-06-03

i call this the bum chair, im going to steal some carts and make a couple and put old wicker furniture cushions on it and pass them out to the homeless..

author
haptotrope (author)2007-09-07

This would be the time to crac out the shopping bag weaving, and upholster that. PS. LOVE this chair... its very comfy.

author
stasterisk (author)haptotrope2008-03-02

hey hapto!

author
ArtisticBabe (author)2007-10-10

I love how in the vid the sexy shop guy has like no idea of what hes going to do next, like "I'll use this vice grip....No! A wood grip! Yes!". I love it! Plus the sexy dude is rocking the crocs.

author
sleeping_gecko (author)2007-06-06

I like that idea. So much so that I use a slightly modified version. I hold the ext. cord female end next to the male end of the cord to be plugged in, with the cords running parallel the same way, then tie a knot (with both cords together like 1 strand). In other words, it starts like this:



and ends like
/-\
==X B
\-/
(Where x is the knot and the B is the connection.)

This way, the tension is on the knot, so it doesn't put much pressure/stress on the cord-to-plug joint.

author
poptop (author)2007-05-10

If you want a cart just go to whatever store and ask if they have any damaged carts.They will probably give it to you or sell it to you for next to nothing. Thats what i did.

author
StepsoftheSun (author)poptop2007-05-24

...How do they get damaged? I'm trying to think of what shoppers could do to a metal cart to break it. Maybe the wheels are damaged? Crushed between two cars?

author
Thunderexpress (author)2007-05-12

In my neighbourhood theres shopping carts everywhere, alot of people who don't have cars use them. And if you find one that isn't near a store it aint stealing its just not doing the responsible thing. I don't feel bad for taking a shopping cart that is no where near any store.

author
sandy1862 (author)2007-05-05

your video doesn't play all the way through. how can i watch the rest of it?

author
lexx_icon (author)2007-05-02

It would be cool to take advantage of the way shopping carts fit into each other and make a chaise lounge/ movable ottoman by cutting down all the sides of a cart.

author
nagutron (author)2007-05-02

Cool video, Tim. Where can we see the whole series?

author
jeffreyf (author)nagutron2007-05-02

You can click on the "Watch Know How" banner on the upper right, or go to the Know How group. They'll be added as they're released.

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Bio: Tim Anderson is the author of the "Heirloom Technology" column in Make Magazine. He is co-founder of www.zcorp.com, manufacturers of "3D Printer" output ... More »
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