WSU GoBabyGo Modification - Snap Action Switch Steering Wheel

About: Students at Wichita State University run a program that modifies off-the-shelf ride-on toy cars for kids with disabilities. Our cars feature more technical builds with joysticks and arduinos. We post our ins...

Xavier is a very outgoing child that loves to be outdoors and enjoy life and doesn't let Down Syndrome stop him. It was our job to come up with a way to modify this toy ride-on car to make it easier for Xavier to use. Because his hands are small, we decided not to use a big red button on the steering wheel, but rather integrate a snap action switch so the steering wheel becomes the accelerator when pushed upon. We also put bright yellow tape to contrast the black steering wheel to make it stand out. With this new steering method, we hope that many other people can achieve what we did and do the same modifications so other vehicles can be customized for easier control.

DISCLAIMER: Not all vehicles are manufactured the same. The modifications that we made to this vehicle were specific to our model, so if your vehicle is not the same, try to apply the same principle behind an integrated snap action switch

Step 1: Needs/Materials

The things that we were going to need for our project were: A foam kick board so we could shape it to keep him in the corrected position, a snap action switch to integrate into the steering wheel to replace the foot pedals so he could use his hands to move, and an emergency stop switch so if he couldn’t control the vehicle his mother could stop him when needed.

· Best Ride On Cars Off Road SUV Battery Powered Riding Toy $222.86

· Foam Kickboard $7.89

· Emergency Stop (Toggle Switch) ~$6.00

· Snap Action Switch (Pressure Switch) ~$1.89

· #8-32 3/4" Bolt (1)

· #8-32 Hex Nut (6)

· (2) 22-16 AWG butt connectors to splice wires

· (2) 22-16 AWG #8 ring connectors

· about 3 feet 22-16 AWG wire

· #8-32 1" Bolt (2)

· 1/4" scrap wood (Medium Density Wood)

· Solder

· Duct Tape (Silver)

· 1/2" Electrical Tape

· 1/4" plywood

Tools

· Power Drill

· Band Saw

· Belt Sander

· Hand File (Rat Tail)

· Tool Kit (Includes items such as: Tape measure, different sized screw drivers, box cutter, hammer, level, ect.)

· Dremel Tool (Carving/Engraving Kit)

· Drill Bits

· Laser Cutter

· Electric Bread Cutter

· Soldering Iron

· Heat Gun

· Wire Cutters

· Wire Strippers

Step 2: Wiring From Accelerator to Switch

1. Take apart the acceleration pedal by unscrewing the bolts

2. Disconnect two wires attached to the pedal by cutting the end of the wires using wire cutters

3. Get same gauge wire, make sure you get enough to reach up and through the steering wheel, and strip all 4 ends using wire strippers

4. Warm up your soldering iron and solder the new wires to the ends of each wire leading to the back of the vehicle

5. Wrap each exposed wire with electrical tape

6. Test switch to make sure that the connection was successful

Step 3: Emergency Stop

1. Measure from the back of the vehicle 4 inches from the bottom and 1 inch from the left side

2. Mark the location with a sharpie

3. Drill 3/4 in hole with a power drill

4. Splice the wire to the battery and snap action switch using 2, 22-16 AWG butt connectors so you can disrupt the connection with the "flick of a switch"

5. Strip all 4 ends using the wire strippers

6. Solder new wires to each exposed end

7. Strip the ends of these wires too

8. Crimp 2, 22-16 AWG #8 ring connectors to these ends

9. Use the the toggle switch to determine which side disrupts the connection in the OFF position

10. Solder the ring connectors to the toggle switch

11. Tape the exposed ends so nothing is exposed

12. Put the toggle switch through the hole you made previously

13. Secure the face-plate on the outside of the vehicle by screwing it onto the switch (Making sure that the OFF and ON are in the correct position)

Step 4: Modifying the Steering Wheel

1. First, you have to take apart the entire dashboard as well as take of the mirrors and side doors using a Philips head screwdriver (Make sure to keep track of the screws and where the go, or you might end up with an unfinished vehicle)

2. Remove the steering wheel from the steering shaft with either a Philips or flathead screwdriver

3. Locate all of the screws on the bottom side of the steering wheel and remove all screws using a Philips head screwdriver (Put these in a cup or tape roll because you’re going to need these later)

4. Remove the top of the wheel and look down from the top, you should see 4 more screws

5. Take a Philips head screwdriver and remove the these 4 screws (We will no longer need these, but you can hold onto them if you would like)

6. Take out the center plastic steering shaft

7. Take 4, 2" long metal rods and make them concentric with each other (Just put the rods in the holes)

8. From the underside of the steering wheel, use a Philips head screwdriver and remove the 2 red buttons (We are doing this to make sure that the connections are soldered well)

9. Check both sides to make sure that the wires are soldered well and are not falling off (Ours were, so we had to re-solder the connection)

10. Reconnect the buttons with the screws that you removed previously

11. Use a Dremel tool to sand away a little of the plastic button to make room for the buttons to move (Your buttons might be “sticky” so doing this will cause them to be depressed easier)

12. Next get a piece of ¼ inch scrap wood that is roughly 3 inches wide and 3 inches in length

13. Trace the shape of the top of the steering shaft and mark the 4 holes on the wood (This way when we cut it out, we can keep the shape as close to perfect as we can for an exact fit)

14. Use a band saw, or jig saw, and cut the outline of the wooden shape out

15. Then use the drill press and drill xxxxxxxx inch holes in the wood where you marked earlier

16. Now use a size xxxxxxx drill bit to make a hole directly in the middle of the wood, or close to it (Just make sure not to drill into the hole we just made in the previous step)

17. Sand down the edges using a belt sander, but slowly so your shape doesn’t “disintegrate”

18. Take a flat head screwdriver and pop the chrome plastic piece off of the top of the steering wheel

19. You now want to align the wood to the top of the steering wheel, and use a drill press to drill a hole offset by about a quarter of an inch up and to the right (From the underside of the top piece)

20. Next take a xxxxxx ¾ inch bolt and secure that to the top of the steering wheel using the same sized nut (This will be used as a spacer)

21. Run the wires going from both buttons through the large hole in the center

22. Take the same size nut and secure the wooden piece to the underside of the steering wheel making sure not to secure too tightly so the wood doesn’t crack (This should fit because we removed some of the button as well as some plastic to make room for the wiring as well as this wooden piece)

23. Now set the top off to the side because we are basically finished with that part

24. Take the plastic steering shaft and use a xxxxxxx drill bit and drill a hole into the side of the top of the center steering shaft using a drill press (Make sure to go all the way through the center, but not through the bottom)

25. Put the plastic steering shaft on the 4 metal rods making sure to align the correct holes back into place (Look at the orientation of the plastic steering shaft from the top, the big hole goes on top)

26. Take the xxxxxxxx switch that we wired in the previous step and run it through the larger hole in bottom of the steering shaft to the top (You want it to sit on the top, and you want the lever to be pointed towards the center)

27. Use two small zip ties, one at a time, and run the zip ties through the holes that you drilled in the previous step and through the small holes in the xxxxxxx switch and around the outside, and then through the end of the zip tie (It does not matter which zip tie size you use, as long as it fits through the holes in the xxxxxxx switch and fits snuggly in the drilled holes)

28. When tightening the zip ties, go slow so you can readjust the xxxxxxxx switch if it moves

29. Put the steering shaft on metal rods in the correct orientation (You’ll know based on if the large hole is towards the top of the steering wheel)

30. Take 2 springs that are the same length as the rods and put them on the 2 rods on the left and right side of the steering wheel (Use what ever springs you like, but just remember it’s just a small kid, maybe with a disability and they are weaker at pushing)

31. Hot glue the button wires to the right underside of the wood (Opposite side of the xxxxxxxxx switch, this will prevent interference, and make it so the wood is what activates the xxxxxxx switch)

32. Hold it tightly together, making sure that the xxxxxx switch isn’t activated, if it is, readjust the insides such as removing the spacer from earlier, or use a smaller one

33. Once everything is in the clear, get the button wires through the big hole in the bottom of the steering shaft

34. Get those screws that you set off on the side from the first few steps we did, and use a Philips head screwdriver to put them all back into place

35. Stick the wires from the bottom of the steering wheel through the hole where the metal steering is sitting

36. Attach the speaker wires to the wires that go to the buttons

37. Turn on the vehicle to make sure that everything in the steering wheel was wired correctly before securing everything down

38. Put both pieces of the dashboard back together and put all of the screws back in their proper locations

39. Put the doors and mirrors back on before the dashboard, and secure the doors with screws

40. Now you have to attach the dashboard back on, so push the plastic locking pieces back through the holes

41. Then attach the window by doing the same process as you did with the dashboard

Step 5: Adjusting the Seat Dimensions

Adjust seat position

1.Unscrew the all bolts which is fixing the seat and the vehicle.

2.Adjust the location of the seat to forward to make the passenger able to reach to the stealing wheel easily.

3.Screw the bolts back to fix the seat

Place a foam kick board for straight posture

1.Measure the width of the seat

2.Cut a foam kick board with an electric bread cutter to the same size as the width of seat

3.Make two small holes to the backrest part to secure the kick board with zip-tied

4.Use a rope and zip-tied to secure the kick board

5.Hot glue the kick board for a little more extra security

Change the position of seat belt

1.Unscrew the all bolts which fixes the seat belt

2.Take the seat belt out

3.Mark the position of seat belt should be on the seat

4.Make slits for the seat belt at the position

5.Put the seat belt back in

6.Screw the bolts to re-fix the seat belt

7.Melt the end of belt using a heat gun so that it would not undo the seat belt.

Step 6: Creating Custom License Plate

1. Obtain a piece of 1/4" thick plywood

2. The first thing to do when using your laser cutter is to make sure that the focal length is adjusted

3. Next, open xxxxxxxx, this is your program that you create the image from to cut into your wood

4. A raster will create “volume” to your wood, while a vector will create a straight cut

5. You’ll want to raster the lettering and vector the edges as well as 2 holes on the sides

6. Create a rectangle, as well as the letter, and assign the specific cuts you want to be done to them

7. Then create to small circle on the sides, roughly in the middle on each edge with some space

8. Select all of the vectors and set the thickness to 1/1000 so that it creates a very thin cut instead of several big ones (Your shapes will look like they disappeared, but they are still there)

9. Save the final image, and export it to xxxxxxxxx, this software is what will be “reading” the constraints and creating the cuts

10. Open xxxxxxxxxx and set the values to match power of laser, material using, ect (Find this in a chart usually given by the manufacturer)

11. Now you are ready to cut, so turn your laser cutter on, as well as the vacuum so that way the excess doesn’t catch fire and so your cuts are “clean”

12. Let the machine do what it needs to, and after about 10 minutes you will have your custom license plate

13. Drill 2 holes roughly the same diameter as the holes in the wood

14. Take 2 ½ inch bolts of roughly the same diameter and secure the license plate the the back of the vehicle with nuts

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    5 Discussions

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    Alex in NZ

    4 weeks ago

    Neat bit of work on the steering wheel (and the car as a whole). Thank you for posting this :-)

    2 replies
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    WSUGoBabyGoAlex in NZ

    Reply 25 days ago

    Thanks for all your kind comments! Do you happen to do GoBabyGo work in NZ?

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    Alex in NZWSUGoBabyGo

    Reply 24 days ago

    No, I had not heard of the idea until this spate of projects, but they are all wonderful in both design and purpose. I'd seen some awesome wheelchair projects through tested.com, some of which were a tad impracticable, but these mini-cars looked great. Thank you for sharing them all and for making the cars to help kids :-)

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    audreyobscura

    4 weeks ago

    What a well-considered design for Xavier's needs and development! Thanks for sharing your story, research, and build on Instructables!

    1 reply