Powered Hitch-lift for Three-wheel Handcycle




About: I've been an experimental high-energy physicist for 20 years (since I started graduate school in 1988). I got my BS in physics from UCLA, my Ph.D. at Caltech, and did a post-doc at UBC before moving to SLAC...

Over the past decade or so, I've "designed" several projects, but have only built a couple. Consequently, I can't legitimately publish Instructables for my ideas, since I don't actually know whether they can be built. However, I can publish slideshows of the cool drawings I've made :-)

This is a design for a three-wheel handcycle, which is intended to be used without assistance by the rider, with a powered lift and lever-controlled actuator.

Technical Notes

All of these drawings were done using the Unix |xfig| utility.

My guess as to a "complete" parts list suggests that the project would cost well over $600, comparable to the price of a commercial "scooter lift" for a car.

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    4 Discussions


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm a particle physicist, not an engineer. One of my concerns with stuff like this is that I'm "overdesigning" based on my own inexperience. I would love to find a commercial (i.e., tested and debugged :-) lift that would do the job. We don't need the heavyweight lifts that scooters use (the bike only weighs 15-20 pounds, I think).


    I can see a few ways to adapt a design like this, I'm thinking something based on a car scissor jack and motor, maybe handy for large caravans, I know from experiences that lifting a fully loaded two tonne trailer to the hitch is both difficult and frustrating, boat trailers too I'd imagine, the rubbishy little screw handle jockey wheels never do survive that long, you could make one of these that simply has it's own jockey wheel and hinges away, it'd be easy enough to make and mean you're only doing the positioning which is difficult while bearing the weight, plus not everyone can lift it up to that height easily, especially if the trailer hitch is on the ground or is missing the handle - I once lifted one halfway up, the handle bolts sheared off and I smacked myself in the nadgers with the handle, not enjoyable. I know your design is based for something different but the idea popped in to my head seeing this. It'd be cool to see some projects from the drawing board to finished products.

    1 reply

    My design was actually inspired by commercial versions of the sort of products you mention: There are jacks you can by to mount on the corners of your RV trailer to level it and to raise it up for hitching. The scooter lifts usually use hydraulics or very expensive linear motion actuators.

    You wrote, "It'd be cool to see some projects from the drawing board to finished products." That's why I introduced this slide show the way I did. I have done a number of these sorts of project designs, but the only ones that have actually hit reality are my crib modification and my snowboard binding fixture. The rest are still just on paper.