I want to build a portable ramp to enable a disability scooter access to the
house. It would need to be able to withstand a lot of weight, I was thinking
of timber base clad in sheet metal of some sort. Is it feasable? Any idea
where to buy one-off sheet of metal?
Is the ramp being left outside or brought under shelter after use? How
heavy do you want it to be, so you can move it around easily? What type of
access is in place, and will the ramp need to fit around this?
A ramp can be made with a simple lift up and lock sheet of plywood is the
existing area is suitable. For steps, for example, the need for heavy
structured ramps is just over engineering, and a few simple blocks of timber
covered with flooring grade chip-board can be made way strong enough. This
keeps the weight of the whole thing to a limit that is also easy to remove
and replace when necessary. Steps are the easiest to bridge, as all that's
really needed is a couple, or three, wedges of timber to fit snug over the
steps. The wedges are then glued and screwed to the bit of chip-board
flooring so that they match up with the steps.
Chip-board flooring will take loads of weight over short lengths, so if the
steps are three feet (1mtr) in width, then three wedges spaced along the
board to match sides and centre of the step is plenty to take many stones of
body bulk. Remember that it might look strong with all that metal, but
it'll also be a hell of a lot heavier to move around. Timber structures can
be just as robust, and are an awful lot lighter to carry around.
The ramp will have to be pick-up-able, since we live in a tealeaf area
(anything liftable gets lifted <ahem>)
It will have to reach from the front door, down one step, and onto the path.
The doorway is the standard 3ft methinks.
The drop from the front door to the path (if the step weren't there) would
be about 14 inches.
A fold up ramp is an ingenious idea - thankyou :)
You've given me plenty to chew on. I think I'll be paying a visit to B&Q
All the best,
Sheet steel will just add weight, not (the right kind of) strength. Chipboard
as suggested will be susceptible to damage when moved or when wet so I
would suggest a strongly made wooden frame (2x2" perhaps 2x1" will do if
correctly designed) with something like 12mm ply facings. Exterior grade
suitably varnished will make it weather resistant. You'll probably need to
reduce the thickness of the leading edge to make a smooth transition so a
metal strip could be useful there for strengthening, see Metal
Supermarkets (a franchise) under steel stockholders in your yellow pages
for local sheet suppliers with no minimum charge. Just watch the weight.
If you're worried about tea leafing/vandalism then look for ways to add a
padlock and chain, a 1m x 16mm metal spike hammered into the ground
is difficult to move and will cost just a couple of quid from the steel supplier
but you'll need to have it heated then hammered flat & drilled to take a
padlock. 20mm would do too & would save you having it flattened as it
would take an 8mm hole for a padlock with room to spare.
A rise of 14 inches will need a ramp of about (one) 1 mtr in length from
ground to top of steps. This will give a nice gradual rise for the scooter
to climb without struggling.
A good way is to put three wedge shaped timbers under the main plate, just
enough to fit snuggly on top of the steps and on the ground at the very
start of the ramp. Position the wedges at either edge of the steps, and
then place some the down the middle. Try to get the spacing less than 17
inches between for best strength.
These scooters are designed to climb low steps, so the bottom of the ramp
doesn't need to fit exactly to the ground, and the leading edge of
chip-board flooring is only small, so you'll have no problem getting the
scooter to start the climb.
Start by making your main plate to the shape and sizes you need. As I said,
a length of (one) 1 mtr from top to bottom will be ample. Lay the cut plate
on the top step and rest the other end on the ground, so it forms the shape
of the finished ramp. Measure under each edge, from step to under side of
the main plate. Do these measurements at the back and the front of each
step. This gives you the sizes to cut your wedges to shape, and they should
fit nicely between the main plate and the steps. Do this for all the wedge
shaped gaps you see, formed by the main plate resting in its final position.
Easy, eh? Plenty strong enough, and plenty light weight enough to lift away
when needed. Good luck with it.
Cheers Andy - we have been on the waiting list for a ramp for 4 months now,
and we've yet to wait a good few months more; meanwhile, we are struggling
like eck to get the scooter in and out the front door. It's a tealeaf area,
so nothing can be left outside, unfortunately :(
A timber top surface will very quickly get manky and slippery when wet.
Consider as a top surface, aluminium chequer plate, which will probably be
available from your local scrap metal dealer. Looks good, drains quickly,
stronger than it looks.
Lots of taxis carry an aluminium ramp. It may be just what you want.
|I want to build a portable ramp to enable a disability scooter access to
| house. It would need to be able to withstand a lot of weight, I was
| of timber base clad in sheet metal of some sort. Is it feasable? Any idea
| where to buy one-off sheet of metal?
I built one for my parents, There was only 1 step but I used outdoor grade
25 mm ply. It was 3ft wide and had one big triangular support at each side.
That was bout 6 years ago and it's still going strong. I also painted it
with step paint that has sand in it to provide a grip.
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