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Wheelbarrow 2.0

1.0 Needs improving
  [vote for,

While [Schematics] and I were hauling gravel and sand, we noticed that some major improvements could be made to the standard wheelbarrow.

Firstly: 1 wheel is good for maneuverability, but 2 wheels provides stability. So, have 2 wheels close together, where 1 wheel would normally be (for maneuverability), but can optionally be moved far apart for a wider wheel base (stability).

Secondly: I'm not sure if brakes on a wheelbarrow is baked, but have them anyway.

Thirdly: Where the 'legs' are (those things near the wheelbarrowee), they would be placed rather wide, as wide as is possible, but not wider then the bucket. Optional caster wheels can fold down from the legs for easier operation on a flat surface. (for old people who can't lift heavy loads)

Fourthly: The handles would be able to move up/down, to accomodate for short/tall wheelbarrow users.

Fifthly: (my favorite) a small door in the bottom of the barrow to allow for easy dumping of its contents. The door would open and close on a simple lever system. and probably have to be watertight.

Sixthly: Shocks! Now I know you're thinking they won't work because the weight of the wheelbarrows contents is too much. But the shocks would be optional and have a range of weights...0-50 lbs, 51-100lbs, 101-200lbs, 201+lbs. That way the buyer just buys the shocks that would suit their needs. Or doesn't buy them at all.

Seventhly: the little bar infront of the wheel would have to be adjustable. ie. up high, or near the ground, or right off completely.

Eighthly: Headlight for working at night, maybe battery powered or dynamo from the wheel(s).

Ninethly: Bigger wheels then most wheelbarrows, but I don't know if that can be considered an option.

Any suggestions for other wheelbarrow attachments/options?

swimr, Aug 08 2004

Better (much better) Wheelbarrow http://www.shepnell.com/carts.htm
.. the Mullers Cart rocks! (i.e., doesn't) .. [bpilot, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Wheelbarrow http://www.lgwheell...ed-wheelbarrow.html
Power wheelbarrow [flula, Apr 06 2010]


       A motor?
DrCurry, Aug 08 2004

       A motor is pushing it (literally), but maybe. I was thinking of some kind of regenerative braking with a spring to help start it up.
swimr, Aug 08 2004

       Motorized wheelbarrow: baked.
Wheelbarrows with 2 wheels: baked.
Wheelbarrows with brakes: baked.
half, Aug 08 2004

       Tenthly: an ergonomic handle shaped like a shovel grip but at a thirty degree or so angle like a curling bar but swings freely downwards for easy dumping when the flap is not useful.   

       Eleventhly: Caliper type hand brakes for control & precise use on slopes or ramps. Helpful for oldsters who must go a bit then rest a bit.
babaluch, Aug 08 2004

       Twelfthly: A seat. No wait, that would make it a tractor.
angel, Aug 09 2004

       Thirteenthly: Once you lift up the barrow, you don't need the legs anymore (and in fact, they hit the ground if you get tired and start to slouch.) So maybe add a kind of "kickstand" that you can kick to raise the legs up.
phundug, Aug 09 2004

       Fourteenthly: Spring-loaded material ejector.
Worldgineer, Aug 09 2004

       I like the original wheelbarrow. It is beautiful in it's simplicity and functionality. When you throw all these features at it, it just means that it will be broken when you actually need it.   

       It's too bad that most wheelbarrows you can buy are poorly designed. I used a really nice one once that was probably older than I was. It seems like the way our economy works, stuff has to have tons of features or be so dirt cheap that it is poorly designed by some manufacturing engineer who has rarely used the product being designed. In most cases he's probably just making a rough copy of an existing design but leaving out any feature that he doesn't understand as long as doing so will save a penny on the manufacturing cost.   

       1) If your one-wheel weelbarrow is unstable it means it is overloaded; it is not rigid enough; or the handles are poorly placed so that the load is too high above them. One wheel handles uneven terrain and narrow ramps beautifully.   

       2) Sure brakes would be handy on your typical wheelbarrow today, but the reason I've wanted them was because my hands got tired trying to hold the wheelbarrow back. If there is a slight downward curve near the end of the handles, it makes it pretty easy to hold back any reasonable load on any reasonable slope. If that's not enough, it's probably dangerous even if you do have brakes.   

       3) If you have castors, you NEED brakes, and you can't roll it over anything but very smooth ground anyway. For people who can't handle a wheelbarrow, there are other thypes of carts that can work much better than a wheelbarrow with castors. Wider leg spacing might be a good idea.   

       4) Sure it would be nice if it was perfectly sized for the person using it, but as long as the front "bumper" is designed to that it doesn't catch in the dirt when a tall person uses it, it doesn't really make much difference if you have to lift it 3 inches or a foot and a half.   

       5) I can't imagine any mechanism that would allow dumping easier than tipping the wheelbarrow up on it's nose. Of course most wheelbarrows now are designed with the front tire so far in front that it takes a lot of work to lift it. I assume that's for liability purposes since a more balanced wheelbarrow will tip over if improperly loaded.   

       6) Yes, you'll need shocks and a good suspension system if you want two wheels. The pneumatic tire seems like plenty of suspension to me.   

       7) The bar (what I previously called the bumper) could be adjustable, but as long as it is high enough that it doesn't catch when it shouldn't (while hopping a low curb for example), and the load is balanced enough that it's not too hard to lift it high enough to catch the bumper when you want to use it for dumping, it doesn't need to be adjustable.   

       8) If you're working at night I think you'd be better off buying a floodlight for the whole work site or a using a headlamp rather than trying to mount headlights on all of your tools.   

       The first part of idea 3 (wider leg spacing) and 9 (larger diameter wheel) are worth considering.   

       Sorry, rant over now...
scad mientist, Aug 09 2004

       Twohundredandtwentysevently: man portable cold fusion generator to replace standard hybrid biodeisel/electric motor.</sarcasm>   

       Are all of these really nescesary? It seems that the fully featured wheelbarrow 2.0 will be out of most peoples price range.
RobertKidney, Aug 09 2004

       A regular wheelbarrow is strong and economical in design. There its advantages end; in use it stinks. My problem with the standard wheelbarrow is that it's topheavy. The load sits in a vessel sitting atop the two struts that form the handles. It just wants to tip. It is *not* maneuverable; the turning point is out in front of the load. On a cart with two side-mounted wheels (see link), the turning point is under the load and you can spin almost in place. It can't tip, yet it's easy to dump out. I don't see a need for suspension, unless you have a highly sensitive load of gravel to move. It just adds more resistance for the user. Lights could be a useful option at some job sites. Adjustable-height handles seems like a good idea. Brakes and big wheels are excellent and baked.
bpilot, Aug 09 2004

       Good link. That is the type of thing I was thinking about in my point 3 above. These are useful carts, and for many purposes they are better than a wheelbarrow. They are great for working around the lawn or some other area that is fairly level, smooth, and clear of obstacles. My grandmother had one very similar to this, but she didn't have a regular wheelbarrow. At times it was very annoying.   

       With one wheel, bumps make the load jump up and down vertically. With two, one wheel hits a bump and the things almost tips over (unless you're going slow enough or it has a good enough suspension). With one wheel, traversing a steep side slope is a non-issue. With two, you'd better hope the load is loaded low enough no to tip over, and certainly don't try to corner too fast. Yes a two wheeled cart can and will tip over. With one wheel, the ground can be littered with debris with only a 6 inch wide path that's passable.   

       You're right that there is some inherant instability in a wheelbarrow. But just like the instablity of a bicycle, as long as you don't let it get out of control it isn't a problem. Of course a cheap wheelbarrow that's not stiff enough will twist as the load gets out of balance, requiring overcorrection to keep it balanced. If you've never used a good one, I can see why you'd say they are too unstable.
scad mientist, Aug 11 2004


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