The whole story about the wheelbarrow-wheelchair:

(If you can’t wait, see the result at the end of this page!)

I got a mail from Kenya about “developing  a low-cost, foldable, off-road wheel chairs for disabled children in rural Africa” at spring 2015.

That is why I got the idea with the wheelbarrow. Well, investigating, I saw a photo of a wheelbarrow race in Kenia :)

I think that this wheelchair could fulfill more ore less all those points:
– low-cost (a wheelbarrow isn’t to expensive and if necessary second hand wheelbarrows could be used)
– off-road (the front wheel using the one of the wheelbarrow, the rear wheels (Try to get used ones, incl. the mounts) should be using mountainbike tires . The tube of wheelbarrows normally is very strong and made of steel, what makes it weldable!)
– for children (that is is the main point, as it is needed to know for whom it is, then you can bend the frame exactly for the needs)
– foldable (I thought attachable, if foldable is very important, I guess it is possible, but more expensive!)

Anyway, I liked my idea :)


Sorry, my drawing isn’t to good, but it explains my idea!

… and a good half a year later (January 2016) …

We realized the “wheelbarrow-wheelchair” in Mexico. Build and tested for and by the 9-year old double amputee Charly, by a local welder, with standard tools (no high tech), with local material (more or less 50 Euro, except the rear wheelchair wheels). All organized, bought, build and tested in only 3 days.

With more time planing, my guess is, that we could build faster and cheaper!

Left side you see what we bought, and 3 days later we had build thewheelchair on the right side



It prooves, the wheelchair based on a wheelbarrow works!


Video with the 9-year old amputee Charly, our test pilot!



I hope there is going to be a video on how we built this “wheelbarrow-wheelchair”, but meanwile some comments.


The wheelchair was built in 2 days, including the planing, buying and testing  in 3.

The building was made in a pretty basic way, by a good welder (Jose) who normally does windows and ironwork.

He used the tools he had and could carry, like electric welder, cutter, drill and angle grinder.

The place we used, was a private parking lot with a concrete surface and a wonderful view :) made availiable to us by Jorge!


The Building itself is to be seen in 4 parts:

  • The 2 main side tubes are looking a bit like short stairs. We use the wheelbarrows frametubes, cut them and together with flat steel we welded the new main tubes of the wheelchair. Important: we need to build 2 equal main tubes! (With better planing we wouldn’t cut all in pieces, just cut angles to bend)
  • As we don’t know the exact horizontal position of the big rear wheels, next we built the adjustment system to adjust and attach the big rear wheels. (This could be done cheaper and easier, too)
  • The struts to connect the 2 main tubes. We bent/welded flat steel, one behind the backrest and one under the seat base. As last strut we used 2 square tubes as footrest.
  • The front wheel gallows and the finishing, like side protection and seating base. The big wheelbarrow wheel can pass the most hurdles. So we just had to made sure it gets pulled. As the wheel uses an outer lane, it helps the wheelchair not to fall easy, when it turns. A metal sheet othe wheelbarrow tub and flat steel is used as side protection. And as seating and backrest base we used a rope.


We tried to build everything parallel and with the right (mostly) 90° angles, but as we had’nt the equipment therefor, it was not very exact.

As the wheelchair just works with 3 wheels and the seating base is a rope, it doesn’t matter to much. The chair works fine.


One word about its necessity:

Maybe some NGO’s have cheaper wheelchairs, but what if there is no NGO, or no one donating?

Our material costs with new parts were ~ 50 Euro. Except the rear wheelchair wheels.

It is right, maybe they are not cheap and not everywhere availiable, but it is easier to get 2 wheels

than a complete chair. And maybe there are some used wheelchair wheels.

In our case it was not necessary, but it should be possible to use bicycle wheels.

The idea was to build a wheelchair specially for a certain users (like kids),

locally almost everywhere (where you can get a wheelbarrow) and for outdoor use.

The wheelbarrow-wheelchair never was ment to compete against NGO wheelchairs, we see it as additional option.


And this is open source. So go for it and build one :)

More info about the wheelbarrow-wheelchair is going to come.

Meanwhile, just mail me to