A developing intentional community in SE Arizona
Electric Wheelbarrow Project
Living off the grid implies building off the grid and many assume that means building by human labor only, and lots of it. An alternative is to work smarter, not harder. If you're going to have solar electric in your dwelling, why not start with it and use the power to help build? One power tool that would come in handy is an electric assisted wheelbarrow. An advantage of a wheelbarrow over other vehicles is that it can go down a foot path allowing you to build on a site without building a road to it. Paths are not always level and pushing a loaded wheelbarrow up hill can easily exceed available human power. For the Thoreau Project a rock foundation will be needed. There's lots of rock in the nearby riverbed. Getting them from the river to the building site by human power only might be a deal breaker for some. An electric wheelbarrow would do most of the work, saving a lot of wear and tear on somebody. The uses for a powered wheelbarrow would be on going, and work is more likely to get done if much of the strain is alleviated.
The basic design is sketched below. A gearhead 350 watt motor intended for electric bicycles drives a large chainring with a small cog on it which drives the wheel in a two-stage drive train. This gets the RPMs down to walking speed.
Tilted up, large rocks could be rolled into it. The wheel is 16 inches for getting over bumps. Most of the wheelbarrow would be wood—plywood and 2x6s.
Above, the wheel cover and batter box can be seen within which are the reduction gearing.
The rear support folds up to avoid catching of vegetation along trails.
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