Next step: Low Fun Cart

Low Fun Cart (LFC) = lower funicular cart.

I have to make one of those.  I am going to use some of the HUGE angle track that I have left over from previous projects.   It is heavy stuff.  I will make the base of the cart from that.  I estimate the lower half of the cart will weigh about 500 pounds when it is done.   The top larger half will weigh around 150 – 200 pounds because it is made of lighter gauge, smaller dimensional steel.

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Drilling and bolting the funicular base together

I will use the heavy stuff for the lower half of the cart where the weight will help keep the centre of gravity lower.  I have to do that because the ‘deck’ of the upper cart-body will be ‘lifted’ off the tracks to the level of the deck and that lift at the front is about 3 feet high and it is about 6 feet high at the back because the tracks are at an angle and the arrival deck is, as you have seen in the recent previous blogs, level.

Everything I am carrying up the tracks will be placed on the top deck of that cart so it can and will be top heavy at times.

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Adding diagonal piece to stabilize base

Can’t imagine it?  Imagine a big wedge 5 feet wide, 12 feet long, pointy at the front and and 6 feet high at the back end.  The sharp front of the wedge is then ‘nipped off’ four feet back so that the front is now ‘blunt’ and the remainder of the wedge is now only 8 feet long. The blunt front ‘nose’ is 3 feet high compared to the blunt back end which is still 6 feet high.   The wedge is NOT solid.  It is a ‘cage’ made up of steel bars with the top side (deck) made of a heavy gauge wire.  The struts or legs or posts are heavy gauge 1×1 steel tube as are any cross support struts.

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Partially completed base – three sets of wheels are hidden beneath the sides

Sorta like an exaggerated boat trailer with a higher, more complex structure.

The heaviest lift will be easy for the steel structure and the winch….the BIGGEST lift would be Sally’s little boat loaded with supplies….totaling maybe 1000 pounds…tops 1500 pounds (that would be huge!).  Fifteen hundred pounds would pose no problem pulling and lifting and carrying. BUT….that load is on the top of the wedge – on the ‘deck’ of it.  There could be as much as 1500 pounds on the top, elevated at 3 to 6 feet off the tracks.  If that tipped over, we’d have a problem.

But the cart is almost square.  In fact, by some wizardry of physics it may just be.  The cart is five feet wide and the wedge goes from three to six feet high suggesting that 5 feet back (and four feet down) might be the middle of the whole cage-mass.  So, the cart would have the same physical dynamics as a cube 5×5.  And a cube won’t tip.

Or would it?

I don’t know.  I ‘wing’ stuff like this.  Gut-feel mechanical engineering.  I DO know that so long as the load is centered and stable, I am good to go.  It is NOT unlike a big power boat on top of a skinny, bony trailer. Probably better.

I also know that 90% of the time, the load will be light (300 pounds or so) as a result of an out-on-the-town-shopping day and so ‘no worries’.  The only time I will be a bit concerned is when we use Sal’s little boat like a small barge to carry something really heavy (say, another large winch?) and I will have the boat, the load and the other stuff all on top of what I am hoping is a cart-acting-like-a-cube.

When (if) I lift my own boat, I am dealing with a ton.  Maybe a smidge more.  That will be 2000 pounds on top of something that weights 750.  Even if the cart is square and the load centered and balanced that is still top-heavy in the extreme.  That is when ‘winging it’ gets tested.

And you wonder what I do all day?

6 thoughts on “Next step: Low Fun Cart

  1. Neat. Like it.
    Do you have a brake? Or a block to stop it from rolling back? Or do you rely on the winch to hold it?
    Curious minds wanna know. 😉

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    • Yep! Electric brake this time (not the first one as it was cobbled from salvage and the winch actually DOES hold it) but NOT having a brake is now deemed silly (by me). 2 hp. 3-phase 240. Getting closer to seeing if it will work but I want it to be remote control and I bought the pieces from Kang in Langley and, as you know from the book, Kang does not take too kindly to customers. So, I am still in the dark as to how to employ those. We’ll cross that bridge when I build it.

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    • I know. I may have to let my photo editor go. She’s beautiful and lovely to be with but I can’t get her to take pictures!

      My steel fab skills are brutally primal but my salvage skills seem up to par. Who has such great stuff lying around? Me!

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    • Will you have a load leveling ratchet to raise one end of the cart on the the inclined rails as it ascends and descends?

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      • No. Not necessary. The angle remains constant. So the deck of the cart (top) will go up and down on the ‘flat’. The base will remain at the angle of the tracks and, when it gets to the top, the deck will be the same level as the receiver deck. My current top section funicular is the same.

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