AfriCart – a handcart for Africa

ED302 – design & technology

08.0 Modifications


One of the requirements of this solution was that it could be used by both women and children. This functionality was built into the AfriCart through an height adjustable pushing handle.


Height adjuster: Adult


Height adjuster: Child


The AfriCart was only stable when front loaded – when completely unloaded the cart’s centre of gravity was to the rear and therefore, when unloaded, the cart would tip backwards. In order to facilitate a stable platform suitable for loading I added movable legs to both the front and back of the cart. These legs fold down and then swing out of the way when not needed.


AfriCart: load to front – stable.
no backlegs

AfriCart: load to rear – unstable.


Africart: load to rear but now resting on fold down legs.


AfriCart: Rear Left Hand Corner showing dowel/leg/handle support.


AfriCart: Rear Right Hand Corner showing dowel/leg/handle support.


I was looking for a solid joint for the cart and found the drawboring joint to be a perfect solution. However, this joint has such a permanent effect that repairs can not be easily be effected. Because of this I had to alter my joint design: pining joints externally with removable pins rather than permanently pining them internally. This event was actually fortuitous as it had the effect of making it a “complete knock-down” unit that could be completely manufactured in one place, such as a town or “growth area”, and then be transported in it’s constituent parts to a rural home where it could be easily assembled even by a non-technical person.


The best wood for cart production would have been a hardwood such as Mahogany, Teak or an endemic timber such as Mopane. However, due to questions of sustainability, indigenous hardwoods had to be avoided and so I looked at using exotic softwoods such as Pine. Sustainably produced Pine is readily available in Europe and Africa in the form of pallets. However, in order to make an attractive quality product, rather than merely a functional one, I decided to use virgin material ( a secondary reason was that due to possible foriegn body contaminiation of the wood I could not use the planer/thicknesser).


In this case the only wheels available to me were pre-used mountain bike wheels that I rescued from a recycling centre. These are 26″ diameter, equipped with off-road tyres and wider rather than the 29″ diameter road biased wheels from the ubiquitous Flying Pigeon Brand Chinese bicycles that are more likely to be available in SSA.


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February 16, 2009 at 12:59 pm

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