So the story, huh?
Alright immediately after my ex dumped me in spectacular fashion I adopted an abused dog and had a hard time finding stuff I could with her besides walking.
I developed an interest in disc golfing and drinking and I would bring her along but she was a hassle with tying her and untying her when I need to toss or grab a few beers from the cooler. The carrying around the cooler was also another problem. Finally, my bluetooth speaker would always be flopping around on my golf bag.
My friends didn't like dealing her as well because of the hassle constantly monitoring her while we played.
It occurred me that maybe a backpack full of beers on the dog would be a good idea - until the trotting and running shook up the beer and body heat warmed them up.
So I thought what else can I do?
It occurred to me that some dogs pull sleds and wagons.
Introducing the MK 1. A simple box with wheels and dowels that hookup to her harness. We stored our cooler full of beer, bluetooth speaker, her treats and water, and other small items in the cart. But there was a problem that I had to disassemble it and then reassembly it every time we would use it, which takes time and small parts would go missing.
So I began to look at making another one that was more manageable and easier to store away and self contained. While watching Iron Man 2 there is a scene where the suit folds out from its suitcase form.
The MK II would fold in on itself I determined. So I bought a folding crate, a wood platform, had the wheel arms hinged so I could put in compression springs to reduce bouncing for the cart and also to allow it to collapse further. The net result was what stood at about 30 inches tall could compress down to 4 inches.
The dowels would be cut in half and swing to attach the dog's harness. But I still had an issue that I could not fold or swivel the wheels from standing to flat. So the wheels are the only part that need to be attached regularly.
This swinging dowels allowed for tighter turning of the cart, the collapsible features of it made it very compact and easy to transport and largely self contained. But it added weight and its center of gravity made it prone to topple over if the wheels hit very uneven terrain like hills with stacked levels.
But overall the design works. But with the attention I have gotten with it I am inclined to go further and build a commercial prototype borrowing heavily from the MKII's improvements.
MKIII this where I need help.
This time around the cart will be made of a light galvanized steel pipe frame, aluminum surface platform, dowels will made of steel as well. The wheels will fold out independently to provide independent suspension (the MKII has a H suspension with both wheel arms attached at the center). The wheel arms will be made of the same light steel and the same wheel arms will also swivel at the ends where the wheels are attached to provide the ability for the wheels to "fold" flat and stay as a part of the unit. Being made of lighter material the cart will allow of payload increase without increasing the weight of the cart.
The material is the majority of the costs involved and some 2nd party craftsmanship that I lack with tools. Though if funding exceeds my estimates I may actually go with full aluminum.
And here is where things get interesting.
I developed a plastic harness for a my dog to distribute the weight across her body and not create any pinching points. The plastic harness is flexible but also has a stiffness that is necessary for weight distribution. The top of the harness will feature a solar panel that I have coming in and will power a small USB battery that can charge 4 cell phones simultaneously. The battery can charge one iPhone six times. To further expand on this I am going to stick a bluetooth Jabra Solemate Max to the rear of the platform for entertainment while discing.
I had also thought about incorporating a flag pole that can be erected to act somewhat like a team banner.
A final feature would be a seat that telescopes out from the bottom of the rear surface area and has a x-bar configuration to support the weight of a human.
There is an idea to add LED lights around the perimeter or flash lights for night time activity. But that means I need to upgrade the battery.
More theoretical thought would be small actuators and servos to manage the folding out of the cart done controlled by a small circuit and chip.
Anyways, once I have completed this I would like to showcase it to various people and possible customers with the goal of mass production with profits partially going to animal shelters.
Risks and challenges
Working with aluminum is hard because it's not easy to weld and oxidizes differently than steel. Steel rusts so I would likely need to paint it. The only real challenges I see are financial not material or workmanship. There may be some random reengineering and designing which is why I am anticipating cost overruns which I am willing to foot.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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