What's in a trash compactor?

Gooserider Posted By Gooserider, Jun 7, 2010 at 1:08 AM

  1. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    As most of you know by now, I'm stuck in a wheelchair thanks to a tree cutting accident, and have to deal with the challenges of making our house "accessible" - which it certainly was not designed to be when it was built...

    One of the challenging areas is our back screen porch, which we currently get to via a sliding glass door, and about an 8" step down from the kitchen... We keep a lot of stuff on the back porch, including our freezer, and various other things it would be nice to reach. It is also one step closer to getting me access to the swimming pool :coolsmile:

    Per the standard rules on such things, which call for no more than a 1:12 pitch on any ramps, I would need at least an 8' ramp to get from the kitchen to the porch, and there just plain isn't ROOM for that big of a ramp, so I've been trying to think of an approach to use less room, which implies some sort of lift. A lift would need to be able to lift a platform approx 36" square, and probably at least 500lbs to allow for a good margin. When lowered, the platform surface would need to be as close to the floor as possible, w/ a taper, no more than about an inch or so (More is possible but gets physically harder and more of a challenge from a "wheelchair skills" standpoint)

    Looking for things that might be adapted to make such a lift, I noticed the trash compactor that has been in the house since Mary-Anne has owned it, but that we have never used... Seems like an item that might be adapted to do the job if one were to flip it upside down and attach it to the joists on the porch - there is a big square ram that presumably could have a plywood or similar platform attached to it. Presumably it would have plenty of lifting / pressing capacity. just wondering if anyone has tried doing anything like this, and if it worked...

    I was going to ask if anyone knew what the mechanism inside one of these things was - hydraulics or something else, but while I was writing this, a neighbor came by and said he'd done work on his and it was a sort of scissors jack type system, which should be a nice stable platform that can be flipped w/o any problem...

    Any thoughts on this, people that have tried doing anything with one of these units, or any other ideas as to how to make a lift that could do the job?

    Gooserider
     
  2. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    I would be tempted to make a lift using water pressure and a bladder. A 3 foot square platform would have almost 3000 square inches so it wouldn't take very many PSI to lift it.
     
  3. JustWood

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  4. Lucky Phil

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    Am I missing something on the eBay life? It looks like all the wires are color-coded.
     
  5. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    That E-bay lift is a bit of a hike (VA to MA) but it is the kind of thing I've been thinking of for several other areas in the house where we need a lot of lifting distance, i.e. going into the garage or the pool area, but it is overkill for this little 8" lift to the porch... Might consider it if it were closer and we had someone that could drive, etc... (Mary-Anne is having more trouble w/ her heart...)

    As to the water-bladder idea, while it would give a lot of lift w/ little pressure, I suspect it would be a real problem to keep the upper platform level. OTOH a scissors jack or similar mechanism can be designed with a great deal of stability.

    Gooserider
     
  6. blades

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    Hi Goose, Instead of a complete lift maybe a hinged plate, but perhaps that would end up too steep when let down, like an adjustable dock plate? I am not real familiar with your wheels so I am likely way off base.
     
  7. Jags

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    Pallet jacks go from about 3" to 12"........

    Just thinking out loud.

    The problem that I see is that without digging a pit, most things still won't be able to be at ground level when lowered, unless of course it was designed that way.

    My mind is going crazy with the stuff that I could design, think miniature car lift with the posts on the sides, or small version of a fork lift mast and using a 110v winch. I realize that winches should not be used for any high lift stuff, but I don't think 8" would scare me. I am trying to think of things that would get you pretty flat to the ground.
     
  8. Jags

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    I think its those glasses your wearing. :lol:
     
  9. Adios Pantalones

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    Can find electric jacks that could be adapted, I believe. Pneumatics would be a PITA for worry of condensation in the tank, plus noise and power over the long haul.
     
  10. Lucky Phil

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    AHA....so that's it! :bug:
     
  11. Gooserider

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    The location I'm looking at is our back porch, which is basically a wooden deck with part of the house built over it and screen walls. There is probably 3-4' of space between the deck top and the ground, so there would be no problem in cutting a hole in the decking and hanging something from the presumably 16" OC joists, which is essentially what I had in mind as a plan...

    Essentially flip the trash compactor upside down and cut off the bottom so that it could be hung between the joists with the face of the ram even with the underside of the decking when retracted. Then bolt a slightly larger platform that can hold the wheelchair onto the face of the ram... Basic advantage being that it wouldn't require cutting any joists, and that it would be easily reversible by taking the unit out and replacing the cut deck boards if that were ever needed.

    Done right I should be able to have something that ended up just about flush with the existing deck when down,

    Gooserider
     
  12. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
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    I wonder if a little hydraulic/electric wood splitter could be set on end to push a platform up. Is there a way to excavate under the platform?

    Matt
     
  13. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
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    A compacter or splitter doesn't even have to be under it. You can pick the platform up on a cam.

    Matt
     
  14. Delta-T

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    I think my trash compacter uses a worm gear for compression and a set of scissors to keep everything in alignment. I'd think that you could adapt that to your needs pretty well. I'd wonder about the durability of the hardware being exposed to the elements.....nothing a few tubes of lithium grease can't fix.
     
  15. Hogwildz

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  17. Jags

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    Piece of cake. 12V deep cycle with a motor cycle trickle charger.
     
  18. Dune

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    Goose, stupid question dept: Would it be viable to have half the ramp inside the house and the other half on the deck, so you only need four feet of ramp outside?

    The other idea I have; Pad the floor of the deck up to level with the inside, or nearly so.
     
  19. boostnut

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    I'm sure you don't want to re-live the whole event but I have to ask what happend? Tree cutting accident then wheelchair, something must have gone really wrong.
     
  20. Jags

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  21. Gooserider

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    Putting part of the ramp inside the house wouldn't work, as it would eliminate the threshold for the sliding door to the porch, not to mention requiring cutting into the joists for the main house floor... Similarly, padding up the entire deck to be even with the floor would be a major task, and isn't a viable approach.... It's a largish area, and it would take a great deal of material, and when done, would have screwed up the access out the back to the swimming pool area...

    Gooserider
     
  22. Gooserider

    Gooserider
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    RANT ON>>> You know, I don't want to seem overly critical, but it would really be nice if people would read and respond to the original content of what I asked...

    I posted asking about the possibility of using the trash compactor THAT I ALREADY OWN to make a lift for the approximately 8" step between my kitchen floor and the floor of the back porch (described as a wooden joist floor, with about 3-4' of free space underneath it)

    The responses have consisted of two pages worth of suggestions on other approaches, good, bad and indifferent, many of which suggest that the original posts weren't read... Most required purchasing more stuff, and potentially more expense, and tended to be suited to far larger lift distances than the 8" I'm needing for this application...

    Any chance of getting back to the original topic of recycling a trash compactor into a lift?

    Gooserider
    RANT OFF <<<
     
  23. Jags

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    Goose - ya can't blame folks for trying. ;-)

    Back to the trash compactor. I believe that one of the demons that you are going to fight with that is the fact that the whole design is fairly compact (no pun intended). Putting a platform on top of that is going to create side loads that the machine was NEVER intended to have.

    Think about it - if you have a can crusher and put in a single can - it works. Strap a 4ft x 4ft piece of plywood to the can crusher plunger and set a can out towards the edge of the plywood. It will create side pressure that YOU cannot overcome. I think you will fight the same battle UNLESS you could keep the weight load VERY centered.
     
  24. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    It was not my intention to derail the thread when I suggested water pressure. I didn't go into any detail on it but essentially you would need to have some sort of mechanism to keep the platform level throughout the range of travel. As Jags mentioned, you would need some such mechanism for the compactor as well. If the platform had depth to it like a cube and rode in a pocket that prevented it from going cock-eyed, that would be one solution.

    There are lots of different ways to ensure all four corners of the platform move in unison. Cables or chains and pulleys tied to a central point is one. A scissor lift or other parallelogram is another. A pair of criss-crossed torsion bars yet another. Lots of possibilities.
     
  25. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa
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    Oh, and the reason I suggested water pressure is you don't need another power source (pump). Just use existing house water. There should be enough residual pressure in a power failure to not need any backup power source. If there was a failure in the system, depending on how massive the leak, the platform should drop slow enough to minimize injury.

    Cylinders could also be made instead of using a bladder. Four pieces of pipe welded to the platform like legs on a table that extend downward.
     

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