Ideas for a DIY ramp

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I'd like to build a folding ramp for an exterior door. This is not a wheel
chair ramp, so it does not have to be wheelchair specific.

My design criteria are as follows:

It would be nice if the extended ramp did not land more than 4' from the
wall.
Step height is about 18"
This is a nice to have, so cheap is good.
Automatic lowering would be nice when the door is opened
It would be nice if it did not kill anyone/anything when lowering. (inside
only)
Exterior door opens in.

My initial thought was some diamond plate, with an electric hoist and some
kind of pulleys from the rafters (garage).
Plan B, would be some kind of hydraulic cylinders.
Plan C, some kind of spring loaded manual system like a garage door.

The hoist would be kind of messy with the cables in the way.
The hydraulics are likely more dangerous in that they have crushing power.

Any thoughts or reasonable commercial alternatives.



Re: Ideas for a DIY ramp
Try a search for "loading dock ramps." You might find something there
that you could adapt.

 Bill Stock wrote:
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Re: Ideas for a DIY ramp
Here's one that's intended for retrofitting into a van.  The
company says they will make whatever length you need.
It would require a 12VDC power supply but that's no
real problem.

http://www.rollaramp.com/pdf-brochures/MiniFold-200606.pdf

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>

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Re: Ideas for a DIY ramp

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Thanks Robert, I'd come across the folding van ramps while chasing Bruce's
search. I'm thinking it should be possible to build something out of plywood
and 2x4s with some springs to help with the lift. The hardest part will be
getting the springs right, so that they stay locked when open. I wouldn't
want to launch someone with the 'ejector ramp'.




Re: Ideas for a DIY ramp
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Heh, I imagine not.  Springs work OK...
unless/until they give out.  Have you ever
seen one of the old garage door springs
break?  One of my brothers used to volunteer
on a First Aid squad.  He told me how one
of the springs on the big door for their
garage -- big door: three ambulances side
by side -- broke.  It was like a steel bullwhip.

You might find it easier to set up a counter
balancing system with weights, cables and
pulleys.  Once you have a manageable load
a modified garage door opener might be just
the thing.  Are you handy with stuff like that
or more inclined to search out a "store
bought" solution?

--

Regards,
Robert L Bass

=============================>
Bass Home Electronics
941-925-8650
4883 Fallcrest Circle
Sarasota Florida 34233
http://www.bassburglaralarms.com
=============================>



Re: Ideas for a DIY ramp

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Yeah fairly handy.  DIY vs. buy depends on the mark up, my time, my dollars,
projects in the queue, my interest in the project and my familiarity with
the subject.

I've heard the spring horror stories, but I would not be dealing with
anything near as heavy as a garage door. I imagine somewhere around 30 lbs.




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