FOLDING ALUMINUM RAMPS


The last two days I have been busy working on fabricating a set of folding aluminum ramps for my friend to use to get his tadpole trike in and out of the back of his pickup truck. He only has a six foot bed so the ramps had to fold in order to store them inside.

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aluminum folding ramps

They are 8 foot long with a 21 inch long section of 1/4 x 4 inch flat bar which lays on the tailgate.

aluminum folding ramps folded 3

 

aluminum folding ramps partially unfolded

There are hinges in the middle connecting the 4 foot sections of C channel and at the top connecting the C channel to the 1/4 inch by 4 inch flat bar. The flat bar extends back off the tailgate about 2.75 inches and is bent down about 15 degrees or so to match the angle of the ramps as they come up to the tailgate. Currently there are no angle aluminum pieces in place at the end of the 1/4 x 4 inch flat bar, but I think it is going to need this added to help keep the ramps from moving. On my truck they stayed in place well as is, but on my friend’s truck they don’t. I originally had in mind placing  aluminum angle pieces on the end of the flat bar and even drilled and tapped holes for them already.

aluminum folding ramps 2

These pictures show the ramps set up on my truck and not on my friend’s. I ran my trike up and down them to test the ramps out. The ramps work fine and will be a big help to him as his HP Velotechnik Scorpion fs 26 electric trike is quite heavy to lift. There is a 1/4 diameter round rod with the ends bent 90 degrees which goes thru holes drilled into the 1/4 x 2 inch flat bar pieces on the bottom end of the ramps. The rod spaces the ramps apart and maintains the spacing. It is also almost pavement level so it can be easily stepped over as the trike is rolled up and down the ramps. The C channel is quite thin so it is very lightweight to handle. I personally would have selected thicker stronger material to use but these were given to him free so they are what were used. If I were making ramps for myself I think I would make them shorter than these although there is some merit to longer ramps as they provide lesser incline to deal with. There are pros and cons to both. Longer ramps means more flexing … especially when thin wall material is used.

Where the two 4 foot sections of C channel are hinged together there is a 12 inch long piece of the 1/4 x 4 flat bar used to strengthen the joint in the flimsy thin wall C channel. It is bolted down on just one side to the C channel and simply lays down in the other C channel section when unfolded.

aluminum folding ramps middle hinge

Here my friend is trying out the ramps for the first time.

aluminum folding ramps with trike

Here is a short video showing the ramps I made being used.

I would estimate a total of about $100 for materials and hardware is involved in making your own. It could even be less depending upon the design and hardware used. I drilled and tapped holes in the 1/4 thick flat bar for the hinges.  Both pan head and flat head (countersunk) head screws were used as well as some 1/4 x 20 nuts where no 1/4 inch plate was used.

These ramps could be made in one day if you have everything needed and the knowledge and skill level to accomplish the task. Our local Metals Supermarket will do all the cutting free if the material is purchased from them. I have a horizontal cutting band saw so I cut it myself. I have found that most places don’t do a very accurate job of cutting metal to the specified length and this bothers me. When I cut metal I try to get it cut within 1/64 of an inch. Sometimes 1/8, 3/16 or even 1/4 inch more or less doesn’t matter in the scheme of things but sometimes it can really cause problems. I am a perfectionist in my work and strive for accuracy. I am retired from a lifetime of welding and fabricating so I rarely do much of this sort of thing anymore. Well, that is enough tooting of my horn. I just want you to be aware that if you have the metal cut someplace it may not be cut accurately.

So, if you have a need of a ramp loading system it can be done. Here is proof.

Of course, you can buy ramps. Depending upon what you get it will be a lot more expensive … about $400 – $500 for one popular manufactured ramp system. I just found another source for under $200 … 5 Star Manufacturing Telescoping Aluminum Ramps  They look like they would work pretty good. And I just found some others as cheap as $101.75. Walmart sells a set for $140.

telescoping aluminum ramps

I think this is a 7 foot set which would be perfect for most applications. The only thing is I don’t know about how well they would stay in place without doing something to help keep them in place. They telescope in to about 4 foot in length so they would fit readily in most any type of vehicle.

7 foot aluminum telescoping ramps $150

With ramps to help us load and unload our trikes it will help us to …

KEEP ON TRIKIN’

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About Steve Newbauer

I have a few current blogs (tadpolerider1, navysight, and truthtoponder) so I am keeping busy. I hope you the reader will find these blogs interesting and enjoy your time here. Feel free to email me at stevenewbauer at outlook.com

Posted on May 30, 2014, in accessories, construction/design, tadpole trikes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Nicely done. The day may come when I may need one of these. Thanks for posting.