Building a Stair-Climbing Vehicle

Building a Stair-Climbing Vehicle
Student’s Name
Building a Stair-Climbing Vehicle
Designing a vehicle that would move over a flat runway is very easy. However, when
the expected way for the use of the car has stairs, there is more to do with materials and
fabrication techniques (Alaspure et al., 2016). Over a long time, many people have come up
with technology and materials for the design of stair-climbing trolleys and robots. Such
vehicles are used to carry heavy and delicate equipment through stairs in buildings that do not
have elevators. Besides, remote driven cars need the stairs-climbing technology to enable the
operator to drive them in different pathways and make their transition from one way to
another easier. For instance, lifting a car to the next floor defeats the purpose of being remote
A remote-controlled vehicle is typically hands-free. It is self-contained in mechanical
energy and is controlled by an individual who is outside the car. Therefore, in structure, the
car should be able to support itself and maintain its stability through the body and wheel
structure (Alaspure et al., 2016). When it is meant to climb through stair, then its wheel and
traction system has to be modified to perform its function, and its stability ensured when it
cruises through stairs of different gradients. The car should be modified to cover more than
three stairs at any given point, with a balance of its weight distributed equally along its frame.
Therefore, when designing a car that would move through stairs, the wheel system and
bodywork fabrication are of paramount importance (Alaspure et al., 2016).
First of all, when a car is expected to climb stairs, its ground clearance should be as
high as possible. This will enable it to move from one step to another without having to
knock against the vertical sides of the stairs. Also, the wheel system should be modified to
enable it to automatically climb when it reaches the stairs. A tri-star wheel design is an option
of the wheel system that can be used in such a car. In the system, each of the pairs of the
wheels of the car would be made of three wheels on each side, with each wheel mounted to
its shaft with its other pair on the other side (Alaspure et al., 2016). The three shafts are
mounted on the vertices of an equilateral triangle and then connected to the central driving
shaft from which they are driven. Depending on whether the car is a four-wheel or two-wheel
drive, torque would be transmitted from the prime mover, such as an engine or motor, to the
drive wheels. When the car is moving on a flat path, it sits on two wheels while the third
wheel idles on the top of the others. When the car hits an obstruction such as a staircase, the
tri-star wheels are interchanged as they roll and contact with the ground thus enabling the car
to climb through the stairs by repeatedly interchanging its wheels (Kumar et al., 2014). The
tri-star wheel design works for such a car because when it is moving through a staircase, the
front wheel is prevented from moving when it reaches the vertical side of the staircase step.
The wheels are driven through the central shaft by the use of gears and bearings. When the
car is coming down the staircase, the tri-star wheel system enables it to land on the steps and
the rest of the system vaults over (Kumar et al., 2014). However, the wheels should be
sizeable enough such that a single change of wheels enables the car to move through one step
of the staircase. Since a single step of a staircase is around a half a foot high, the wheels
should at least be a half a foot in diameter each.
Another step in building a car is selecting the material to use. The cost, use,
requirements, and application recommendation of different materials form the basis for the
choice of material (Kumar et al., 2014). For a car to be remote driven, it should contain its
prime mover, the source of energy, and it's control system all of which are contained in its
body. Therefore, the weight of the car is likely to exceed 4kg and its size more than half a
meter long. Because of that, it requires a strong torque transmission material and a strong
chassis to bear its weight. Its Tri-star wheel system should be made from mild steel, a cheap
malleable and ductile material that is easy to form into the desired shape (Benford, 2006).
Mild steel is a material that is widely used in machinery parts that are subjected to light stress
such as that of a remote-driven car. It is easy to weld and join with other parts such as bolts,
nuts, shafts and gears among other locking devises characteristic of the wheel assembly
(Kumar et al., 2014). A wise choice of bearings should be made because the car would be
operating under a significant load. The bearings should be capable of withstanding both the
radial and axial loads exerted by the car. Being a small car, wheels can be made from filled
rubber with threads on its surface to enhance traction. The essence of using rubber in the
wheels because of its high coefficient of friction when in contact with concrete, tiles and
metallic surfaces, characteristic of indoor floors and staircases (Benford, 2006).
Therefore, the choice of materials to be used in making a remote controlled car
depends on the physical specifications of the car. The size of the car determines the power
requirements of the car, thus the size of the battery to install and the motor to be used as the
prime mover (Benford, 2006). The size of the car also affects the weight of the car because a
bigger car would require a larger source of energy and a larger driving system. There are
some parts of the car in which the manufacturer would not have a wide variety of materials to
choose from. For instance, the motor is metallic, and the battery is lead with a plastic cover.
As for other parts such as the wheel assembly, chassis, and body, the manufacturer has a wide
choice depending on the weight stress of the car and the wheel assembly the car is expected
to have. Above all, the materials selected should be cost-effective and have required
mechanical properties such as malleability, ductility, and plasticity (Benford, 2006).
In conclusion, when a remote-controlled car is designed to climb through stairs, the
primary concern is its power and structure. With relation to power, the car should produce
mechanical energy enough to raise its weight through the steps of a staircase, considering the
kinetic and potential energy required. This attracts a generous supply of energy (electrical
power) and a strong motor depending on the size of the car. Moreover, the mechanical
specifications of the car will aid its ability to climb through the staircase. In that sense, its
wheel system, wheelbase and ride height of the car.
Alaspure, R., Barmase, C., Chambhare, S., Mandhre, M. and Joshi, Y. (2016). Fabrication of
Stair Climbing Wheel Mechanism: Alternate for lifting goods [online] Available at: [Accessed 22 Feb. 2018].
Kumar, S., Kumar, U., Suresh, K. and Sunitha, s. (2014). Design and fabrication of stair
climber trolley. [online] Available at:
[Accessed 22 Feb. 2018].
Benford, t. (2006). Garage and Workshop Gear Guide.

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