Electric Wheelbarrow Makes Hauling Big Loads Easier

Gardening involves a depressing amount of physical activity: haul this over here, dump it there and then cover it with this. Things like wheelbarrows are still damn hard work, especially for people like who are somewhat physically compromised. That’s why we love this build from [Karl Gesslein]. He usually makes electronic bikes, adding motors to bicycles to roam the streets faster. But this time he applied his expertise to a wheelbarrow. He added a 3000W motor to the wheelbarrow, which drives the front wheel when triggered by the accelerator on the handle.

The project is a bit more sophisticated than sticking a motor on the wheel, though: [Karl] details how he chose the wheelbarrow to motorize, going with a single-wheel wheelbarrow than the two- or -four-wheel models he initially considered, because it is easier to navigate. He drilled holes in the front wheel and added a chain wheel, mounted at several points to stop the cheap metal wheel the barrow came with from warping. This chain wheel is driven by a $350 Luna Cyclone Mid Drive motor driven from an Ego battery mounted behind the carrier. He admits this motor is rather more than a wheelbarrow really needs, saying that it “provides more power than you’re probably ever going to need, even when wheeling 500lbs+ up a very steep incline…. at full throttle still goes faster than I can run.” Perhaps the next phase could include a remote control and robotic arm so it can load (and unload) itself.

20 thoughts on “Electric Wheelbarrow Makes Hauling Big Loads Easier

  1. Had tried making something like this out of hoverboard electronics. Was pretty awesome, also envisioned something like ‘put everything on wheels’ and they follow you around. The guts of a hoverboard are awesome, and you can control via the ever popular arduino. Tried using accelerometer to control speed – was kinda touchy.

    1. I agree with you, the 3KW motor should be right around 4HP, that seems excessive given a human used to be able to hump the load unassisted. You may run into other issues as well. You have the weight of the motor and the batteries that the wheel, bearings, axle and frame need to deal with, and the fact that most wheelbarrows are meant to be pushed by humans. What I mean by that is the frame and the tub are not ultra strong because they know that a human will be pushing it. Add a motor and fill it up with a half ton of gravel and something is going to give.

  2. I’m going to argue that other problems with the traditional wheelbarrow (imbalance, and lifting of the load via a second-class lever) are equal if not worse than the challenges of rolling it somewhere. To solve all of these problems (and likely make it more fun to use), creating an electric “Dumper” would be in order. These are commonly seen on construction sites with both tracks and wheels, replacing the injury-creating wheelbarrow.



        1. If you build outdoor stuff and have much land you might be surprised at how often you do push a wheelbarrow over a plank, even if the plank is just laying on the ground. Much less bumpy and the wheel does not dig in.

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