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Project 11A : Wheelchair Basketball


This project is for an 11 year old kid, with Cerebral Palsy, play basketball with his friends and classmates in school.

Team: Alex Daniel, Hunter Sullivan, Ben Vongsamphanh, Brett Arnold, Peterson Rainey

Problem Statement

The goal for this project is to design an arcade style basketball game. The game needs to be able to be played while in a wheelchair.

Design Specifications


  • Full size Basketball
  • Mobile
  • Foldable
  • Rim height within range of 3-4 Feet


  • Full size rim
  • Wheels (With Lock Brake)
  • Joint (to make frame foldable)
  • Adjustable Height (Rim)

Background Research

Concept Design 1

Basketball Game with foldable joint and wheels.

With this design there is a joint in the middle of the ramp that allows the bottom half fold up to the top into a concise rectangle which is easy to store. It also has wheels to be easily maneuvered. Space in front to let slide under making it easy to grab the ball.

Concept Design 2

Basketball game with delivery system

This design adds a shoot to let the ball roll to the side into his lap. This design is much more secure with more stability. As well as much more cost efficient because of the materials chosen.

Concept Design 3

Rigid body basketball game

This design has a net fully around to prevent ball from escaping. This body is rigid with adjustable leg height. Can be modified to be mobile. Adds room for the wheelchair to slide under making it easy to grab basketball.

Decision Matrix

Describe Design Details

These are all of the parts we need for our design. This includes PVC piping with connections, backboard made out of acrylic or polycarbonate plastic, rim, mesh retrieval netting, and side netting. The side netting and mesh netting are viewed as solid but will not be solid in person. Each design is scaled the same with accurate diameters and lengths.

Engineering Analysis 1

For our first analysis, we wanted to simulate a point load onto the backboard. We used an acrylic material for it, and gave it a force of 1000N which is equivalent to a pro athlete throwing a ball. Reviewing the stress analysis, it is shown that the stress is nowhere close to the yield strength of the material. This model is shown with multiple point loads simulating a basketball hitting at many different points on the backboard.

Engineering Analysis 2

This is an analysis of the force our goal could withstand without tipping around the designated point “O”, assuming it weighs 50lbs and the wheels are static. Ours is allowed to slide across the ground, so in worse case scenario, our goal can withstand even more.

Engineering Analysis 3

For our third analysis we chose to simulate the weight of the basketball game on one of the base joints. We used a weight of 50lbs pushing down on the base. When scaled correctly, the stress on the base is manageable compared to the strength of the PVC pipe or even better if Aluminum piping was used.

CAD Drawings

Document Fabrication Process

Testing Results

After building the model we found that we needed more support as it was not staying up on its own. We added cross supports which solved this problem. We also found we needed more support at each connection which we added bolted brackets and welds to satisfy strength tests.

Instructions for Safe Use

First, roll retrieval system to where you want it. Next, you’ll want to lock the wheels so that it stays in place. To unfold it, you’ll pull the bar down while making sure the net stays clear of the bolts and corners. To put it back up, you’ll push up the same bar you pulled down originally, making sure to pull the net out of the way so it doesn’t sit on it. Then unlock the wheels and roll it to where you need to store it.

Project Summary/Reflection

After working through many designs and issues, we found a design that is safe, portable, and great quality. We made the frame out of 1in square steel beams with castor wheels for portability. Our net to retrieve the ball is made from mesh lining. We added a hinge to fold the front part back to make it easier to move. We purchased a full size basketball backboard and hoop to mount on the wall which our retrieval system would roll up to. After finishing the project, we realized there is a lot more that goes into a project than just picking the best design. Cost, safety, and performance all go into each project and we had to pick what we thought was the best mid point between the three.


2023 Spring