Welding students design and retrofit a wheelchair-mounted snowplow

In his classes at Walsh High School, Rex Crawford sparks students’ interest in the modern art of welding and the heritage arts of leathercraft, spurs, belt buckles, conchos and jewelry. Most recently, two students in his welding and fabrication class retrofited another teacher’s track wheelchair with a snowplow of their own design.

McDonald and Wright delivering the snow plow they designed and fabricated. Courtesy photo

Sophomores Conner McDonald and Henry Wright said Alan Packard, who uses a wheelchair full-time, contacted Crawford and his students about the project and they began the design process.

The blade is designed to be lifted and lowered by the chair and uses chains to lock the blade into position.

“It’s called an action track wheelchair with belts like a skid loader,” Crawford said. “We basically built the snowplow on the front with a bracket we made out of square tubing with different plates to make it swivel back and forth and rotate up and down.”

Chains and plates hold the blade in the position and the chair lifts and lowers the blade. Courtesy photo

McDonald said his dad is a well puller and electrician and many of the skills he’s learning in Crawford’s class are applicable to those skilled trades. Wright said his skills could easily be put to use in a number of ways.

Crawford and his students delivered the snowplow on Jan. 17, and said they hope Packard soon has the opportunity to put it to use plowing moisture in the form of snow.

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