Good news! Daniel and I have finally come up with a solution to our caster problem: rebar! For those of you who don't know, rebar is an extremely accessible, dirt cheap, building material, found everywhere in third world countries. Rebar is long and skinny, and very durable, and it comes in plenty of sizes. Daniel and I were able to find 1/2" X 48" at Lowe's for a mere $2.98. Our casters need to fit in a 5/8" hole, so we think the rebar will fit perfectly. Sometime this week we'll go to Lowe's and then we can begin fitting the wheels on our wheelchair again. Hurrah! Another challenge overcome!
Because wheelchairs need to turn, duh!, casters of some sort are required for front wheels. We plan on making our own casters by using the wheels that came with the hand truck. The trick is finding the metal rod we need to be able to make the axle. In the DR I watched workers bend rebar with a simple jig and metal pipe. I hope we can use this same process to make the casters for our hand truck wheelchair. Our current plan is to wrap tape around the rebar to increase the diameter to fit the bearings in the wheel and the ID of the hand truck pipe. I will include CAD drawings of this plan later. It is difficult to find rebar. Will search Lowes and Family Farm and Home.