Department - Author 1

Mechanical Engineering Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Mechanical Engineering



Primary Advisor

Tom Mase


The A.C.E. is a lift system to allow users with above-knee prosthetics to access the cab of heavy machinery. It is being designed as a senior project for California Polytechnic State University’s mechanical engineering curriculum with support from Quality of Life Plus (QL+) and sponsored by Jon Monett. In accordance with QL+’s mission of helping wounded veterans integrate into the workforce, the A.C.E. lift will allow disabled individuals to obtain jobs in the construction, agriculture, and waste management industries.

As a continuation of a previous senior project that focused on a Caterpillar excavator, the new design will be applicable to a broad range of machines. The first steps were to take inventory of the heavy equipment vehicles available at Cal Poly and consult with Jason Newby, a local paraplegic and operator of heavy machinery. The equipment vehicles were categorized into three different groups; large offset back wheels, flush cab with wheels, and large rollers and treads. The large offset category of vehicles was chosen based upon different category vehicles as the previous senior project and the category also contains the widest selection of vehicles. The Caterpillar 420D backhoe was ultimately chosen as a platform for the proof-of-concept prototype with the understanding that the design would be scalable or easily modifiable to function with other vehicles in the same category.

Many products exist on the market to assist people with disabilities. However, these products intended usage are for assisting disabled out of pools, into cars, and up and down the stairs. Not many products are available to be used on a heavy equipment machine. These products also must be custom built for each heavy equipment device.

An extensive ideation process yielded a power screw design similar to that used by the previous group. However, after consulting with our project advisor and sponsors, the team selected a hoist system. At the current time the project is in the design phase. After research has been conducted on components and materials, and functionality has been ensured by hand calculations the team plans to begin ordering materials and fabricating the prototype.

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