• Baylor engineering students partner with TSTC to build wheelchair-accessible swing

    An Axtell resident tests out the new wheelchair-friendly swing

    In the small town of Axtell (just northeast of Waco) lies a quaint community park. Here, families can gather, children can play, and now — thanks to a partnership between Baylor’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Texas State Technical College — kids with physical disabilities can fully enjoy the space, as well.

    Last week, Axtell installed a new wheelchair-friendly swing designed by Baylor engineering students and built by TSTC welding, precision machining, and auto restoration students. The Baylor engineering team began mocking up designs last fall; one group designed the structure, while another group designed the platform. TSTC students then used those designs to build the swing this spring, with the welding department fabricating the various components and the automotive restoration department applying the final finishings.

    “By bringing their ideas to professors at TSTC, the Baylor students were able to craft a design that not only met specific requirements and codes, but was also practical to build,” says Baylor adjunct professor James Bates.

    Recent Baylor grad Leonard Walker (BS ’22), a design team leader on the project, noted that the project did have its challenges, especially the scaffold and the portion holding the wheelchair. “Not all disabilities are the same, so we had to craft an all-purpose design that could be enjoyed by all,” he says.

    Smiles at the swing installation

    During the commissioning of the swing, Axtell resident Tristan Lee took the structure for its inaugural flight (see video here).

    “This project wasn’t completed without difficulty, but that’s what made it so rewarding,” says Bates. “The students were so motivated to complete the swing, and the collaboration within communities was inspiring.”

    “In my eyes, engineers are meant to help communities,” adds Walker, “and I’m so honored to have been a part of this project and help children in need.”

    Sic ’em, Baylor engineering!