Keep On (Monster) Truckin’: Building Begins

When the SOLIDWORKS team was introduced to the Magic Wheelchair organization at Maker Faire, we found our new design-make project!  Magic Wheelchair builds epic costumes for kiddos in wheelchairs at no cost to families. SOLIDWORKS is a proud sponsor of the Magic Wheelchair organization, providing SOLIDWORKS software to volunteer design teams.

The SOLIDWORKS R&D team has been matched up with Jonah, a wheelchair-bound eleven-year-old, and team is excited about the challenge of gifting him with the most incredible costume they can bring to life. You can catch up with how SOLIDWORKS got involved with this amazing organization by reading these two blogs, Magic WheelChair – Let’s make Magic and Keep on (Monster) Truckin’: SOLIDWORKS Meets Jonah.

The Build Begins

For the past few weeks, members of the R&D department at SOLIDWORKS have been pouring over monster truck designs. They’re now cozy with the designs and dimensions of some of the regulars at Monster Jam, a massive event where monster trucks compete in races and perform freestyle stunts. Wheel size, chassis proportion, lights, water proofing, the whole she-bang, R&D is studying and considering everything. Let’s see where the team is in its challenge this week.

Jonah’s Max-D costume design.

Question: What do you when you’re a SOLIDWORKS engineer and you’ve been tasked with making a spectacular monster truck costume for a kid in a wheelchair?

Answer: Go for scale, baby.

Early drawings of the Max-D costume featuring Jonah.


That’s what the SOLIDWORKS Magic Wheelchair Team is doing. With little less than a month to go before they reach the June 9th deadline, the team is working hard at modeling, prototyping and building their designs so they can present the costume to Jonah at Monster Jam. The current plan is to have an attachable car body connect to a PVC frame set on casters. The car will come apart in the middle and possibly the back to make Jonah’s entry easier. The wheels will be removable and the car will come apart at the back to make Jonah’s entry easier.

Current design, including wheelchair model and final PVC frame.


SOLIDWORKS customer Permobil actually produces the wheelchair Jonah uses in his day to day life, and they were able to provide the team with a model so they could include the proper wheelchair dimensions in their designs.

Last Saturday the actual build officially began, with team members coming into the 3DEXPEREINCE Lab and using the CNC machine to cut out foam for the costume’s tires.

Team members working at the CNC machine in the lab.

Cutting out the tires.

They also started testing LEDs and acrylic to create the fire effect the team wants on the sides of the costume—as though Max-D is setting the road on fire!

Testing the drawn-on acrylic with LED lighting.


Help support Magic Wheelchair and amazing kiddo’s like Jonah!


SOLIDWORKS is working hard to make Jonah’s dreams come true, and helping the non-profit Magic Wheelchair achieve its goal of providing kids in wheelchairs with epic costumes. SOLIDWORKS is funding Jonah’s costume build in its entirety, but we invite all our readers to support Magic Wheelchair in Jonah’s name! If you visit this page, you can donate directly to Magic Wheelchair and help support them and all the lives they touch with their great work. Stayed tuned for more updates on this exciting build and always remember to keep on (monster) truckin’!

The SOLIDWORKS Magic Wheelchair team is working hard on all fronts to make this the most spectacular costume and reveal they can. Stay tuned for more updates and keep on (monster) truckin’!

SOLIDWORKS is partnering with the Magic Wheelchair to create an over-the-top costume for a child in a wheelchair. According to their mission statement, “Magic Wheelchair builds epic costumes for kiddos in wheelchairs —  at no cost to families.” Keep On (Monster) Truckin’ is an ongoing series dedicated to updating our readers on the current project’s progress.

Read about Jonah’s costume from the beginning!

Thank you to all who support our team, including Magic Wheelchair, Monster Jam, Permobil, and MLC CAD.

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman is a Content Marketing Specialist in Brand Offer Marketing for SOLIDWORKS and 3DEXPERIENCE WORKS.