PUSHING a wheelbarrow has never been easier, thanks to the ingenuity of Toodyay retiree Tim Officer.
Mr Officer, a former farmer from Coorow, developed what he calls 'Tim's Powered Barrows'.
He said it was a "solid tradesman's wheelbarrow" adapted with a "free wheeling clutch - the same as on a push bike".
It was developed over a three to four month period from a V-belt pulley system, which Mr Officer said was a simple design that was developed out of a need to more easily move heavy pot plants at his son-in-law's pot plant hire business.
Mr Officer and his wife Beryl looked after the business for a while and found it difficult to move the heavy pot plants.
He developed the powered wheelbarrow to maker it easier and someone saw it and said he should "do something with it".
Mr Officer decided to give it a go and from his home workshop began turning 10 original wheelbarrows into powered ones using scrap parts from push bikes and old power tools.
He visited the rubbish tip and also service centres that would throw away old machines and bikes and managed to source enough bits and pieces to get started.
Mr Officer sold the original 10 wheelbarrows and made a few more - he has now sold about 160 with many being sourced from the Eastern States.
"When you buy a wheelbarrow you get everything except the battery," Mr Officer said.
"It runs on an 18 volt lithium cordless tool battery (from multiple brands) that is rechargeable.
"I've sold them to householders with steep blocks, fencing contractors, bricklayers and vegetable growers.
"One guy from Dunsborough uses one to carry his diving tanks up the beach.
"They've gone to all sorts of people."
He said one customer had purchased five of the wheelbarrows after giving it a go and seeing the value in them.
Clayton Carr, Goomalling, said he used the wheelbarrow and it "was awesome".
"It makes it very easy to move barrow loads of cement around uphill with ease - and the battery lasts a long time," Mr Carr said.
Mr Officer has made up patterns and has laser cut components which make it "much easier" to build.
He can also build the wheelbarrows with gear ratios suited to the speed at which best suits the operator's walking pace - this came about after he built one for someone who wanted it to go a bit slower.
The standard speed is 25 metres in 20 seconds, although he can change that to 20m in 20 seconds.
"It has been an interesting, evolving experience," Mr Officer said.
"Being a former farmer you learn about gears and pulleys.
"It was just a matter of thinking about how to put it together so that it was safe and easy to operate."
The powered wheelbarrow is about three kilograms heavier than a normal one, but still light enough to lift onto a ute and push under normal conditions.
Engaging the powered motor by the push of a button enables the operator to walk up inclines at ease - which is perfect for those who have injured their legs or back in the past as it takes the pressure off.