I have a single step that is approx 200mm high and I would like to build a small wooden ramp to take a robot vacuum up and down so it can reach my whole house. I have basically no woodworking experience and I have some (probably bad) ideas of how to hack something together. I'm looking for a design to be provided or failing that some direction for how I should plan the design myself.


  1. Ramp to not be physically attached (easily removed and replaced)
  2. Ramp to be relatively straight for sliding behind a couch for storage
  3. Ramp to be relatively lightweight for easy movement
  4. About 400-500mm wide to accommodate vacuum
  5. Have flat entrance at end points so vacuum can easily enter / exit
  6. Be secure enough to not be pushed away as vacuum enters
  7. Not be too complex to construct...

Current thinking (probably bad):

  • Single flat piece of thin MDF 500mm x 600mm x 10mm
  • Two rails that run along the length and extend and taper to ground to provide some stability

First question here obviously, not sure if this is an appropriate question etc. Any assistance much appreciated.

  • 2
    Have you done any experimentation to see what the maximum approach, departure, and breakover angles your vacuum can handle are? Also, what is the maximum step-up the wheels can get over? – SaSSafraS1232 Sep 4 '19 at 22:43
  • @SaSSafraS1232, I've not done this yet no. I was assuming I could massage that by shortening or lengthening the ramp. In general though, from experimentation its max step-up is about 10-12mm and I think about 10-15 degree slope is what it determines as not an obstacle. – radman Sep 5 '19 at 1:14
  • 2
    We're not the ideal venue for an open-ended query like this. But my advice would be to mock up in cardboard (stout stuff from a box), since you can cut it and make adjustments so much more easily than the final material. Cardboard can be cut accurately using a bread knife a friend just discovered! Make a large flat sheet and cut two or three triangle supports and I bet it works. [contd] – Graphus Sep 5 '19 at 6:25
  • You can use MDF, hardboard (possibly sold as Masonite or HDF) or plywood for the flat sheet and possibly also for the triangular supports, which might be reasonably attached using duct tape, which will act as hinges. I think I'd go with hardboard (6mm or 1/4") given the choice but it depends on the quality of what's available locally. It should be hard and dense with a smooth, possibly even glossy surface, likely to be dark in colour too (this will be tempered hardboard). When you go to making the finished item you can mark the supports directly from the cardboard templates. – Graphus Sep 5 '19 at 10:53
  • @graphus, I like the idea of cardboard, great tip! I think I'll experiment with that and see if I can come up with a design I'm happy with. Thanks for the pointers. – radman Sep 5 '19 at 21:38

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