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  • Wheelchairs in the shop.

    One of the kids (15 year old)down the street is in a wheel chair(paralyzed from the waist down) and has been hanging out in my home shop(with his mothers approval).I enjoy the company & his deburring and assembly help.I can tell he would really like to do more than run a file.I've tried to come up with a way to make the machines more "handicap" accessable for him, but not make it unaccessable for for me.The machines in the shop are an Excello mill and a 12x36 Springfield lathe(very old flat belt drive).Any ideas or are we both dreaming???Thanks ahead of time for any ideas or comments.


    Burnlast!!!!!
    ...the order of bringing about change
    is the four boxes:
    1.soap
    2.ballot
    3.jury
    4.cartridge

  • #2
    My nephew is in a wheelchair too and I have wondered about how to make a shop more accessable. I think the best way might be to raise the seat on the wheelchair, kind of like the booster chairs for little kids, that way you don't have anything in your way and he is high enough to see what is happening. That might be a bit unstable, depending on the kind of chair he has. As for changing speeds on the lathe, I'm not familiar with your lathe, but that might be a bit difficult for him to get around the side to change speeds if that is how yours is done, maybe outfit it with a VFD instead.
    I'll ask my brother-in-law about any organizations for handicapped people that may have info on this, I'm sure someone has come up with some inventive methods.

    Mike

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    • #3
      Talk to a counselor at your local Vocational Rehabilitation office. I'm sure they would have some positive ideas--maybe even provide him with some special equiptment. Good luck and may God bless you for your interest in him.

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      • #4
        Burnlast you are a good sport.

        Just remember that his being in a chair his face will tend to be closer to the work so make sure he wears a good face shield at all times. His working with the machinery is going to be a trial and error process, just remember his problem is a physical limitation and not one of brain power. No offense intended but so many people see a "handicapped" person and think they are stupid, a lesson I have learned through many bitter experiences.

        Good luck and safety first.

        ------------------
        Neil Peters

        [This message has been edited by NAMPeters (edited 02-28-2003).]
        Neil Peters

        When on the hunt, a broken part is better than no part at all.

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        • #5
          Most definatly coolest thing ive heard all day. Not jsut because hes in a wheelchair, but because hes a kid, & that takes pateince to deal with other peoples kids.

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          • #6
            I agree that raising the seat on the wheelchair would make it unstable. How about a scissor lift on a small scale? My dad had one made to lift motorcycles to a comfortable working height, about 2' or so max. It had a base about 2'x4', which stayed flat as it was raised. It was on casters. It also had mounting bars to fix the bike to, possibly these could be used to hold the wheelchair once it's on the platform. Collapsed, it was about 6" high, and had a short 'runway' to enable pushing the bike up onto it. There was a typical screw jack to do the work of raising it. It might be possible for the user to crank himself up to height, and down again, so he wouldn't be trapped 2' in the air if noone else was there. He could likely propel himself around using a broomstick or similar. I can imagine that something like this would be handy in the home, not only the shop, and the casters could be upgraded to work on carpet and lino without damaging either. If I were building it, I'd make sure it would get through doorways, and around corners, hallways into rooms, etc.
            I seldom do anything within the scope of logical reason and calculated cost/benefit, etc- I'm following my passion-

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            • #7
              This is a wonderful idea and you are obviously blessed with this opportunity to help this young boy.Strangely enough I have been reading articles about several people who have made or altered lathes for wood turning.As you know this would be very much more difficult as you have to twist your body to facilitate the turning with wood , and traversing process which is not so neccessery on the metal working lathe as the saddle etc is much more controllable.They managed it. I even read about a man who has learned to turn the most beautiful bowls and he is totally blind so I hope this gives you inspiration to go further with this young lad.I am overjoyed to hear of these stories as I am sure we all are.I have built a special chair which I copied from an article in a magazine which showed a sliding chair which is on a frame and fitted with rollers and traverses side to side .these rollers are buiilt cleverly into the frame at the top end and the base has absolutely no rollers at all making it very stable this is very useful to me as I have a spinal injury and cannot stand for a great length of time. However it may not be suitable enough (AS IT IS IN IT'S PRESENT FORM ) to offer the support neccessery for this lad, alsothis design may not be required as the work at the lathe as I said is different between wood and metal.I have photos somewhere if you want me to look them out or the original article I will be glad to help but I can say this can be done with a little thought good luck and god's blessings on you for your effort to date I am proud of you and this letter has made my day.
              I had an older brother who was mentally handicapped (sadly now dead) and he was sent to a school where all they did all day was make things (small rugs etc )I got the shock of my life while I was living in Germany to receive a letter from him albeit in very childish handwriting at the age of over forty he had gone to a learning centre and was learning to read and write for the first time.In the old days here all the children who hand these difficulties were all lumped together in the same school. The result of this was that my brother had the ability all along and was never given the oportunity to find out, as he was classed with people with much greater difficulties than himself and that's how it was in those days, so keep going you will win over in the end . best wishes Alistair
              Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

              Comment


              • #8
                Many years ago I saw a lathe that was made to be operated by a person in a seated position. The problem with this is where to put ones legs. This lathe was much like a desk in that it had a space beneath. Also the ways were slanted toward the operator. All levers for speed changing etc. could be reached while seated. It was not specificaly designed for someone in a wheel chair but would easily have accomidated one. Alas I do not remember the name of the manufacturer, it was too long ago. After looking at my Clausing I can see that with a sawzall and about 15 minuits I could make it wheelchair accessable but cutting out the cabinet beneath the chip tray which is now the coolant tank.
                Food for thought.



                ------------------
                Paul G.
                Paul G.

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                • #9
                  years ago i knew a machinist in San Diego who was in a wheelchair. he did a lot of work for me and i watched him a lot but i cannot recall what special arrangements were made in the shop for him.

                  this guy was GOOD. i wish i knew what hw forgot.

                  good luck with this. i admire you.
                  bill
                  ........i dremel. therefore i am..........................

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    10 points for your effort - sounds like a neat kid too.

                    Several years ago I saw a tv program that started with a person standing in and strapped to what looked like a standard 2-wheel package dolly but it had struts to the rear (triangular setup) with casters on them. Basically a 4-wheel dolly if you will. This allowed the person to stand up and be held upright to work.

                    There was a progression in the program to a more sophisticated device to allow handicapped people to work in an upgright position. The final device I believe was an electric wheel chair that changed from sitting down to standing up. It required straps around the calves and thighs and waist for that person. Maybe he might not need the waist strap (??).

                    Maybe you and this boy can fabricate (together?) something like this for him to work in and not have to modify the shop. Can he move from his wheel chair to a rolling device such as described above (the dolly)? Maybe some kind of hand-crank to chain to each of the wheels so he can move around on his own?

                    The dolly device did, and would have to have some back angle (leaning back) to help hold him up and be stable. Weight could even be added to the rear wheel section for stability in the shop.

                    Let me know if you need any more information.



                    ------------------
                    Dave - Castro Valley CA - Smithy, Select Mill, Atlas 6" and Unimat lathe

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                    • #11
                      BTW Burnlast -

                      Dreaming ? Sure you are - and I hope you both don't stop - without those kinds of dreams where would either of you be - or get?

                      I think I wrote the previous post with enough info and details to get you thinking and started on such a project. For testing his abilities I'd suggest you start with a dolly if you have one and put some cardboard pad/supports for strapping in his legs and then stand him up - you'll likely have to have him nearly laying down to get started.

                      I'd like it if you would keep me informed of any progress. I've done some adaptive work for a couple handicapped friends and myself but nothing like this.

                      Write me off line anytime - [email protected]



                      ------------------
                      Dave - Castro Valley CA - Smithy, Select Mill, Atlas 6" and Unimat lathe

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                      • #12
                        Lots of good suggestion so I won't waste bandwidth with redundent suggestions, but will make good use of it to offer two " 'atta boy's " to you. One for your effort to reach out to someone elses child and one for being so willing to accomidate him. Way to go!

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                        • #13
                          Simple raised platform in front of the machines.
                          Maybe a 2x8 box with plywood on it? cut at a angle to roll up on.
                          We use this method here at one time.
                          My neighbor is in a wheelchair, the other problems exist, like learning some limitations. (watching my neighbor catch himself on fire welding)
                          But, I have saw some excellent Cad-cam machinist in wheelchairs. No limits on the programs they can write, the loading of the machines are small stuff.
                          Can I help any?

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                          • #14
                            I saw a guy at Grizzly in a wheelchair buying tooling (had his wife carrying a milling vice for him!)and later noticed him at the Cabin Fever show. I thought to myself this would be a great hobby for someone in that situation. With the machining skills someone could create almost anything they needed to help themselves and others adapt. I had a classmate who was in a wheelchair after a high school car accident. He had a very successful business making/selling equipment to help handicapped people.

                            One thing I would be concerned about is chips, hot or otherwise. If they landed in his lap, he might not notice them. Getting them into cloths or shoes would also pose a problems with cuts or getting them embedded so good protection would definitely be in order.

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                            • #15
                              We were out in the shop this afternoon.Played around with a few ideas presented here.some ideas show a little promise,many thanks for the support & to all who have contributed.We came up with an idea of putting some out riggers(for lack of a better term) on a frame, that would plug into his chair.This frame would have 2 jack cylinders (like what is on an engine hoist)to raise or lower to approprate height.If need be, he can lower to floor to manuver around.What do you think???

                              Burnlast!!!!

                              [This message has been edited by burnlast (edited 03-01-2003).]
                              ...the order of bringing about change
                              is the four boxes:
                              1.soap
                              2.ballot
                              3.jury
                              4.cartridge

                              Comment

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