Above Ground Pool Lift

This is my most triumphant creation yet!  I’m so excited that we actually managed to do this and it works and works well.  We’ve been using it for a couple weeks now and I can get John in and out of the pool by myself.  (It’s still nice to have help, but I can do it on my own if I have to.)

I have to admit, that while planning this I asked some different people for advice, and I mostly got some version of… “Don’t try to make this.  Try to find something that already exists.”  So it’s an even sweeter victory.  For what it’s worth, I googled for several months trying to find a lift.  Mostly I found lifts for in-ground pools, not above-ground.  I did find one for above ground, but it only lifts up to 31″ off the ground and I needed 52″ — and besides, that was about $4000.  Way, way, way more than I would ever spend.

To get a rough idea of how it was made go to:http://www.instructables.com/id/Above-Ground-Pool-Lift/

And here to see it in action…  



Wonky Wheelchair Footrests

Do other wheelchair uses have issues with the footrests?  John’s footrests never seem to be perfectly aligned.  There are so many degrees of freedom, and so many bolts to adjust, that they never seem right.  And now we have missing bolts, and bent bolts, which doesn’t help at all.  My plan is to take it in to the shop to get fixed, but we just don’t have the time this week.  So, here is my temporary fix.  If I had had more time to plan and measure I think it would have come out better.  As it is,  one of the front wheels just manages to scrape along the footrest when he turns.  That’s ok, it was just meant to be a quick solution.  I didn’t like John’s legs just hanging without any support, and at least this provides that until we can get to the shop.

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Charles Made It .com

I’m not the only one that makes things in this house.  These ramps are thanks to Charles.  One from garage to kitchen.  One from downstairs to screened in porch, and one from porch to backyard.   He was able to use scraps of 2×4’s and 2×6’s and plywood to put these together.  Because two of these ramps go out to the screened in porch and to the backyard (pool), he put carpet on top of the plywood to make it barefeet safe for non-wheelchair users.

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Yet Another Modification


John’s therapist said it would be helpful for John to do reaching stretches to help with his tight shoulders, so I thought another modification of the scooter/chair was in order.  Now we have a scooter, or a chair, or stander, or stander with golfing attachment, or chair with shoulder exerciser attachment.

Snow Plow that looks better than it works


Well, another kind of failed project.  We started with a soccer guard that John was given through a local power soccer team.  (See here:  http://www.powersoccershop.com/ps-forcesoccerguard.aspx)  We took a large paint bucket and cut it in half and attached it to the front of the soccer guard with some bolts.  Unfortunately, the 9 inches of heavy wet snow was too much for the light plastic bucket and it would just bend it.  We did try taking it off and just using the soccer guard.  It pushed the snow a little bit, but wasn’t able to plow like we hoped.  

Scooter to Chair Upgrade



I posted a while back about a scooter that I made.  The scooter was great, but I decided to upgrade it and turn it into a chair so that John could lean back on it.  This has been a great thing to bring to people’s houses when we can’t bring in the wheelchair.  If there are hardwood floors, John is able to scoot around (albeit slowly).  It’s certainly not a perfect solution, but it definitely has made visiting friends a bit easier.


Card Holder



John has a hard time holding cards in his hand, but his brother doesn’t mind so much, because it makes winning at Uno a lot easier.  So, to try and even the playing field, I took a scrap piece of wood and sawed a thin straight line into it (just the width of the saw).  Seems to be holding the cards ok so far.  We’ll see how the next game goes 🙂



Failed ‘craftmatic’ bed idea

Mostly I’ve just been publishing the ideas that have worked.  But this time I’m putting in a failure.  It’s close, but just not quite there.   I had several objectives for this project.  I wanted a bed that John could raise up himself so that he could read if he wanted to.  Then, I wanted John to be able to lower it himself when he was ready for sleep.  Finally, I wanted it to be under $100 or pretty close to that.

Because John uses a bunk bed, I was able to easily add a $20 steel bar with pulley to the bottom of the top bunk.  For John’s bed I cut out two pieces of plywood and hinged them together so that the mattress would bend properly (about another $20).  I used a strap we had laying around to strap the mattress to the plywood.  Then, the big expenditure was an electrical winch found at Harbor Freight on sale for around $50.

I discovered several problems with this set up:
1.  The winch is crazy loud !!  I can just imagine John thinking.  Ah, I think I’m ready to sleep now.  Guess I’ll lower the bed…  VVVRRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH !!!!!
2.  I’d have to figure out someway to hold the winch in place.  I can’t imagine bolting it to the floor… that seems a little extreme.
3.  John’s fingers aren’t strong enough to push the button for the winch.  There exists a wireless control for it — if I could fix the above problems, maybe I would try to see if I could get the control to work with it.

Segway meets scooter

Here’s a new idea I added to the idea section:

Balancing Scooter — August 2013
What if I could merge my putt-putt stander-scooter with this?:
John leans forward in the stander and it goes forward.  Leans to the side and it steers to the side.  It’s so compact.  John would only take up about as much room as a person does.  A definite space saver when in a house.  Wonder how it would do over thresholds or carpet.  Wonder if anyone could make it for me!