Whats the easiest way to make a height adjustable wash basin?

 I would like to make a height adjustable wash basin for someone in a wheelchair.
It needs to be capable of being adjusted with one hand and must be able to lock in position.
I already have the flexible plumbing supplies and waste fittings.
I know that it can be done with electrics but am looking for a cheap alternative.

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Use a gas-spring to hold the weight balanced. They are available from places like Mcmaster-Carr in the USA, or RS in the UK
despooner (author)  steveastrouk6 years ago
Thank you all for your help.
I do know some of the commercial products available but they are very expensive. I expect that a lockable gas spring is the answer. I also wondered if it could be done with counter balance weights or even normal springs, although I wouldn't want it springing up too fast and hurting someone.

As for the feed and drain, use flexible hoses. For the drain, a drain hose for a dishwasher might be the way to go.
kelseymh6 years ago
A couple of questions are (a) what is your budget, and (b) how secure and reliable does it need to be?

You probably need to answer (b) first. Is your user, or you, willing and intending to tweak it, tighten bolts, adjust it, and so forth as it gets used under normal conditions? If so, then you can get away with more "DIY-ish" construction. If you want this to be "built it and forget it," you may find that a pre-built, commercial product is less expensive than your cost to use sufficiently robust materials and components.

Then, what's your budget? You say you don't want electrics. I just found (I think) an electric adjustable sink (sink only, no countertop or vanity) for $550. If your component cost plus time to build is higher than that, it may be more reasonable to buy than to build.
kelseymh6 years ago
Gas pistons, as Steve said, are one good way to go. These are the same things used to assist you in opening a car's trunk/boot, and can be found in many sizes.
For locking into position, you would use a "sqeeze handle" which retracted a couple of pins from the sides of the counter. Those pins would engage holes (think about a bookshelf) to keep the counter in place. That gives you one-handed operation.

You could also use a hand crank and worm-drive system, like a car's jack. The user turns a crank on the front of the counter, and a gearing system engages with a worm screw or even just a notched track mounted vertically. I can't think of a good one-hand design that isn't really complicated -- you need to be able to turn the handle and lock/unlock the restraint system at the same time.

Have you tried looking at commercial products, usually found for kitchen countertops, to get some inspiration? The prices are outrageous, of course, but the design might give you ideas.
I was wrong about the hand-crank system. They don't need a separate locking mechanism. See some examples from McMaster-Carr.
jeff-o6 years ago
Does it need to be adjustable while the basin is filled? That will determine a lot about how the whole thing should work.

If it should only adjust while empty, then gas-lift pistons could be used to balance the weight of the basin and give it "zero weight."

However, if you want it to adjust while filled (with an arbitrary amount of water), then you may need to use a screw-drive. Think car jack...