Introduction: Epic Homemade Adjustable Stilts!
Hi all, today I am going to take a shot at my first Instructable, so here we go! It all started a week before a science field trip to Payne's Prairie so we could walk the La Chua Trail. While my science teacher told us about the trail, I had an idea so I raised my hand and asked, "Would it be okay if I walked the trail in stilts?" He replied saying "If you can." I think the fact that nobody believed me and thought I would never actually walk the trail in stilts made me decide that I was actually going to do it. That night I went home and started to draw up some designs and I thought I would share what I came up with!
For this project you will need:
• An old pair of crutches (you can get them new for around $30 new or as low as $10 used)
• An old pair of footwear (boots, tennis shoes)
• Plywood (about the thickness of the aluminum pipe on the crutches)
• A short section of a two by six
• Velcro straps (2)
• Pvc pipe (optional)
• Camp mat (optional)
• Heat gun (optional)
• six 3 inch drywall screws, sixteen 1 inch drywall screws, and one 1 1/4 inch 5/16-18 bolt/nut
Disclaimer: We all like to have a good time, so PLEASE be smart while using not just these stilts, but all stilts and I take no responsibility for you injuring yourself on this contraption. Use common sense, which may include learning beforehand that the trail you are about to attempt in your three foot high stilts is 3.2 miles. Let's not forget that half of that trail is a skinny boardwalk with a three foot high railing 10 feet above alligator infested water. Also, make sure you realize that the rest of the trail is slippery mud with all your classmates attempting to walk past you and that those very same classmates will convince you to walk up stairs to a 20 foot high tower also with a 3 foot railing. Most important of all, don't forget that you have to do that all over again back the way you came. Practice on flat ground, preferably in a grassy field, not a long hike.
I have entered this into the "Move It" contest, so if you thought it was interesting, a vote would be greatly appreciated!
Step 1: Trace the Inside of the Crutches and Cut
Get some of that plywood (make sure that it is about the same thickness as the pipe) and after removing the handle, trace and cut the middle section of the crutches. You can use your first cut-out to trace your next one. This way we will have a foundation for our foot-pads!
Make sure that you trace the center out a little large, it needs to be snug and you can always sand off the excess.
Step 2: Attach the Plywood to the Crutches
Drill a hole through the plywood using the top hole in the crutches as a guide. Then, you can use the hardware from the handles through the top hole to secure the plywood in place.
Make absolutely sure that you a drill the hole STRAIGHT, especially if you have to drill on ether side to get all the way through. Use a hammer to lightly tap the pin if necessary.
Step 3: Add Support
Cut 4 brackets in order to keep the bottom of the middle section from flipping out. After that, sand, drill, and secure with a 1 1/4 inch 5/16-18 bolt and nut.
You do not need to use sheet aluminum for this step, you can use plywood (I just used aluminum because I had some on hand).
Step 4: Recap of What We Have Done So Far
At this point you should have something that looks kind of like this. Note how the bottom of the middle piece touches the bar which touches the ground. This is helpful in transferring your weight directly to the ground through the strongest part of the crutches.
Step 5: Cut and Add the Foot Rest
Cut from corner to corner on the two by six (about 10 inches long) and screw it into the middle section of the crutches making sure that it is centered, resting on the brace we made earlier. Use at least three 3 inch drywall screws to hold it in place.
Step 6: Cut and Add the Foot Pad
Now you should trace about 1/4 of an inch around your tennis shoe on a piece of plywood and cut it out with a jigsaw. Then screw it firmly in place. Make sure you use 6-8 1 inch drywall screws to secure the shoe to ensure maximum stability.
Step 7: Making Your Stilts Hike-worthy
At this point you could strap on the stilts and just start walking around, But if you utilize some PVC and a camp-mat, you will have a pair of stilts you can truly be proud of.
Step 8: Cut and Shape Your Leg Brace
Measure and cut two seven inch sections of 4 inch PVC (preferably schedule 20) and cut it down the middle. After that, use a heat gun to make it fit snugly around your leg (It needs to be snug in order to give you maximum support)
Schedule 20 PVC is lighter and easier to mold.
Step 9: Cutting the Foam
Roll the pipe over the foam in order to to measure the correct length.
Give yourself about 1/4 of an inch extra space on the foam, to keep the edge of the pipe from digging into your calf.
Step 10: Gluing the Foam in Place
Use some spray glue and cover one side of the foam. Fold it in half and (carefully) stuff it in the PVC pipe. Use duct tape to cover up any excess glue. After that, screw it into place with three 1 inch drywall screws.
I recommend putting on the stilts and the pipe separately while sitting on the ground and make sure you screw the pipe in at the correct angle.
Step 11: Feet
Drop a washer down a 1 1/4 inch PVC cap in order to keep the aluminum ends from wearing through. Shove a rubber furniture cap on the PVC cap and a 4 inch section of 1 inch schedule 20 PVC an the PVC cap. Then, slide it on the end of your crutches. If you desire extra surface area, you can tape a small shoe to the bottom of the furniture cap. Interestingly enough, I got more comments about the baby shoes on the bottom of the stilts then the fact that I was actually wearing stilts!
My crutches did not come with feet so I had to come up with something else. Of corse if yours has feet, you can skip this step.
Step 12: Enjoy!
Thank you for sticking with me and reading this far! Here is a short video of me playing with my stilts! If you enjoyed this Instructable, let me know!
See you next time!