Instructables
video How to build your own PVC Walker
Learn how to make your own walker from PVC pipe and other parts available at any hardware store.
Battman43122 years ago
I saw your right up. Just wanted to say this was an awesome project and pretty inspiring.

Three cheers for the awesome mom.
What a terrific project!! Good for you and it is pure genius that you used the PVC parts and elbows to make custom handles and a scalable walker. It seems very strong and capable of all sorts of environments and terrains. It gives him custom mobility as he grows.
John should be so proud of his mom!
The end of the video with the "....shake it all about..." was all so very cute and heart warming!!

Well made video and thanks for the great music too!!
Jennifer is the very best!!
gluckc (author)  Forensic-Man2 years ago
Thanks much. that music is from a band we play with but the main singer is cindi slaughter http://www.cindislaughter.com/home.html she just released a new CD.
(trying to promote my friends)

This is the 4th walker Jenn built. Each one gets minor improvements. but we use it everywhere and its so nice to 'throw' in the car.
I'm going to have to try this once my son outgrows his current walker. We had a lot of trouble convincing our insurance company to pay for it even though his doctors and therapists all agreed he needed it. It'll only grow with him for maybe another two years, at which point we can either fight insurance again or follow this instructible and make one. Thanks for posting this!
xraver70861 year ago
you sir have gained all of my respect. well done.
cool project, for the beech use the wheels off a kids riding car . The electric motor kind, when the batts die or the plastic sun fades people chuck'm at the dump, or in regular trash. Just ask around fer them.. the wheels are huge and will do well on sand (displacement of pressure over sand is greater then the wheels you used). if you glue a strip of inner tube rubber on each wheel they will work nicely on concrete.

You can put sleeves of brass tubing into the holes the axles (wheel bolts ) go into.

This results in nicer rolling no mangling of the plastic pipe. You can either ream the tubes at both open end so they can't fall out or use doubled nuts, (counter twisted to each other) on the "axle" (both sides) so it can never move. This is known as "bitch bolting". I do apologize for that term, it is the only term I know for it. I was taught it by an olden wizzen Machinist in Brooklyn, who I never ever heard curse(even when wacking a thumb).

Or you can epoxy in place. benefit to this is you can bitch bolt the wheel to the bolt then place through the tube using washers allowing for nylon washers and also bitch bolted in place. so then the the wheel experience no mangle the walker assemble also is mangle free.


If you have access to lotsa bike parts (old rims with axles) you can do much much better then that.

There are very expensive wheels that you can buy that are soft rubber huge and even better, but this project will be such a cool thing to build and maybe (unfortunately) pass on to another.

And I almost fergit, you can buy fixture parts that are threaded tubes, and then one nut each side will lock the tube in place (all bitching aside? ok ok that was silly)

hope the ideas prove helpful, great project

here is a site that shows the cars I speak of http://www.kidswheels.com/
valkgurl2 years ago
This is a great idea---I am not at all familiar with your sons condition but I am a 1 and a 1/2 amputee---left lower leg and half of right foot---with as you can imagine balance issues. I noticed that you said he "Likes the back piece to bump him". I might be able to say that for me the feeling that there is ANYTHING at all back there---a wall, a seat. even something I KNOW is flimsy--is for some reason "comforting". Just being able to touch something or know that it is there is somehow conducive to being able to move more freely.

I am looking to refine a design I came up with when my leg was first amp'ed.. They send you home with NOTHING and expect you to climb stairs etc. We took the bottom part off a quad cane and added a padded "seat" to the top (Clamped on to the area you would adjust) and this worked to allow me to go up and down stairs---with help! Now working on a further refinement for out of house use in a SMALL pull behind trailer for travel night use when I have my leg off. Think I will look into the PVC ideas and wheels you have used!

Hope the little guy is doing well!
trevormates2 years ago
One thing you could do is use caster fitting or pipe inserts like these from formufit.com, as they let you use standard 7/16"  stem casters from the hardware store inside of PVC pipe ends.  

You could use 1-1/4" on the lower ends, and then insert 1" pipe into the top halves.  The 1" pipe slides in and out of the 1-1/4" pipe and then you can use pull pins with holes between the 1" and 1-1/4" and make it adjustable as the little one grows!

They also have 4-way Tees to help incorporate a seat!

Great project, and inspirational.  Glad the little guy could help building it too!
dimtick2 years ago
I'm not sure why but it's not letting me reply to your reply so i gotta do a new comment. go figure.

the wheels that i showed are made of lightweight aluminum and probably lighter than the plastic ones your using. i'm sure that your local medical supply store, where they sell walkers, would have some you could check out.
your right thought that they don't work if you want to keep cost minimal.

looking at the video, i'm wondering if the walker would work better if you simply turned it around so the cross bar was the front? the cross bar could be used as another handle and you could even hang a basket off it. your child would have plenty of room for his stride without bumping his back on the cross bar like i see him do in the video. For your design you would use T connectors instead of the straight connector where the condensate pipe joins to the vertical rod and do the cross rod there. this would eliminate the need for the specialty 3 way connectors that your using now. would my seat idea work if it were at the front?


gluckc (author)  dimtick2 years ago
yea someone sent me a reply and it took 11 hours to arrive.

the cross bar concept across the front would prob work for older folks or children with different conditions.

However we've been encouraged by therapists to keep it in the back.

Our child has CMD and having an open front helps encourage him to stand up straighter when he walks vs leaning forward over a front bar--and this helps them in a variety of development ways (bone/muscle development). Also for young kids, the open front also promotes more self confidence to walk on their own-vs always wanting that support structure of a cross bar.

We've noticed that he for some reason likes the back cross bar bumping him. He seems to purposely place his body towards the back of the walker regardless of the length.

but i do like the idea of avoiding the 3 way connectors.
dimtick2 years ago
What a great project! it's great to see that your son isn't missing out on any of the fun!

I saw in the comments that you'd like to add a seat.
I had an idea on how to add a seat. add a cross piece halfway on each side and then add a cross tube on the back. the seat can be a simple stretched fabric seat.
I did a quick sketch that hopefully shows what i'm describing

as for the construction, it would probably be a good idea to sand the pvc joints before gluing and use pvc primer. the primer softens the pvc and makes the joint a lot stronger.

make sure with your wheels that you use washers with the bolt so the wheel rolls free. use the washers between the wheel and the pvc as spacers and add as many as you need to keep the wheel from rubbing against the tubing.
use locktite on the nuts so they don't come loose.

using walker wheels may work a little better or maybe you could scavenge the wheels off an old stroller?
something like these: http://www.dmesupplygroup.com/fixed-wheels-603650a.html
they'll slide into the end of the pvc and there are holes on the sides so you can adjust the height.

Great Job!!
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gluckc (author)  dimtick2 years ago
Those are some good ideas. and thanks for the sketch!
We'll have to try the primer and sanding concept on the next one.

we are trying to get some bushings for the wheels to help keep them from being so floppy, and have learned over time to use locktite nuts.
our first wheels were from toys we had. Then we bought about 75 of what is in the video for cost.

the wheels you mentioned look nice and easier to use, i'd be concerned about the weight though. John can currently hold his walker in his hands and we lift him up stairs. It its just a couple oz too heavy he can't hold it or pick it up to turn. those look like good inside wheels.

the seat idea would work but we'd have to make the walker longer to accommodate his stride, which makes it harder to maneuver and fit. If that seat were to flip up or down into position then it would probably work,

our other criteria is making it cheap, we want to make kits that can be sent on medical mission trips to developing countries, and all they do is snap it together, and they could easily fix or replace pieces that break. I think our current cost is around $13 of parts.

I do like the cross stabilization bar, and for heavier children that would probably be critical.
lafnbear2 years ago
Wonderful! One suggestion: assemble the sides first, THEN lay each side down flat & drill for the wheel axles. Should make final assembly easier.
nneul2 years ago
Very awesome. My 5 year old daughter has a friend who is 4 years old and who depends on a walker and a wheel chair for mobility issues. Last year I designed and made a seat for her for her walker to give her temp. relief when her legs were giving out. I was very similar to this one...http://www.instructables.com/id/Seat-for-a-walker/ but scaled down for a child. We should partner up :)
gluckc (author)  nneul2 years ago
Thanks. I saw the seat, and it looks very useful.I really like the concept. John also gets tired and needs a break. It would be nice if the seat could somehow be 'available' for him to pull out when he wants it, rather than us having to stop and do it for him.
nneul gluckc2 years ago
The child sized one has snap clips instead of d rings. It also had another set of clips that were color coded and those held it out of the way. All the girl had to do was unclip 2 clips, pull it over to the side and reclip it. If this is truly something that you would be interested in; email me... I sent you a private message.