This is called the incredible elevator stick, but it is very versatile for many many uses. Sometimes the simplest inventions are the most useful. Back when I was in high-school, I would often have to use an elevator to get from one floor of the school to the next. As I am in a wheelchair, it was very difficult to maneuver in this very tiny elevator to reach any of the buttons. Unfortunately, the elevator in the school was an old model with the elevator buttons high out of reach. Even with the newer elevators, with my particular disability, in most instances I can not get close enough to the buttons to reach them. To solve this issue, the Incredible elevator stick was created.
My first incarnation of the elevator stick consisted of simply a dowel stick cut to a comfortable lenght with a rubber thimble used for sewing stuck onto the end with a rubber-band. This worked quite well. It allowed me to easily reach and press the button on the elevator. This worked well for me through High School.
In college, people would frequently ask me about this curious looking dowel stick with the rubber thimble rubber-banded on the end. It would often get strange looks. I started to realize that while it was practical, the ugly looking stick was somewhat a funny looking item to carry all about.
Thus we come to the new and improved Incredible Elevator Stick, which I might add is far more versatile than using for pushing elevator buttons alone. I can't tell you the number of times I've used this stick to simply reach, push and even pick up items that I have dropped. I've added a strong magnet to mine so that I can pick up small metal items like paper-clips, screws and nails. Because it is very lightweight, I frequently carry it with me and have had many times in which it has come in very handy.
There are a number of ways to make this item, but you will need the following basic supplies for which substitutions may be possible.
1) Dowel stick - You want to find a dowel stick that is comfortable to grip in your hand, thick enough that it won't bend too much, and not so thick that it is heavy to carry.
2) A rubber cap (rubber feet)- Various sized rubber caps are made for fitting onto dowel rods for the purpose of making dowel legs for tables. These feet can sometimes be hard to find, but are available in many hardware and retail shops. You want one that is slightly bigger than your dowel rod. A substitute for this is the rubber thimbal, though this is not as nice looking.
3) Electrical or Duct tape- You will need some electrical or duct tape in the same color as the rubber cap.
4) Paint or stain- You can use either acrylic paint, spray paint, or stain to paint your dowel. The paint should be water resistant and durable. (For most paints, you should use a disposable sponge brush)
5) picture frame eye loop- A very tiny eye loop of the sort that is used for picture frames.
6) leather- Either leather lace or scrap leather
7) Hot glue and hot glue gun
8) Optional: A lanyard
9) Optional: A small strong magnet that fits within the rubber cap. Rare-earth magnet.
10) Optional: A saw
Step 1: Step 1 Stick length
The first step for making this elevator stick is determining how long you need it to be. Typically, dowel sticks will me much too long left un-cut. You want the stick to be long enough to reach the highest elevator button for the elevator(s) you are most likely to use, but not so long that it will be difficult to carry. The best way to determine how long the stick should be is to take an un-cut dowel stick with you, go into an elevator, and see what length it is most comfortable to hold the stick to reach the button. Another good way to determine ideal length is to sit the tip of the stick on the floor. Generally, the stick should not be much more than two or three inches above your knee from the position of sitting in a wheelchair. For myself, I am making a short elevator stick to go with my longer stick. A short stick is easier to carry, but will work with fewer elevators. A longer stick will work with more elevators, but be more difficult to carry.
Mark the length of the stick with a pencil, than saw off the excess if necessary.