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Plastic Soda Bottle Prosthesis Answered

Prosthethic arms for land-mine victims, etc.

War, land mines, and natural disasters create far too many amputees each year, especially in the developing world.  Worse, prosthetic limbs are expensive and hard to come by.  The Center for International Rehabilitation, posting under Instructables username CIRNetwork, has been working to find sustainable solutions:  locally available materials worked by local craftsmen.  

Their plastic soda bottle prosthesis is one clear, simple solution to this problem:  a plastic bottle is heat-shrunk to cover a plaster cast of the limb stump.  Different devices can be attached to the end of the bottle, enabling the wearer to perform basic daily tasks.  This type of thing can really make a difference.  Check out the video below, and see more on the CIRNetwork YouTube channel.



Want to help?  CIR is seeking donations of mobility aids to support ongoing rehabilitation relief efforts in Haiti.  You can also make general donations to assist people with disabilities worldwide.



This post has been sponsored by Pepsi. The Pepsi Refresh Project celebrates the people, businesses, and non-profits with ideas that will have a positive effect on our world.

22 Replies

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darkclaw42 (author)2010-03-18

 This is a extremely smart idea. It would be better if there were two plastic bottles, and something inside of them that would help stabilize and strengthen the structure (if they did I missed it). 

I kinda find it funny that Pepsi is helping. All I see from them are coke cans, we need plastic bottles! Common Ozarka!

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CIRnetwork (author)2010-03-13

Thank you so much for posting this. We really appreciate all the wonderful comments, ideas, and support from the Instructables community!

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drakesword (author)2010-03-11

If I were doing this I would make a couple modifications.

1) Use a second bottle, removing the spout, and shrink it over the first bottle. Possibly with some epoxy in between.

2) I would reinforce the end attachment part by making a piece of pcv permanently attached.

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user

If you check out the YouTube link that Christy posted above, there is another video that shows a second bottle being applied over the first (this was also suggested on the original 'ible).

As noted in the original 'ible, the PVC is not attached permanently because this allows the terminal devices to be swapped out easily by just removing the hose clamp.

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kelseymh (author)drakesword2010-03-11

Why not post these suggestions to the original instructable, where the original author would see it?

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Ranie-K (author)2010-03-12

I have a cool, but less "idealistic" application for this great idea:

PLASTIC BOTTLE CAMERA ARMOR:

Make a positive copy of your camera: Cover it with a condom (or robber glove sleeve) and plastic wrap. Roll on a layer of soaked plaster bandage. Let harden and take apart. Coat with petroleum jelly or dish washing liquid. Re-assemble and fill with plaster. Let harden for several days, remove mold and polish positive.

Measure that the positive is as big as the camera. If not, tape a material like 1mm thick cardboard to the flattest sides -perhaps also over the display area, so the armor will be 1mm away from the screen.

Then do the same process as for the prosthetics, and cut holes where you need to access buttons and tripod threads.

Instead of pulling out the positive, you may need to destroy it to get it out; don't bang the plastic too much in the process, since that may discolor it.

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kelseymh (author)2010-03-08

This is a great project to feature, Canida!  There is, however, something just a tad disturbing about the Pepsi sponsorship :-/

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PKM (author)kelseymh2010-03-09

Really? I think it's more of a "look what you can do with the waste left over from our products".

In theory, how hard would it be to make bottomless "bottles" with a slight cone shape so they could be stacked one inside another?  Those could be shipped much more efficiently than full bottles- a stack of a hundred would only take up as much bulk as a few full 2 litre bottles, and they would cost a few pence each and function exactly the same way these do.

Free of the constraints of holding pressurised liquid, you could even customise the neck with a better type of opening for this type of clamp attachment- remove the screw threads, perhaps?

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kelseymh (author)PKM2010-03-09

You wrote, "how hard would it be to make bottomless "bottles" with a slight cone shape so they could be stacked one inside another?" 

In fact, I think that would be a much more complex manufacturing step.  These bottles are made by inflating a plastic blob into a hollow mold.  You get the bottom "for free," and it has to be there for inflation to work :-)

To get a cylindrical/conical open shape, you would either need a two part injection mold, or you would need to make the bottle the way they do now, but then run it through a slicer to cut off the bottom.

You're also talking about a much more specialized, low-volume application, which means that the manufacturer can't amortize the capital equipment and maintenance cost over (m/b)illions of units.  Instead, that cost gets spread over maybe a few hundred thousand units, which means the cones each cost at least 100 times as much as an empty bottle.

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fazgard (author)kelseymh2010-03-11

Well put.
And great idea.

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TallTrav (author)kelseymh2010-03-11

Spoken like a tool and die technician crossed with an accountant.  I was thinking the same thing...lol.

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kelseymh (author)TallTrav2010-03-11

We call them "project managers" around here.  Former engineers (or physicists in my case) doomed to die smothered in Gantt charts....

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user

"Project Manager" is a nasty thing to call someone. I used to be one, and I'd never call anyone that. Especially if that meant they had to do the job.

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canida (author)kelseymh2010-03-10

It's a fantastic project, and needs as much publicity as we can give it.

Re: the Pepsi sponsorship, if a big company wants to put its money behind publicizing and funding good ideas I'm doing everything I can to encourage the behavior.  Imagine if this became standard practice!

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kelseymh (author)canida2010-03-10

I agree!  Despite the anti-business diatribe posted elsewhere, encouraging large companies to put some of their cash and PR towards Good Things isn't bad, whatever the companies' own motivations.

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ItsTheHobbs (author)2010-03-09

It would be even better if the attachments were threaded so they could be easily screwed on.

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kelseymh (author)ItsTheHobbs2010-03-09

Why not post this directly to the I'ble?  But check the comments first to see if someone else wrote it already!

As for the suggestion itself, keep in mind that this project is designed to be done, from scratch, within rural developing contries, with very little in the way of complex equipment.  Creating a design that requires custom threading on pipe makes it harder to deploy, and harder for the people involved to do for themselves.

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ItsTheHobbs (author)kelseymh2010-03-09

It would be relatively easy to fit something to the cap, though wouldn't it? I think it would be quite hard to attach the pipe clamp without assistance.

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kelseymh (author)ItsTheHobbs2010-03-09

Ah!  You're thinking of force-fitting the cap itself into a length of PVC, then just screwing the cap back onto the bottle.  That's a very interesting idea, and using appropriate epoxy ought to be fairly strong.

Definitely worth posting.

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jeff-o (author)2010-03-08

Ah, I remember this project.  This one will do well in Pepsi's contest, I think.

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M.C. Langer (author)2010-03-08

WOW!!!! YOU HAVE ALL MY RESPECT AND ADMIRATION!!!!!!

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