Introduction: Adaptable Drinking Aid for People With Disability

People with a disability aren't allways able to hold there own drink. To solve this problem we, as a team of 2 industrial designers and 1 occupational therapist, designed a drinking aid made out of everyday materials with simple production techniques, so everyone should be able to make one him- or herself with folowing instructions.

Also our arm can be put on both a weelchair and a bed frame, it's highly compatible.

Step 1: Materials and Tools Needed


- Wood slath (preferably multiplex) 0.5m long, 150mm wide and 18mm thick.

- Wood plane (preferably same wood as the slaths) approximately 250x250mm, 9mm thick.

- Steel bar approximatly 500x30x30mm

- 7x Small screws in this case M3, 16mm long

- 3x Long screws M2

- 4x Large bolts M5, lenght is depending on the width of the bedframe, in this 100mm long

- 5x Bolt plugs should fit on the small bolts, outer diameter around 4mm

- 4x Butterfly nut should fit on tje large bolts
- 5x Body ring should fit around the small bolts, in this case M3

- 2x Steel holders at least 25mm long (look at the image for more details)

- Rubber 120x120x3mm

- Ribbon approximatly 15cm long and 2cm wide.


- Drill

- Jig saw

- Buzz saw

- Hand Drill

- Wood glue

- Cutter knife

- Panel saw

- Oscilating multi tool

- Wood mill

- Basic hand tools

Step 2: Making the Joints

1. Take 300mm of the slath and mill 40mm from both edges as shown in the picture.

2. Smoothen the milled surfaces with sandpaper.

3. Saw 5 pieces of 44mm from the milled slath as sown in the picture. OPTIONAL: saw some extra pieces for safety.

4. Mark the centerpoint for each milled square of the joint (22mm from both sides) and drill in one side a M3 hole and in the other a M4 hole.

5. Round one corner of both sides with a sander as show in the pictures. TIP: Use a simple tool (a board with a bolt) as shown in the picture.

NOTE: Be sure to be as precise as possible when creating the joints. This will be important in the future.

6. Make some final adjustements with sandpaper to make the joints fit.

Step 3: Making the Holder

1. Take the wooden plane and drill a 83mm diameter hole. Do this two times.

2. With the jig saw cut out a form around the hole similar to the one in the picture. Do this for both holes.

3. Drill 5 holes as shown in the picture through both forms. TIP: Drill them both at the same time.

4. Take the rubber and use the edges of the wooden frame to cut out the right form. Also draw the inner cirkel on the rubber while you're at it.

5. Mark the centerpoint in the rubber and make 2 perpendicular cuts in the cirkel, through the centerpoint.

6. Put the rubber between both wooden frames, put the ribbon between them as well at the side the holder will be operated and put some 4M screws through the 2 holes closest to the hole of the frame. Put some plugs on the end for detail.

7. Make a trapezium out of the 18mm thick wooden slath. The largest base should be the width of the frame we just made, the shortest should be 30mm wide and the lenght approximetly 105mm.

8. Screw the wooden frame to the largest base of the trapezium by using the 3 holes left. Use 2M, long screws.

9. With a jig saw cut out a small piece out of the 9mm wood as shown in the picture to support the drink. Screw it to the smallest base of the trapezium.

10. Take one of the joints we made and cut it in half. Screw one of the halves to the back of the trapezium. When screw should limit the rotation of the holder to just one side.

11. Cut out of the 9mm wood a small triangle (dimensions as shown in the picture) and screw it just under the joint to avoid that the holder tilts over.

Step 4: Drilling Holes in the Steel Bar

To be able to adjust the height of the drinking aid, we drill some holes in the steel bar.

1. Mark some holes in pairs of 2 at an equal distance from each other. The distance and the amount of holes can be chosen freely. I recommend doing at least 15 holes at a distance between 1 to 2 cm.

2. Drill the holes with a diameter of 2mm.

Step 5: Making the Clamp

To put the drinking aid on a frame (like a bed frame) we made an adjustable clamp. If you aren't going to change the location of this drinking aid soon, than you can just measure the fram and don't need to drill all the holes. Just the ones you need.

1. First take the 18mm slath 44mm wide and about 250mm long.

2. Mark the holes you are going to drill in pairs of 2, 1cm from the edges and 1cm from each other (as shown in the picture). Start at one end of the slath and stop approximitly 60mm from the other end.

3. Drill the holes with a diameter of 4mm

4. Out of the 18mm wood cut a rectangle 44x60mm.

5. Drill 4 holes, one in each corner, about 5mm from the closest edges. The holes should have a diameter of 4mm.

6. Put the rectangle to the slath with all the holes and put 4 large bolts trough them. Fix them together by adding the butterfly nuts.

7. Cut a 44x44mm square out of the 18mm wood and glue it to the end of the slath (the part without holes).

8. Now draw a square on the square you just added to the slath. You can use the contours of the steel bar to get the precise dimensions.

9. Use the oscilating multi tool to cut a square hole completely through the wooden square and the slath.

10. Now you can put the clamp on to the steel bar. Put the 2 steel holders through the holes at the desired height in the steel bar and let it rest onto the clamp.

Step 6: Making the Connection Joint

This joint connects the arm to the steel bar.

1. Make 2 44x44mm square out of the 18mm wood similar to the previous one.

2. Glue them on top of each other.

3. Again use the contour of the steel bar to draw a square in the middel of one of the wooden squares.

4. Use the oscilating multi tool to cut out a square through bouth pieces of wood.

5. Take the other half of the joint you cut in two earlier and glue it on top of the squares.

Step 7: Assemble the Arm

Now take all the pieces of the arm and put them together. Pay attention to the rotation of the joints, some corners are rounded, so the arm can only bend in one way. Be sure it bends to the side you want it to bend.

To connect the pieces first add the plugs, then screw the two joint pieces together with a body circle between them. When the arm is full assembled you should be able to put it onto the steel bar. Optionally you can make hole through the bar and the end of the arm to secure them, but gravity should do the work as well and could be preferable if the arms has to change location a lot.

Step 8: OPTIONAL: Decoration

You could make a "sock" to pull over the arm to prevent fluids from jamming the joints. In our case we made a sock in the colors of our client's favorite football team.

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