Assistive Suspenders




Introduction: Assistive Suspenders

Awesome Gear I've designed myself.

I got a call from a disabled veteran who has a challenge with balance. As a result, he has difficulty dressing himself with any clothing below the waist. He asked me to develop a tool to help him get dressed, specifically a set of suspenders he could easily attach and remove as he pulls up his clothes. This is the solution I created for him.

I modified heavy duty tarp clips, added a 3D printed handles, and connected them to nylon straps. I incorporated a "rip cord" to easily release both clips.

This is part of the make a tool contest. Don't forget to enter! Of course, I would love to have your vote. Thanks.


Step 1: Modify Tarp Clips

I needed to cut a slot through the back of the clip. To do this, I shut the clip by sliding the collar all the way down and scribing a line. Next, I opened the clip by sliding the collar up, and scribed another line.

I used an 1/8" inch endmill to cut a slot between both lines.

I also drilled a hole in the locking tab with a #29 drill bit. The hole needs to be large enough for the paracord to fit through, but not so large that the paracord slips out after the end is melted.

Step 2: Cut Straps to Size

I measured the length of the straps by throwing them over my shoulders and marking them from front to back at my waistline.

After cutting them to length, I cut the corners off and melted the ends to prevent them from fraying.

Step 3: Install Grommets

The clips are released by pulling on paracord. To keep the cord in place, I threaded it through two holes cut into each strap.

I added grommets to each hole to give it a finished look. It also prevents the holes from fraying. There are four holes, 2 in front, two in back, at chest level.

Step 4: Install the Release Cord

Pull the inner strands out of the paracord. This makes the paracord thinner and allows it to move easier through each clip. I used a piece of wire to help push the paracord through the locking tab hole and through the back slot. I used a torch to melt a bead onto the end of the paracord so would not slip back out.

Step 5: Add 3D Printed Handles

Since these straps will be used multiple times a day, I wanted to make the sliding collars easier to operate. I did this by adding 3D printed handles over the locking collars.

I designed the handles in Fusion 360, then printed them in tough resin. I spray painted them black to match the color of the clips. The file is included in this Instructable.

I used super glue to keep the handles in place. Finally, I used binding posts to attach the clips to the straps.

Step 6: Demonstration

Place the material all the way into the clip. If you have a seam you can grab onto, that may work better.

Clamp down each clip at the corners of your waist line. Make sure not to pull any tension on the release cords as you pull up on the black straps. Once your item of clothing is on, release the clips by pulling the rip cord.

Thanks for checking this out. Brent

Build a Tool Contest

Participated in the
Build a Tool Contest

Be the First to Share


    • Electronics Contest

      Electronics Contest
    • Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge

      Make It Modular: Student Design Challenge
    • Tinkercad to Fusion 360 Challenge

      Tinkercad to Fusion 360 Challenge



    8 months ago

    Thank you for spending your time helping this veteran. We need more people like you that care for others. Society has changed over the past 4-5 years and unfortunately there are too many people among us that just don't care about anyone other than them selfs


    1 year ago

    A clever idea - Once I overcame the confusion between American English and British English!


    1 year ago on Step 6

    At first I thought you were making an improved suspenders for Old Men! It was only later that I understood why the term adaptive was in the mix!
    These are great clips for tarpaulins and your adaptation should prove patentable - now there's a idea for an Instructable - how to protect / patent your design before going public!

    You see, I thought the blue bits were the elastic part of you new suspenders at first. The web strapping and strong clips would seem to work great for suspenders.

    If you printed a plastic part that 'accepted' the straps in an 'X' fashion at the back and punched a hole and set a rivet through that assembly all you'd need was a way of adjusting the length of the front straps.

    Nice work


    1 year ago on Step 5

    That was a good idea as a knarled or arthritic hand would have difficulty with velcro. Myself, I have balance issues due a torn meniscus. Good Work!
    US Navy Vet.


    1 year ago

    Bravo for you in helping this veteran! Thank you for sharing & you get my vote! patent attorney ~ YES!!!!


    1 year ago

    Quick, call a patent attorney and have your work patented!! Great ideas here! You're a good person for doing this work.