Introduction: Assistive Suspenders

About: 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

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