Introduction: Combination Cane/Grabber
Because of back issues, I have to use a cane if I walk very far, and there are times that a grabber would be handy. Unfortunately, however, if I need both, it requires the use of both of my hands. One day in a fit of inspiration I decided to make a combination cane & grabber.
Step 1: Making the Cane Into a Grabber
My first step was to make a cane. For many years I have made my own canes -- I learned a long time ago that if you want a cane to fit you really well, it's best to make it yourself. The cane is very simple, consisting of a handle of your choosing and a shaft of the correct length for you.
In this case, i used 3/4 inch oak for the handle and 1/2 inch oak for the shaft (oak makes a very sturdy cane).
To add the "grabber" feature, I routed out a 1/4 inch slot a few inches from the bottom of the cane and made the pincher from 1/4 inch oak (as shown in the photo). You want to make the slot wide enough to allow the pincher to swivel open and closed. I lined the "grabbing" part of the pincher with a small piece of rubber for holding power.
The pivot portion of the pincher is a 1/4 inch bolt, with a washer in between the pincher and the cane. This bolt is left loose enough for the pincher to operate freely. I used a threadlocker to keep the nut from unscrewing.
Since the resting position of the pincher should be in an open position, I added a small spring as shown in the photo. This allows the pincher to automatically return to its resting position.
Step 2: Controlling the Pincher
The pincher is controlled by a heavy wire (I used the type of wire that is used on chain link fence installations). This wire runs from the end of the pincher to just below the handle, where I formed it into a loop. Between the loop and the pincher I used 3 small eye screws (spaced evenly along the shaft) as guides. The hardest part of working with the wire was getting it straight (it came in a coil).
For comfort, I wrapped the loop with cotton cord and secured it with super glue.
Step 3: Using the Grabber
To use the grabber feature of the cane I reach down to the loop with one finger and pull it toward the handle. This engages the pincher and picks up the item I need.
Step 4: That's All There Is to It!
This turned out to be a simple, but very handy project. One device serves two purposes!
Runner Up in the
Assistive Tech Contest