Introduction: D4E1 Billiard-aid

About: Hi, I'm Jelle. I like to tinker, fix stuff, build projects... And I love creating functional objects that help people. I believe in open (ended) design, so I'm here to share my work and be inspired by others' …

A hand-aid for billiard players who suffer from arthrosis or rheumatism.

We made this aid for Patrick. He is retired and a fanatical billiards player. He is chairman of the local billiard club and also coaches. For some time now, he has been suffering from arthritis and a painful hand when practising his hobby. In time it will become more difficult for him to support his cue properly. When we met him for the first time he had already given lots of thought on how to solve the problem for himself and for others suffering the same predicament. Patrick has a technical background and he passed us a file with technical drawings which enabled us to start the job promptly. We built 18 prototypes in total and made 7 visits. By building and extensively testing this number of prototypes we encountered several problems. The ultimate device is largely based on Patrick’s original concept, that was designed to be produced entirely by turning and milling.

In a team of 2 designers and 2 occupational therapists, we focused on the ergonomics and the accessibility of the aid for DIY reproduction. The aid can be built by anybody with access to easily available materials and techniques. The device is adapted to Patrick’s way of playing and finished with materials he finds pleasant to the touch. The modular construction in layers enables the device to be adapted to any individual wish. We are quite curious if, in the near future, we will find anybody who redesigns our billiards-aid or maybe hacks it for use in another game.

Below you will find instructions and files to make your own billiards-aid. If you are interested in our design-process; you'll find more (Dutch) information on our blog.

TEAM; Fran Christiaens, Fien Pannekoucke, Arabella Huys, Jelle Aarts

Step 1: Overview and Video

Step 2: Gather Your Supplies, Parts and Gear

We designed the billiards-aid as simple as possible. The main parts can made with 3dprinting, lasercutting or milling. In the next step you'll find downloads for making or ordering your parts.


  • 5mm thick transparent plexiglass, 250x200mm
  • 1 to 2mm thick leather, 220x130mm
  • 4 to 7mm thick foam, 220x130mm
  • 30mm elastic nylon band, 1m
  • double sided carpet tape, 15cm

standard parts;

  • 1 M6 locking hex nut
  • 1 D6 washer
  • 1 M6x20 coach bolt
  • 4 M4x10 countersunk hex socket bolts
  • 1 M4x20 countersunk hex socket bolt
  • 1 M4 locking hex nut
  • set of 15mm tent buttons (2male + 2female buttons required)


  • hammer
  • round file
  • sandpaper
  • screwdriver... any
  • size 10mm key
  • allen key size 3
  • M4 wiretap
  • cordless drill
  • fine cutter
  • button tools (usually incorporated when you buy a set)
  • sciccors
  • marker

Step 3: 3dprinting and Lasercutting

When you order or print the 3D part, make sure the 3D print is oriented so there is no print support in the long sleeve in the bottom. The part can best be 3D printed in ABS, PET-G or HIPS material, this way you will have a strong and durable part. If all went well you will have a 3D print with some support structure printed inside the two holes.

  1. remove this with a screwdriver
  2. cut away leftovers with a fine cutter
  3. smooth the surface using a round file and sandpaper
  4. or get a 3d print with water soluble support structure...

The transparent parts can be laser-cut (or milled, handmade) from 5mm transparent plexiglass. The leather cover can be laser-cut or cut by hand, we used 1.5mm thick recycled leather. Here are all the files;

Alternativly you can find the 3d print file also on thingiverse.

Step 4: Make the Foamcover for the Bottom

  1. use the plexiglass handplate and a marker to transfer it's shape on the foam
  2. use sciccors or a fine cutter to make the foampiece

Step 5: Prepare Plexiglass Parts

  1. tap M4 wire in all holes of the small plates using a wire tap (and a cordless drill)
  2. cover one side of each plate with the double sided tape
  3. use a fine cutter to ensure an exact fit and leave the protection paper on for now
  4. take the transparent plate of the cue support and soften/round off the edges in the cutout using a round file and sandpaper

Step 6: Prepare the Wristband

  1. make a simple wristband by cutting the right lenght from the elastic band, match on the wrist of the user and cut 3cm extra
  2. make a loop with 3 cm overlap and stamp a hole in the center of the overlapping part
  3. put a female button in the holes

Step 7: Prepare the Handstrap

  1. cut the remaining elastic band to a length of 40cm

  2. at each end; fold double so you have about 2cm overlap and stamp a hole in the centre of the overlapping sections

  3. on one end, add a female button

Step 8: Start Assembly; the Handplate

  1. take the big plexiglass plate, the small plexiglass plates and the leather cover
  2. screw them together using the 4 m4x10 countersunk bolts, tighten till the bolts are flush mount in the leather cover
  3. add a male button in the last free hole in the leather cover

Step 9: Add Pivot Arm and Handstrap to the Handplate

  1. connect the pivot arm to the bottom of the hand plate using the coach bolt

  2. put the hand plate on a flat surface with the bolt facing upwards and push the holes in the long elastic band (with button fastening facing up) over the bolt

  3. add the washer

  4. add the nut

  5. tighten the nut while holding the elastic band and pivot plate as shown in the picture

Step 10: Finish the Handstrap

  1. route the elastic band under the plate and ask the user to put his/her hand on the hand plate, then route it back over the hand making a cross with the first part of the band

  2. with the users’ hand in place, put the button in a comfortable position and tension over the first part of the band and mark the position

  3. stamp a hole on the marking and add a male button (with fastening facing female)

  4. snap the buttons together

Step 11: Attach Foam Bottom

Remove the tape protection paper from the bottom of the small plates and attach the foam shape.

Step 12: Assemble the Cue Support

  1. slide the transparent cue support in the 3D cue support as shown in the picture
  2. mount the countersunk M4 bolt and nut
  3. slide the complete cue support over the pivot plate, this should slide over firmly but without using excessive force (push fit)
  4. (use a file to adjust the width of the pivot plate and/or sleeve if the cue support doesn't push fit properly)

Step 13: Finished!

Look at your work and be proud! Use it, test it and please share any improvements or tips here!