Elbow Flip Switch

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Introduction: Elbow Flip Switch

About: There are some things you should just NEVER do.....

Elbow Flip Switch

With the global pandemic requiring us to reduce transmission of the virus from off of surfaces; let's eliminate light switches as a potential transfer point. This instructable outlines a 3D printed flap that attaches to a traditional light switch lever allowing the light switch to be actuated easily by your elbow.

The Flip Switch consists of a square sleeve with a flap attached that fits over the light switch lever (actuator) that makes it much easier to flip the switch with your elbow (or other body part) and not use your hand.

I have two children entering high school; a freshman and a senior -- Need to keep them safe from the virus!

Supplies

3D printer and filament

Silicone Sealant or electrical tape (optional)

Step 1: 3D Printing Orientation Matters

3D printed parts are most likely to break by the 3D printed layers separating. Picking an orientation to print a part is a tradeoff. With all the force that can be applied by smacking your elbow into the part I wanted to make sure the part was reasonably strong.

I, rightly or wrongly, concluded that it would be more likely for the small cross section layers that make up the 'box' that fits over the light switch lever to separate. The orange lines shown in the renderings above represent the small layers that would have less strength than the long layers shown in red in the second rendering. I felt it was important to provide strength especially where the flap attaches to the 'box' around the light switch lever and so was printed horizontally.

I felt this provided added strength and also reduced the need for additional supports.

Step 2: 3D Files

As shown in the Tinkercad screen shot, you can see the different shapes that were combined to create the 3D model.

Attached below is the .stl file for the Elbow Flip Switch.

It was printed in PLA at 230C with a 50C build plate. Supports were only used inside the opening for the light switch lever.

Step 3: Install and Flip Away!

The 3D printed part fits over the lever of the light switch. It may friction fit or may need to have a small piece of electrical tape put over the switch lever to provide a snug fit. If you really want it held tight you can squirt a small bit of silicone sealant into the opening before inserting the switch lever. Warning - you may not be able to remove the part if you use the silicone.

Enjoy keeping the virus off of your hands!

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    16 Comments

    0
    eyewalk
    eyewalk

    10 months ago

    I’ve been waiting my whole life for this!!
    bye bye karate kicks

    0
    wannabemadsci
    wannabemadsci

    Reply 9 months ago

    Keep up the karate kicks, just somewhere else - you have to stay fit and limber!

    Thanks for your comment!

    0
    sharpstick
    sharpstick

    10 months ago

    What happens if you bump it too hard? Something's got to give. I would design some form of friction fit that would break away.

    0
    wannabemadsci
    wannabemadsci

    Reply 9 months ago

    I like your suggestion for the breakaway!
    Thanks for commenting.

    0
    Loanarranger1
    Loanarranger1

    10 months ago on Introduction

    Congratulations on a creative design! May I suggest that if you are truly concerned with touching switches, you create a touchless environment using Amazon Alexa and voice activated Insteon switches. Although a lot more expensive then your solution, it’s completely touch free and upgrades your home into an amazing automated smart home. Switches average $35 each, but you can wait until Black Friday and get a great discount.

    0
    wannabemadsci
    wannabemadsci

    Reply 9 months ago

    I like your solution... although not without its cost.
    Thanks for commenting!

    0
    Vinniegret.
    Vinniegret.

    10 months ago on Step 3

    Not to be critical at all, but I am 68 and I have been turning on the lights with my elbow for at least 55 years. This would have made it easier, but I would not have liked a giant red (or any other color, really) plastic switch sticking out for me to crash into.

    0
    wannabemadsci
    wannabemadsci

    Reply 9 months ago

    Thanks for your comment. Just trying to provide a larger target and make it easier to flip.

    0
    lime3D
    lime3D

    9 months ago

    Sorry, but this is another solution looking for a problem. You can alread flip a switch with your elbow without this.

    0
    wannabemadsci
    wannabemadsci

    Reply 9 months ago

    I appreciate your comment and respect your opinion. But, it does provide a larger target to hit, requiring less accuracy.

    0
    Gastonone
    Gastonone

    10 months ago

    I am thinking hard why you designed the switch extender not symmetrical...

    0
    wannabemadsci
    wannabemadsci

    Reply 10 months ago

    I made it nonsymmetrical so it could print flat on the 3D printer build plate. To make it symmetrical would have required a significant number of supports under the 'flap' and I didn't want that. Besides nonsymmetrical really does not affect performance, just a slightly odd look. Thanks for the comment.

    0
    swd1950
    swd1950

    10 months ago on Step 3

    Great idea. I definitely want a 3d printer! In the meantime my plastic tubing stock (7/16” od, 5/16” id) fit quite snuggly. Start to finish less than a commercial break. I just hope the house doesn’t burn down now! (😜).

    2B58EB39-D037-4873-8CB1-F2390B34620B.jpeg
    0
    twofeetdown
    twofeetdown

    10 months ago

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    10 months ago

    What a great solution! :D I'm working on a collection of simple 3D prints and this will fit perfectly.

    0
    wannabemadsci
    wannabemadsci

    Reply 10 months ago

    Thanks!
    It just kind of seemed obvious to me to make a switch lever extension.
    Happy to be included in the collection.