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!


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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