Introduction: Leg Abduction Attachment for Pediatric Walker
This instructable will show you how I made a guide for my son's walker to help prevent 'scissoring' or crossing of the legs while walking. A 'durable medical equipment' attachment from a manufacturer will cost you hundreds of dollars; this is the second time I've outfit a "Crocodile" brand walker with this attachment, and it's less than $20.
Cerebral Palsy is an umbrella of movement disorders that generally happen when the typical motor control learning process is interrupted by injury, usually before birth or in very early childhood.
We have received very many compliments on our walker attachment, but the greatest reward is just watching him be just a little more independent...
Sorry if this is very rough...I started this instructible in 2015 and it never got completed, so I'm just throwing it up there and hoping I will clean it up, especially if people as questions.
Step 1: Tools, Materials and Construction Notes
To build this project, you will need these supplies:
- 1 10 foot length of 1" SCH40 PVC pipe (although you will probably use only about 4 feet of it)
- 1 90 degree 1" SCH40 PVC fitting
- 1 1" SCH40 PVC 3-way Tee fitting
- 2 3" diameter hose clamps
- 1 package "Plumb Pak" 6-in Rubber Washer (like this)
I use 1" PVC pipe for my projects, it's a little stronger than 3/4" and signfiicantly stronger than 1/2". Any larger pipe than this...and I think it's maybe stronger, but the fittings and pipe get much more expensive. On the previous Croc walker, we broke the vertical post...after 3-4 years of constant use. I think I'm okay with that.
Tools and Consumables
You will need these tools or consumable supplies:
- Tablesaw (best, other saws may work if you know what you are doing)
- Ratcheting PVC cutter (like this)
- PVC glue and primer (like this)
I use the two-step PVC glue (purple primer and clear solvent cement). While I'm not trying to pass code inspection (the primer is dyed purple so that inspectors can tell that the joints were done correctly), the primer softens the pipe and fitting so that the glue makes a tighter bond. When my son did break the vertical pipe...it broke just below the connector, not the glued part.
For cutting PVC pipe to length, I use a tool like this. It doesn't always cut absolutely straight, but straight enough.
As you will see in this instructable, I cut some PVC fittings. There are two ways that I do this:
- Straight through cut using a table saw. This is how I cut the fitting for this attachment. Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of this part. Cutting PVC plastic on a table saw is a breeze; compared to wood, PVC is butter. I feel that using the table saw gets me a nice clean and straight cut. I suggest these hints:
- Set your fence so that the blade will hit the midpoint of the fitting -- and since the fence is there, you can go over it a couple times.
- Use the lowest blade height you can get away with -- just a general safety tip.
- If you have a short (like 1 foot) piece of 1" PVC, jam that into the not-to-be-cut hole of the tee to use as a handle. It's always best to keep your hands as far away as possible from the blade.
- Notched-out cut using a hot razor blade. I didn't use this method for this project, but have in the past. The advantage of this method is that it allows more complex cuts -- and I've used it to notch out a fitting so it would snap onto another (metal) pipe. The disadvantage here is that it's slower, smellier, probably more dangerous, and the finished cut is less neat. The rough procedure is: (although I'll probably describe this better in a future instructable)
- Start propane blowtorch on basically the lowest setting
- Grasp single-edge safety razor blade in a large pair of vice grips
- Heat one corner of the razor blade in the torch flame until it glows red hot
- Draw blade back and forth across PVC fitting until it cools off and stops cutting as well.
- Go back to step 3 until either you're done cutting, or your razor blade is all gunked up and warped, in which case you just grab another one with your vice grips and keep going.