Introduction: One Handed Walker (PPAT Team Lora)

Lora is a woman who works as a Vocational Counselor at the Massachusetts Rehab Commission. She lives in Boston with her two cats (both named Suzie) and loves to go horseback riding with her horse Lola in her free time. Lora has cerebral palsy which affects different people in different ways. For Lora, her balance is what is most affected. Lora is able to walk independently with a rollator, or she can lightly hold a companion’s arm to steady herself while walking. We spent the semester designing a walker that can be used with one hand that still provides Lora with adequate stability and maneuverability.


Link to full bill of materials can be found at:

Tools/machines required:

  • Bandsaw (cutting wood for base and shelf)
  • Drill (drilling holes in base and shelf)
  • Laser cutter (cutting rings to support walker on base)
  • Vice (holding walker when drilled into)
  • Heat gun (bending PVC)
  • Calipers (measurement)
  • Measuring tape (measurement)

Step 1: Base

  1. Cut the wooden base on a bandsaw (referencing attached drawing)
  2. Sand the base, clean it, and spray with wood sealant.
  3. Apply the contact paper (can skip to step 2f and make the shelf so that contact paper may be applied to both surfaces at the same time).
  4. Drill the holes for the wheel plate. There is a drawing attached, however marking the location of the wheels and their holes yourself is recommended.
  5. Drill the 1 3/16inch hole for the brake to go through. Sand the hole, clean off the saw dust and apply soft velcro on the inside of the hole to prevent scraping on the brake.
  6. Cut 12 wooden rings on the laser cutter using attached file
  7. Place the 3 of the laser cut rings onto each leg (the legs aren’t completely vertical) and wood glue the 3 rings together WHILE STILL ON THE WALKER LEGS, making sure that the bottom ring remains flat on the table.
  8. Once dry, remove the rings from the walker leg and spray paint the tops and sides of the stacked rings.
  9. When the spray paint is dry, place the rings back on the legs of the walker. Place the walker on the wooden base in the center of each of the wheel plates and wood glue the wooden rings onto the base with the walker legs still inside them.
  10. Epoxy the walker inside the wood rings.
  11. Attach the wheels using 4 nuts, 4 flat washers, 4 locking washers, and 4 bolts on each wheel. The order of each fastening assembly from top to bottom should be nut, flat washer, wooden base, wheel plate, locking washer, bolt.
  12. Cut the bumpers to be the thickness of the wood (½ in) and stick the bumpers on the corners of the walker base.

Step 2: Shelf

  1. Cut wooden shelf on bandsaw (see drawing for measurements. All units in mm)
  2. Cut wooden strip on bandsaw (4 cm by 27 cm)
  3. Wood glue the wooden strip under the shelf so the table is level on the walker supports (see dotted lines in drawing)
  4. Cut a slit for the brake to go through.
  5. Sand the base, clean it, and spray it with wood sealant
  6. Apply the contact paper. You can apply contact paper to base at the same time if you chose to wait.
  7. Drill the holes to loop velcro through to connect over the walker supports. There is a drawing attached, however marking the location of the supports and their holes yourself is recommended.
  8. Cut strips of soft velcro (same used to line the hole in the base) to line the slit for the brake. Attach the strips to the inside of the slit.
  9. Loop the velcro zip ties through the holes and onto the walker supports across the middle of the walker.

Step 3: Brake

  1. Cut PVC pipe on a bandsaw. Cut 2 4in segments and 1 3 ft segment.
  2. Using a heat gun, apply a slight curve to one side of each of the smaller PVC pipes.
  3. Attach PVC pipes to form T using the PVC Tee Joint and epoxy inside the Tee joint.
  4. Spray paint the brake your color of choice.
  5. Loop the bungee cord through the top the the T.
  6. Place the two hooks from each side onto the triangular side of the walker on each side and ensure that pushing down on the top of the PVC T allows contact with the ground.
  7. Add the rubber stopper onto the bottom of the T after it’s inserted into the hole.

Step 4: Making Modifications for Different Side Walker Models

  • Base
    • To adjust the dimensions of the base, first adjust the height of the side walker to the correct height.
      • (desired total height - height of wheels - height of base = correct height)
    • Measure the width and depth of the walker and add ½ ” to each dimension.
    • To adjust the dimensions of the rings, measure the diameter at the bottom of each leg of the walker (without the stopper on) and add 2mm.
    • Make this the diameter of the inner circle cutout and add 0.4” to get the diameter of the outer circle.
    • Keep the height of the ring the same.
  • Shelf
    • Measure the distance between the legs at the middle supporting frame (in both directions) to get the dimensions of a rectangle.
    • Adjust your cut to those dimensions (making sure to keep the holes about 2cm from the sides in order to attach the frame).
  • Brake
    • Depending on the model, there may or may not be a triangle on the side to hook the bungee on. If this is the case, drill 2 holes into the legs of the walkers near the height of the stabilizing bar in the middle of the walker.
    • Measure the height from those holes to the ground. Cut a piece of 1” PVC pipe to that height.
    • Measure the width between the legs at the height you drilled the holes, subtract the size of the PVC Tee Joint and divide by 2.
    • Cut 2 pieces of PVC to this length.
    • The rest of the attachments should be the same as outlined in the original instructions.

Step 5: Additional Notes

Illustrator and solidworks files are attached. BOM attached.