Introduction: Personalized Sugru Assistive Container Opener

About: Hello, my name is Toglefritz. That’s obviously not my real name; my real name is Scott, but on the Internet I use the nom de plume, Toglefritz. I like to make things and I like to share my work with others. I …

Arthritis is a condition in which one or several joints in the body become inflamed.  This inflammation causes pain and joint stiffness.  As a result, it can  be difficult for people with arthritis to perform tasks requiring fine articulation of the joints.  This is especially the case for arthritis in the hands, which is the most common location for arthritis to appear.

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States with a diagnosis rate of 50% for people over the age of 65.  However, arthritis is not limited to seniors, half of all arthritis sufferers are under the age of 50.

Because of their condition, arthritis patients open find tasks which non-sufferers take for granted very difficult.  One of these tasks is opening twist top containers including:  glass jars, milk jugs, soda bottles, et cetera.  The grip strength required to open these containers is simply more than some arthritis suffers can muster, which is understandable considering the significant discomfort that would result if they tried.  Many tools exist that aim to make opening twist top containers easier for arthritis suffers (or non-sufferers stuck with a particularly tight lid); however, many of these tools only work on lids with very specific diameters, many others simply do not work. 

Put your DIY skills to good use and create a Personalized Assistive Container Opener for a loved one or friend who suffers from arthritis.  This Instructable will demonstrate how to construct, using only a few simple parts, a highly functional and customizable Assistive Container Opener.

Step 1: Materials Required

The following materials will be needed in order to construct an Assistive Container Opener:
  • Some Non-slip Drawer Liner or other grippy, flexible material.
  • One Empty Aluminum Soda Can
  • One Package of Sugru in your choice of color or colors.  Get it here.
  • Optional:  Ribbon, Glitter, Markers, or other decorating materials. 

Step 2: Cut the Non-Slip Material

The first step to make a Personalized Assistive Container Opener is to cut the non-slip material into the appropriate shape, namely a circle.  Measure and cut a circle with a diameter of 5 inches from the non-slip material. 

Next, cut an identically sized circle from a sheet or ordinary office paper.  Fold this circle of paper in half three times so that it is divided by the creases into six even pieces.  Then, cut out one of these slices.

After that, trace this cut out slice onto the circle of non-slip material.  Then, cut this slice out of the non-slip material.  After that, trace another slice directly next to the one you just cut out.

Step 3: Modify the Paper Circle

Fold the circular piece of paper back into a wedge shape.  Then, cut a strip off the round edge of the wedge so that the resulting  circle's diameter is about 4 inches, the height of the barrel of the soda can.

Step 4: Cut the Can

Safety Warning:  Protective gloves should be used during this step or else you may cut your hands. 

The first step towards dealing with the can is to rinse out the inside.  After that, use a scissors to cut off the top of the can.  Then, cut vertically down the can all the way to the bottom.  Next, cut the bottom off.

The can should now be reduced to a rectangular piece of aluminum.  Onto this rectangle trace the circular piece of paper with the wedge cut out.  Just like you did with the non-slip material, cut the circle out of the metal and trace an additional wedge next to the open one.

Step 5: Form the Opener

Fold both the metal and non-slip material into cones by collapsing the cut out wedge onto the wedge next to it.  Secure both cones with small pieces of tape.  Then, place the non-slip cone inside the metal cone and use some glue (any type will work) to fasten the two cones together. 

Step 6: Form the Grips

In order to form grips on the opener, first roll some Sugru into four ropes long enough to extend from the tip of the metal cone to the bottom.  Then, stick these ropes onto the metal cone.  Make sure to put one rope over the seam in order to hide it.  Next, form more Sugru into another rope that will extend around the base of the metal cone. 

Step 7: Customize

The beauty of this Assitive Container Opener is that it can be customized in any way you want.  The example on this step is one I made for my grandmother.  I placed pictures of myself and my brother's faces around the opener.  However, there are limitless ways that this Assistive Container Opener can be customized.  Get creative!

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