Well, in short, I broke my heel, and the prospect of having to spend 8 weeks in an ankle cast didn't appeal much to me, so I designed a peg leg made out of an old pair of crutches, some spare parts, and an under-ten-dollar Home Depot run.
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Step 1: Here's My Heel, and Here Are Some Parts
Here's my heel. Ew.
I bought aluminum crutches for $5.99 at a thrift store, and some #8 machine
screws with locknuts at the hardware store. I already had some seatbelt webbing and 1” webbing with clasps. These aluminum adjustable crutches are an ideal way to get into this project: they adjust to your knee length, and are precise to within an inch. If they're too tall, there is about 2" at the bottom you can cut off.
Step 2: The First Mod.
I had to take the tops off them. I spread the top of one open wide by pulling while forcing the handle down. Marked it and drilled it then placed the handle in its new spot and fastened it there with the wingnut and bolt. I figured my knee could sit overtop the handle to bring the weight in line with my leg. You can see the finished product. Below that on the crutch is the first drill hole. Too ambitious, it caused the crutch to snap. See below.
Step 3: Corner Braces Joining the Crutches Together.
These are the corner braces I bought to fasten the two crutches together at an angle. I had to mark and drill at the corner so I could get one screw through both crutches. When that was done, I joined the two half crutches together with the locknuts.
Later I had to use an angle grinder to pare down all screws.. Here’s a wider picture of the crutches together. I wanted to show what happens if you try to spread them too far apart: they snap. The metal is hardened aircraft aluminum. The way to take the temper off is by heating it. This will cause it to soften up probably to the point of nonutility. I tried to be gentle. I failed. One broke, so I broke the other to match it and changed my plans. In pic 2, you can see where I had to gusset up the two horizontal members to keep them up. A better picture later. I also had to use that angle grinder and a wire wheel to take the burrs off the ends of the cut parts.
Step 5: Supporting the Leg
Added the support. An old pair of jeans cut and stretched over the frame, joined with drywall screws. Don't forget to hit all sharp points with a clipper and angle grinder!
Step 6: Rigging
In the first picture you can see the gussets. You can also see how I rigged my leg into the cast. That’s a single strap on the thigh, and a double on the lower leg cast.
The thigh will really need a double strap.
For the cast I tied a carabiner to the inside of the cast frame with a loop of webbing. Slipped a D-ring on the strap through the beener, and fastened the clip to the outside of the cast support. Then I just fastened up the strap in a very big loop, doubled it over my cast, and attached the D-ring to the beener. Cinched it up nice and tight. Sorry about the picture quality--I was on my own.
Before I got this set up and in use, I was out on crutches. I passed a group of tough looking kids--but they liked my cast enough to stop me for a picture. So here’s a picture. Want an instructable on how to paint up a cast to look like a Converse all-star? Forgot to take pictures.
Step 7: My Supported Leg and Notes
I reprise the picture of my success.
Notes on the Build
1) I used jeans for webbing. The project will be a lot better if I use a plastic utility bucket from home depot, as it needs the rigidity to keep it from parallelogramming. Sometime this week I'll get to it.
2) Instead of drywall screws, I will bite the bullet and use machine screws. They look nicer and there is less chance of getting snagged.
3) This item takes PRACTICE!!! It feels completely alien for the first couple of days, but stick with it and it gets better. I still need crutches with it when I'm out of doors, but it works pretty well inside.
Other than that, I'd say the entire project--start to finish about 5 hours--was fun and easy. I would highly recommend trying it! Plus, the cool-factor, well--let's just say it goes pretty well with the cast.