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Old 10-06-2015, 05:14 AM   #81
ex-Gooserider
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Hello,

First post, so an intro is in order... I am a T-5, ASIA-B paraplegic, (for the non medical, that translates to paralysis from about diaphragm level down, with some feeling but no motor control) about 5.5 years post-injury. By choice I use a power chair as much as possible, and a manual chair when I must.

I found this site through a link in a message posted on WheelchairDriver.com, which is one of the best sites in the world for people that hack on power wheelchairs.... I have to admit that I don't have a huge interest in building model engines, but this is the first time I've ever seen a forum area devoted to the notion of doing machine shop things with a disability.... I hope that I can learn and share tips on how to function better in a shop, which is something that seems to be the same no matter what sort of things one is working on...

I've always been a maker / tinkerer sort, and did some machining at home on a 'Smithy' mill-drill machine that I learned to hate with a passion for it's limitations.... I also did a good bit of welding, along with repairing and maintaining my Moto-Guzzi motorcycle (source of my handle, which I use in lots of places...) and all sorts of other things.... Essentially drop it in front of me and I'd void the warranty....

After I got hurt, one of my biggest frustrations was that I couldn't even get to, let alone USE, most of the stuff in my garage shop (Significant Gender difference observation - she thinks the garage is a place to put cars, he KNOWS it is intended for use as a shop.... ) Even before I was hurt, I was also frequently annoyed by the limitations on what I could do because of limited space, tools and so on....

I'd heard about the hacker-space movement, but hadn't really gotten involved, before I got hurt, but as soon as I got back to being able to drive post-injury, I started checking out the local spaces, and ended up as an 'inmate' and volunteer at the Artisan's Asylum in Somerville, MA. This is one of the worlds largest / best spaces by pretty much any list of hacker-spaces you find - we aren't #1 on many lists, but we are near the top of ALL of them....

As an inmate, I get access to all sorts of shop spaces, including welding, (TIG, MIG, Oxy-Fuel) Precision Machine - (CNC Sharp mill, manual Bridgeports, 15" Colchester engine lathe, etc, and we are working on getting a 3 axis VMC online) CNC shop (Shop-bot, MultiCam, CNC plasma-cutter) laser cutters, 3-D printers, electronics lab, and so on... I work on a wide range of stuff, though most of it has been disability related in one respect or another, as I think what the industry supplies is mostly junk....

One of my projects relates to an interest I have developed in adaptive rock climbing - I designed and built some of the gear that I use to move up (vertically) in the world, which puts me on the bleeding edge of adaptive "Aid climbers".... I am presently on the edge of getting my 'lead climbing' chops, and when I do, I'll be only the second paraplegic in the WORLD to lead climb.... Couldn't do it without some of the hardware I've designed and machined here at the Asylum.

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Old 10-06-2015, 02:33 PM   #82
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Welcome ex-gooserider. Many handicapped craftsmen overcome their disabilities with their ability to improvise. In a hobby such as ours the problem is often simply that the equipment is not designed to be used in the manor that ones handicap requires. Any help you can give in modifications to tools or inspired methods would be of great help to some.

My truck sits out in the weather, it does not deserve any of my precious shop space.

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Old 10-07-2015, 06:01 PM   #83
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Welcome to HMEM ex-Gooserider,
Most of the members here have diverse interests so you will fit in just fine. While our primary focus is on designing and building model engines, the skills required translate to almost any type of project.

If you can't find an appropriate forum for one of your projects you can post in "The Break Room", and you will probably find some other member that will have an interest in it.

The "Machining with Disabilities" forum is not about what we can't do, but rather about what we can do, and ways we can do more. Almost everyone has a disability of some form, but most would never consider themselves disabled. We just have to do things in a little different way.

Like you, I used to ride motorcycle. In my case it was BMW's for a long time. Rode the Alaska Highway in 1960 from Anchorage Alaska to Fort Worth Texas when the Alaska Highway was still about 1500 miles of dirt, gravel and mud. Wonderful time. Also, flew airplanes and drove sports cars up to half a dozen years ago but failing eyesight has made that a thing of the past. Surrendered my drivers license and now drive a fast three wheel {barely legal) electric mobility scooter that will do wheelies. It was the best available when I bought it, but like you say most of the equipment for the disabled is junk. I don't know how anyone who doesn't have a machine shop and the abilities could keep one running.

So, model engines or not, you're certainly welcome here. I'm sure many others would like to see some of your projects. And we really like photos.

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Old 10-07-2015, 09:38 PM   #84
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Thanks for the welcoming words....

A lot of my adaptive stuff is fairly simple, but is vital to being able to use the equipment....

While the upside of a space like the Artisan's Asylum is that it gives you access to all sorts of cool tools that would be WAY out of reach for the typical home shop; the downside is that you mostly can't modify them to suit abilities... You either have to figure out your own tactics for making do, or pass on the machine, which I'm mostly not willing to do.

I'm not faulting the folks at the Asylum for this, as they are generally pretty good about trying to make things as accessible as possible, but there are limits on how much one can modify a machine that has to be used by a large number of people, most of them AB's....

Fortunately a lot of the adaptive stuff is relatively simple and easy to make, either out of free / salvage materials, or at least Harbor Fright grade stuff...

One of my first creations was my 'mill-stick'. It allows me to operate our Sharp CNC mill completely, and partially operate our Bridgeports.... I can't reach the mill head on the BP's so I can't change speeds or bits without assistance, but I can work the power switch and the table cranks.... Of course having access to a CNC mill means I have to be pretty desperate to want to go back to the manual BP....

The Sharp is a BP clone, which has a crank operated variable speed transmission, and an air-chuck on the drawbar....

My mill-stick is about a 2-3' long piece of 3/4" ply about 2" wide, fished out of the woodshop scrap bin... I cut a notch in the side of one end that lets me work the power switch, and drilled a 3/4" hole that fits over the hand crank on the speed knob... I can reach everything else that I need to from the chair, so the stick lets me do the stuff I can't reach...

We recently got an Ironworker, which is a wonderful tool for dealing with long stock. It uses a foot pedal, and I find the mill stick is good for pushing that as well....

I've also found that it can be very handy to mount mirrors on the arms of magnetic bases - the cheap hand held make-up mirrors are a nice size, and it can be really helpful to have the magnifying side. The biggest use is on a lathe, so that you can look down on the workpiece - if you look from the front the tool post tends to be in the way... It's also nice when milling up close to the head so that you can see more of what the bit is doing....

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Old 08-16-2016, 01:53 PM   #85
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As a chap with just one weight supporting leg I am glad to have found this forum. Considering the alternatives, I am glad my mind is still strong because with it, I can work around my physical limitations. Reminds me of the old joke, Modern Medicine is so good that we can all expect to live long enough to get an incurable disease. Physical limitations just require me to do more mental preparation than I used to, and that is not an entirely bad thing.
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Old 09-16-2016, 12:40 PM   #86
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does "between the ears" mean your IQ rate?
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Old 12-10-2016, 12:46 AM   #87
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Poppy Ann, please translate your statement. ?
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:54 AM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MachineTom View Post
Poppy Ann, please translate your statement. ?
Hi Tom, I was answering a post where they said they were 25 between the ears now I know I should have pressed Quote and not reply my answer was to post no 8 which just took me 15 minits to find as I started at the end and worked forward I should have started at the first message and then I could have found it straight away.

Regards Poppy Ann.
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Old 12-24-2016, 09:49 PM   #89
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I've just started getting into my workshop after a bike crash in July - 2 months in intensive care, and another 2 months in rehab (broke 9 ribs, pelvis, collapsed lung, broken arm and smashed hand, and a lot of nerve damage). I'm mostly healed, but have a right leg that doesn't work from the knee down, and a right hand that doesn't close properly. The biggest thing that got me was just how much strength I had lost - I had to get a friend in to loosen all the locking bolts that I'd tightened "finger tight" on the morning of my accident. The first thing I had to do was tidy my work area, a cluttered area means that I often can't retrieve something if I drop it, and limited mobility and balance make tripping over things a lot easier. I also can't lay stuff out on the floor to assemble and weld, so have had to make space on my workbench for that. From a machining point of view, it is the weakness that is most limiting. I spent this week on my mini lathe and mill making new chuck spanners and locking knobs for my big machines with a lot more leverage, or octagonal heads that I can get a spanner on, as I found that I just couldn't tighten them up enough to be safe. Anyway, slowly but surely my strength is coming back, and it is really good to be turning big bits of metal into little bits of metal again.
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Old 12-25-2016, 10:53 PM   #90
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Glad to hear you are recovering and getting back into the shops....

Don't be afraid to hit the gym as well, being laid up for any length of time will cause a lot of deconditioning / strength loss even where you weren't injured. Getting that back can be a lot more work than you'd think, but the more you get back the more you can do and it will make learning to work around your new limitations easier...

One general item that I try to never be without is a telescoping magnetic pickup tool - as in magnet on the end of a radio antenna... It is small enough when collapsed to be easy to carry around next to your pens and so on, but makes it a lot easier to pick up stuff without bending as much... I get mine at Harbor Fright, cheap and works as well as the more expensive ones. Obviously the magnet is good on the ferrous stuff, but I also use the rubber handle end almost as much to drag paper and other non-ferrous stuff to the point where I can at least bend over and reach it easier....

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