Why a forum on disabilities?

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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.... ;D

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. :cool:

ex-Gooserider
 

dnalot

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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.

Mark T
 

GailInNM

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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.

Gail in NM
 

ex-Gooserider

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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....

ex-Gooserider​
 

spoonerandforker

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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.:thumbup:
 

MachineTom

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Poppy Ann, please translate your statement. ????:confused:
 

PoppyAnn

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Poppy Ann, please translate your statement. ????:confused:
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.
 

Grim

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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.
 

ex-Gooserider

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Glad to hear you are recovering and getting back into the shops.... :thumbup:

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....

ex-Gooserider
 

nel2lar

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What a great thread. Thank you Gail.

I was diagnosed with MS in 2004. I spent almost 4 years on the couch/bed. I am 42 years young. I will not let this take over my life. I spend about 2-4 hours a day in my shop and about 13 hours sleeping. If you have a disability embrace it, fight like hell, and don't give up. ;D


Evan
Evan
I must agree we can not let a little pain stop us. I received my disability from Social Security in 2012 and spent a lot of years in bed but recently I have said enough. I once planted a garden over 1/4 acre. Well this year I will try to plant and take care of it. Putting seed in the ground is just the start and I'm going to give it all I have. I love to get into my shop and just loose hours, sometimes I can actually forget about the pain. When that happens I get the feeling I am in control and not the pain. But when I lay down to sleep I usually sleep for more than 12 hours. Wake up and feel the pain all over and find a position and drop off to sleep, the only peace to be found at times. My pain comes from my own body they call it Autoimmune*Diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and recently they say I also have arthritis. With both of them pain is unbearable but it seem the more I do the better I feel. 59 years old and I'm not giving up. Be strong my fellow sufferers.
Nelson C:wall: just hard headed
 

windy

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Been a year behind with my projects having heart problems then Burkitt's lymphoma I'm sending this from my hospital bed at York.
At moment everything going well as far as treatment but can never take anything for granted.
On my days off between two and a half weeks in the ward have been getting some billets of EN24T for crankshaft of my latest steam machine.
A chap I know who lost an arm and with his compensation bought two CNC machines the work he does is amazing for my speed machine friends he also has a Capri with a soaped up large engine he plays about with.
Here is an attachment picture of my materials etc. that hopefully if OK can turn into swarth for a steam motorcycle engine.

2017_0209_120304.jpg
 

Cogsy

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for my speed machine friends he also has a Capri with a soaped up large engine he plays about with.
I would so love to see that project. I have in my shed/shop a 1970 V6 GT Capri that I first bought when I was 18 years old, sold it when I was 29 and bought it back as a MAJOR project 3 years ago. One day, when I have the money, it will be the toughest thing on wheels (round here anyway), til then it just takes up 3/4 of the space in my shed, waiting patiently...
 

pigpen60

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I'm tone deaf and have secada's in my ears(tinitis?) I have wondered if those electronic muffs the shooters use could double as hearing protection and hearing aids of sorts?
 

Cogsy

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I'm tone deaf and have secada's in my ears(tinitis?) I have wondered if those electronic muffs the shooters use could double as hearing protection and hearing aids of sorts?
My father uses them at the range, basically never takes them off. They are very good at muffling the shots and help him hear what people are saying to him, as well as actually letting him hear the tone to start firing.
 

ex-Gooserider

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I'm tone deaf and have secada's in my ears(tinitis?) I have wondered if those electronic muffs the shooters use could double as hearing protection and hearing aids of sorts?
Seems to me like one of those things that you would need to try for yourself, as everyone will have different responses to a given piece of kit... However they aren't that expensive, and probably could be resold for close to purchase price if they don't work for you... My only advice would be to get a GOOD unit, don't try to cheap out with some of the less expensive ones like they sell at Harbor Fright... Folks I know that have tried both said there is a really big difference between them. I've heard several folks say very good things about the Dewalt units. One effect that I found a little disconcerting when I tried a cheap unit several years back before I got hurt, is that there is a slight delay between when you make a noise, and when you hear it. If you've ever use a PA system and noticed the delay between your talking and when it comes over the speaker, its the same sort of thing... I noticed it particularly when walking, as I'd hear the noise of my shoe hitting the floor long after I FELT my foot hit the floor.... How much this will bother you is something only you will know.... ex-Gooserider
 

PoppyAnn

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Hi PigPen,

like you I suffer from tinitis due to working in to much noise and no protection the hearing protectors that are not powered reduce the high frequency noises but allow the lower frequency noises to pass with little reduction and if your tinitis is bad it will not do anything to reduce it as the noise you think you are hearing is created within your ear if you are trying to reduce the noise of machines then they will reduce it fairly well and still allow you to hear people talking or music playing, for me my tinitis is worse when there is little or no noise so I try to have something playing in the background which gives the impression of reducing the ringing in the ear.
another thing to try are the powered noise reducing headphones which when there is quite loud background noise will cancel out almost all of it I wear them any time I have to fly anywhere as the plane engine noise I find quite painful and as soon as i power them up it is like the plane engines have been turned off so for me they are well worth the price.

good luck with finding something that works for you.

Regards Poppy Ann.
 

pigpen60

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Thanks for all the replies! My tinitis doesnt bother me too much as Ive had it for most of my life but the tone deaf seems to crank everyone off. Especially women with high pitch voices! I'm goin to try out the muffs at a friends place, he has muffs from cheap to high dollar. Folks leave them at the range or on vender days he gets freebies. Right this moment I'm fighting with my left leg, something popped behind my knee and its making walking hard. As for the chairs someone posted earlier, I went to school to be a machinist and we were never aloud a chair on the floor cause they said it was unsafe. Well I own/run my little shop and so I say whatever it takes to do what you love! I have 2 chars built outta tractor pan seats and the running gear from a office chair. I have had a couple of exciting moments with the drillpress but had an escape plan and things went well(No blood). So in closing do whatever it takes to keep going!
 
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