"We don't have that part" --- Emergency Adaptive Engineering

Had to share... My middle son (5 yo) has a few medical problems and had to go in for a "minor" operation... Allow me to say, that there is no such thing as a "minor" sugery when it's your kid they're cutting on. Surgery was on his heel, went great, he's fine... Mom's still a little fried, but you'll have this... Anyway...
Short version of the background... We have a wheel chair for him that a friend got at a sale. Very nice chair, like new condition. Because of the surgery he'll have a cast on the lower portion of his left leg. I call a place to inquire about a leg lift and anti tip bars (wheelie bars) for the chair we have... Girl on the phone says "no problem, have it in stock" and proceeds to give me costs of rental/purchase and directions to the shop... I think GREAT it's on the way home, they have the stuff... So.. leave work a bit early, find the place with no problem, walk in, talk to the manager and he informs me they don't carry this stuff, never did... who did I talk to etc... He was very polite and even offered to rent/sell me a new chair... Gee thanks... (he was polite and meant well)
Now I am faced with the oh so appealing proposition of going home to SWMBO (a most reasonable and understanding woman - they're all this way right?) and explaining that the pieces for the chair, that I was responsible for getting, ain't gettin got...
What does any self respecting powertool owning husband do? Adaptively engineer a replacement... (I come from a long line of adaptive engineers)
Off to the BORG for parts.
The chair's leg rest comes off and leaves a nice standard (kinda standard) sized hole with a nice cross bolt thru near the bottom for a stop... I head into the pipe section and find pleasant surprise #1 a BORG employee that was pleasant, helpful, and .... knowledgable. I had the chair with me, explained what I wanted... The guy opened the pieces and parts and we assembled it right there to make sure it fit. He then got me unopened stuff to ease the checkout. 2 stainless nipples, 1 adapter, and a flange later I'm heading out the door... Where I find pleasant surprise # 2... No lines and a plesant, fast cashier... Whoo hoo...
Get home and start the process after dinner and a few required errands... Ball practice for the oldest and such... Assemble the pipe pieces... To prevent scratching the chairs paint I wrap the little assembly consisting of a 3/8" od 6 inch nipple, a reducer, a 1/2" od 4" nipple, and a flange in electrical tape. Test the fit on the chair leg support hole, add one layer of duct tape, and I'm good to go. Now for the support its self... I grab some scrap pieces (this is why you never throw out/burn that extra stuff) of ply and lay out an assembly from my scratched plans... One piece for the bottom of the support 7" X 8", another for the left side upright 7" X 7.5", and a piece for the right side upright and divider (middle section as you look at the chair, the cast is on his left leg) that was 8" x 14" so I ended up with something like this:
|__| |
It's looked like an upside down small h. With this example the left upright was screwd from the bottom and the right from the side. Attached the pipe assembly and Voila'.... One handy leg lift... Now on to the finish... Hmmm, it's 10 PM so paint is pretty much out... Ah, here we have a nice new roll of duct tape... So away I go with strips of the master mechanics favorite (I had serious thoughts of the Red/Green show here)... Nice little over lap, even spacing... Now what to do with the inside???? Ah here we go, a nice piece of blue wool blanket that I was using as a cover for a tool... I won't miss a couple inches... Snip, snip, staple, staple and it's done... The inside of the brace now has a nice soft cover.
I was rather pleased with myself... So off for final approval/inspection... SWMBO loved it... My life was good...
Found that the price for purchasing a leg lift starts around $250 minimum ... I spent a whopping $10 on mine... Now granted my insurance would probably have covered some/most of the cost... But ya know I just have a problem with that for some reason.
Took it along to the hospital and they didn't even realize it wasn't a purchased piece of the chair... :-)
God I love woodworking...
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"bremen68"
<snip good adaptive engineering story>
Good on ya.
I had to design some physical rehab equipment years ago. Nobody had it. Got quoted prices from $40,000 to $120,000 to design and build what I wanted.
I did a little research, asked some questions and slapped some things together from the hardware store and a couple industrial suppliers.
I came up with a crude solution for $40. And a much better, semi-elegant solution for $120.
I can relate.
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Good thinking. I would've gone on the internet and asked everyone for a dollar! Tom bremen68 wrote:

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<...snipped...>

It's great when everything works out like that, though when I read the part of your post that I've quoted here, for some reason the theme from The Twilight Zone started running through my mind...
--
No dumb questions, just dumb answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - lwasserm(@)charm(.)net
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Thu, Sep 28, 2006, 10:27am (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net (bremen68) doth posteth: <snip> Adaptively engineer a replacement... (I come from a long line ofadaptive engineers) Off to the BORG for parts. The chair's leg rest comes off and leaves a nice standard (kinda standard) sized hole with a nice cross bolt thru near the bottom for a stop... I head into the pipe section and find pleasant surprise #1 a BORG employee that was pleasant, helpful, and .... knowledgable. <snip>
From the description of the employee it's obvious it wasn't Home Depot.
I've now gotten to the point in life where I usually don't "have" to adapt things, because of monetary restraints, and sometimes time. However, I still do modify, adapt, or just make from scratch, because: I can seldom buy things that are perfect for my needs. And, a LOT of times I find that my hack job is actually the same, or even better, than what someone's trying to sell me for healthy bucks. The whatever is customized to my needs and wants. It often works better than the store-bought stuff. Finally, it's good for the soul.
JOAT It's not hard, if you get your mind right. - Granny Weatherwax
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J T wrote:

Shocking though it might be... It was a Home Depot...
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