Ian Selinger

Feb 062018

Client is a 9 years old with joint problems, they cannot bend down to pick things up and has weakness in wrists and hands. They have tried 2 different sorts of “pick up sticks”, neither useful as mechanical system offers to much resistance.

So I decided it would have to be some sort of electromechanical system. After a little thought I decided a Robot gripper (used by amateur builders of robot arms) would be a suitable solution. This was sourced from the internet. Next was a suitable power source, I decided this should be easy to maintain so I pressed into service a USB power pack as this would be easy for the client to charge.

The whole assembly was made from plastic electric conduit, and after fitting two switches (one to open, one to close) with a suitable circuit the unit was up and running.

The client used it first time with no problem and was able to pick up and pencil with ease and later a heavy pepper grinder.




 February 6, 2018  Posted by at 16:17 Household Equipment, Uncategorized Comments Off on Power Assisted Picker
Jan 212018

The client is 25 years old and lives in a “supported living “group apartment.

His main disability is C. P. and he has poor eyesight.

Where possible he wishes to undertake tasks in the kitchen, so he feels more independent although he recognises that supervision is always needed.

One particular frustration is the inability to lift hot dishes out of the oven.

The mid-height oven on the left has a side hinged door on the left.  To the right is the end of the worktop approximately 8 cm. lower than he bottom shelf of the oven.

The solution was the construction of an elevated slideable metal frame with an 8cm. high cantilevered top shelf. The top shelf was made from the grill of a barbeque retained by the Easifix. The frame is guided on the side and top with metal runners.

When pulled forward this top shelf is the same height and extension as the bottom shelf of the oven. A flat metal plate is slipped across the gap between the two surfaces to form a continuous flat surface.

This enables the client to slide hot dishes away from the oven and onto the frame without lifting them. The bridging plate can be unclipped, and the frame pushed back on the worktop.  When cool the dishes can be lifted down onto the worktop.

When not in use along with the oven the frame serves a second function as a trivet for the hotplate to the right of the frame.


 January 21, 2018  Posted by at 17:23 Household and Environmental Fittings, Household Equipment Comments Off on Oven to Worktop Transfer Mechanism
Dec 072017

This client has difficulty pressing the small buttons on a recliner chair control box, and too easily knocks it off the chair arm (where it has been placed by a carer) when trying to use it when the carer is not immediately available. The client has sometimes tried to stand up in the chair whilst it is reclined which is dangerous and is damaging the chair.

The idea of somehow attaching the control box to the arm of the chair had already been discounted because the client is not able to accurately press one or other of the buttons. It was proposed that the control box could be fitted into a mechanism where the movement of the two buttons would be exaggerated and isolated by two levers and actuator paddles. This was drawn up in a 3D design tool and a drawing sent to the OT for consideration. The OT thought that it would be worth making this into a real device and trying it out, only doing this would confirm if it would be useful to the client.

The recliner chair has a pocket on the side and an MDF board was fitted into this and held to the chair with a strap. A wooden enclosure holds the control box and two levers are fitted that allow large movements of two paddles to press on the control box’s buttons. The first version was shown to the client’s carer and some small changes were suggested, including painting the paddles red and green. The device was completed and then installed on a third visit, planned so the OT could attend as well.

During this visit the client’s carer and the OT worked with him for a little while to see if he could manage to control the chair, he did manage to make it work although some more practice was going to be necessary. The device was left with the client and a follow-up meeting arranged. Unfortunately, before this could take place, the OT contacted me to explain that the chair had become damaged beyond repair and so the device was redundant. When a new chair has been procured we can revisit and see what might be needed to reinstate it.

An improved design has been considered in the meantime where a single paddle is used to press the buttons. This will require a more complex mechanism that changes the direction of the lever’s movement by 90 degrees but should be simpler for the client to use.


Ian Mercer, REMAP South Herts Panel

 December 7, 2017  Posted by at 10:35 Chairs and Chair Accessories Comments Off on Recliner / Riser chair controls
Mar 172017

REMAP Window Opener – Job 106/16

by Ian Mercer 14.03.2017.

Updated 25.04.2017 – the locked nuts M6 coach bolt proved to be inadequately strong and came loose after some use. A modified version using a hex M6 spacer and washers soldered to it was made and supplied to the client.

This is the design for a window opener for three cranked window handles (2 right hand and one left hand) on horizontal opening fanlight windows  that were out of reach of the client because they were across the other side of a corner bath in one case and above a dressing table for the other two.

This is the right hand handle in the bathroom.


Original design with M6 coach bolts:


New design with M6 x 50 mm Hex spacer and two M6 x 20mm diameter washers, one drilled for M2.5 screw and one bent.





The assembly was designed in SolidWorks 3D and made from wood and aluminium from the 2D drawings generated from the 3D. It could be 3D printed in ABS.

The plastic pipe was 21.5 mm nominal diameter – manufacturers products vary so have to use the matching T piece. The pipe was about 1.15 m long.

Fixings: M6 x 75mm coach bolt  with 4 nuts and 3 shake-proof washers.

M4 x 25mm pan head screw, nut and shake-proof washer to fix the block to the aluminium bar.

M4 x 30mm pan head screw, nut and shake-proof washer to fix the tube to the ring.


18 mm diameter dowel from B&Q the full length of the pipe was inserted inside the main tube to stiffen it.

The handle was a T fitting and two 75mm lengths of pipe glued in with ABS/PVC cement


The handle was fitted perpendicular to the opener ring; glued with ABS/PVC cement.

The exact position of the block on its arm has to be adjusted to work for the angle of the main pipe. It is then tightly locked by the M6 nuts and shake-proof washers either side and a locknut was also added on the outside for added security.

This design can be adapted for different handles. Different blocks may be required without the side retaining walls etc.

This is the modified design:



This is the original 3D model and the 2D drawings:







Feb 172017

Following a rash of window opener jobs I decided to try and find a quick, easy, inexpensive and efficient solution for most windows. I have developed an opener that in many cases allows for the job to be completed in a single visit of less than 30 minutes.

The big problem that panel members encounter when trying to make window openers is when the locking button is offset from the centre line of the handle. Most UK double glazing manufacturers use a standard mounting for their handles. I must say that this came as some surprise to me but it has created the opportunity for this simple opener.


By replacing the existing offset button handle with a straight one the task becomes much easier. The window remains easy to open for regular users. After several unsatisfactory attempts (too heavy, too complicated, too expensive….) I discovered that I could manufacture an opener by using off the shelf plastic pipe fittings with one minor modification.

The widow opener solution consists of a new handle some 21.5mm solvent weld pipe and three connectors available nationally from Screwfix for a total of £7.00.

Parts list:
One metre of 21.5mm waste pipe. ( cut 40, 80,80, 800 )
Two ‘T’ connectors
One 45-degree connector
One straight window handle (white, silver or gold)

One of the ‘T’ connectors needs to be modified as shown in the pictures below, by cutting a sloping ‘U’ shaped slot. This can be done by drilling a 12mm hole then using a Hacksaw and Stanley knife to finish.


Use a standard pipe cutter to cut the five pieces of pipe to length and assemble as per the pictures using the appropriate solvent cement.

On site modifications can be made before welding to accommodate length of reach or handle preference. For horizontal window handles just rotate the head through 90 degrees.

Hint: When replacing the handle open the original window handle and remove the bottom screw first using the handle to push against. Then close and remove the top screw. Fit new handle in reverse order.

You might need to adjust the length of the new handle square shaft with a hacksaw to match the existing length.
To use the opener slip it over the handle lifting up so that the section above the ‘U’ depresses the locking button. The window handle can then be rotated. Note that once the handle has rotated by 5 degrees it is no longer necessary to continue to depress the button nor is it necessary to press the button for closure.

I batch produced five kits of parts today and it took me less than 45 minutes.


Note: Although the lock is supplied with a key it really isn’t worth using the key as they are so generic any key will work. The great security advantage of having the depress to open lock is to prevent thieves opening a large window using a loop of wire or stick through an open small top window.

Feb 012017

The Client was a young lady in her mid thirties who had moved into an apartment with assisted living approximately one year earlier. She suffered with M.S. and had limited leg length and up until that time had been cared for at home by her parents.
She had great difficulty in carrying food, plates and mugs from kitchen to the dining room since they would slide from her lap. It was therefore necessary for a carer to help her, particularly at mealtimes.This was a major set-back in her need for independent living and she was very distressed that her carpet was being damaged and her new home being spoiled.
It was important that any new surface should be compatible in height with other work surfaces such as the dining table and her writing desk. Also, that any additions to the chair should be light in weight and removable and portable.
The solution was to extend the wheelchair arms with slide-on box section arms which were very stable and a snug fit.
A new tray, the overall width of the chair, was made to securely interlock with arms, have a wipe-down surface and lips around the edge.
The arms and tray could be secured and removed by the client so they could be carried and stowed away by her.
The benefits far exceeded the objective of providing a means of carrying food and drink within her apartment; the tray served as a firm work surface for many other purposes but the most significant spin-off was that she was able to take her food and hobbies into the communal areas and this opened up a social life she did not have before.


Tray fitted

Tray Supports

 February 1, 2017  Posted by at 09:16 Chairs and Chair Accessories, Uncategorized No Responses »