I’ve been improving my 1:6 scale power wheelchairs in recent months, and I finally finished my steampunkish power chair. Pics below. Continue reading 1:6 scale power wheelchair upgrades: steampunk style!!!
I was looking for evocative diagrams of steam-powered things to decorate Julian’s walls, and I came across the von Sauerbronn-Davis steam velocipede of 1883. [Not sure why it’s termed a velocipede, incidentally, as a velocipede, by definition, runs on human power created by pedal pushing. There are no pedals on that thing.]
The von Sauerbronn-Davis machine looks like a bad idea on wheels, especially with the user’s seat directly over the freakin’ boiler! Nevertheless, the design, with two large wheels in front and the smaller swiveling wheel in the back, appeals to me. Therefore I will be constructing Julian’s steampunk power chair in the same style, but with much smaller tires and a much cushier seat. Continue reading Inspiration for Julian’s steampunk power chair: 1883 von Sauerbronn-Davis steam velocipede
I have discovered the perfect base for Julian’s steampunk power wheelchair: the barber chair from the Hot Toys Sweeney Todd figure a few years back!!! Like a real power wheelchair, the barber chair has adjustable footrests, adjustable armrests, and a reclining back. It also has Victorian connotations with its worn leather upholstery and embossed lion decoration. It is pretty damn cool and worth every penny of the $65.00 I paid [which is more than I paid for Julian…]. I think that, once I finish this steampunk chair, Julian will share it with Polly, who, while not part of the same universe, was also originally conceived as a steampunk power chair user.Continue reading Base of Julian’s steampunk power wheelchair: Hot Toys Sweeney Todd barber chair
A minor character in a Monster High ep, Finnegan Wake [har!], is a mer dude who speeds everywhere, mowing people down, and behaves with a mixture of insouciance and recklessness. [He’s referred to as Rider in this wiki, but it’s clearly the same character.] He also uses a manual wheelchair.
Mattel had a chance to create a really cool character who had a visible disability, but was not defined thereby. Instead, what did they do? They defined him by his disability. As the ep Ready, Wheeling and Able shows, the main monsters recognize that he uses a wheelchair and assume that he’s into sedate, sedentary activities. After some platitudes about not jumping to conclusions and letting people do what they want, the main characters realize that Finnegan is much more at home on the track [?]. He assures everyone that, if he needs help with anything, he’ll let people know, and then he asks someone to light his wheels on fire so he can do a trick.
In summary, Finnegan may appear at first glance to be some sort of super awesome stereotype-busting character. However, his adrenaline junkie behavior just acts as a blatant, sweating insistence that he’s INDEPENDENT and AUTONOMOUS and ATHLETIC and FULLY CAPABLE DAMMIT EVEN THOUGH HE’S IN A WHEELCHAIR. As an implicit contrast to wheelchair users as silent, passive, objectified characters, Finnegan hits the other extreme and, because he tries so hard not to end up like the stereotype, he ends up referring all the more pointedly to the stereotype itself. An anti-stereotype, made with the intention of compensating for the failures in the original stereotype, still reinforces the stereotype. We can see this in the description for his episode: "When Rider rolls into Monster High, the ghouls learn there’s more to this wheelchair-bound new student body than meets the eye." Yup, even though Mattel has strained mightily to progressively depict a character in a wheelchair, they still think he’s bound to his chair, forever immobilized.
Finnegan also drives me up the wall because he’s an inconsiderate, dangerous jerk. His ep introduces his character with a Finnegan-cam view of people diving out of his way as swerving and squealing noises occur. In other words, Finnegan barrels down the halls of Monster High at high speed, forcing people to yield the right of way. He seems to forget that he’s not the only one in the universe with a mobility impairment. For just one example, zombies like Ghoulia and Slo-Mo walk with much more difficulty than most people, but apparently Finnegan doesn’t care; he’ll just run them over because going fast is cool! Nah, he’s just an ass…
While I was lying in bed earlier this week, I hit on a possible way to construct 1:6 scale forearm crutches without the exorbitant expense of printing something so long. I can bend plastic drinking straws to the appropriate 15-degree angle and then fill them with Aves Apoxie Sculpt so that they stay in that position!!!! I have also recently acquired some dowels that I can cut down to make hand rests for the crutches. I haven’t decided how to make the forearm cuffs, but that’s easy compared to the engineering challenge of making the crutch shafts. Diagram below.
I finally got the wheels for Peter’s walker in the mail today, ordered from a supplier of remote-control vehicles and supplies, RC Planet. I mounted one wheel on each foot of the walker with a piece of plastic-coated wire hot glued in a hole that I drilled through the side of each leg.
Polly tests out one of my Barbie wheelchairs, for which her tail is too long. I still haven’t decided how I want to customize her chair. Polly has stated, however, that she would rather have this green checked shirt than the I BELIEVE IN CHAMP shirt. Well, one less thing I have to make. :pContinue reading Don’t run over your tail, Polly!
I decorated Walker 3.0 with lots of black electrical tape and some black craft foam for the seat cushion. Besides breaking up the glaring expanses of fluoro orange, the electrical tape suggests joints or sockets, adding to the impression of a piece of equipment constructed from various bars. The black also stands out vividly on the orange field, attracting the eye and thus drawing attention away from the uneven texture.
To make the walker even more useful, I added a basket and a purse-like bag so that Peter can hold stuff. Now that it looks less like a horrible failure and more like a mobility aid customized by one of my favorite Zville denizens, I feel more well disposed toward the walker. Still needs wheels though…
Continue reading Finally I’m resenting the walker less.
Five months ago, I received the 1:6 scale walker pieces that Batchix printed out for me. However, I was so bitter about my earlier failures that I just glared resentfully at the pieces for the next five months. I did not look forward to the assembly — what with removing flash, drilling, pinning and gluing, I anticipated another messy failure and even greater bitterness.
I overcame my grudge last night to begin work on Walker 3.0. Batchix helpfully provided blueprints, some of which are shown below, to aid me in assembly:
Continue reading Walker 3.0: now we’re finally getting somewhere!
Thanks to melopoeia who sent me this link, I just now learned about Kaylene Kau’s prosthetic arm designed for people who have amputations below the elbow. Its tentacle-like design simplifies the usually complex design of manual prosthetics, resulting in an appendage that requires fewer parts and motors than most arms of its type. Though Kau conceptualized this prosthesis at least as far back as 2010, it’s news to me.
This is so cool! I definitely need to make one of these in 1:6 scale so that someone in Zombieville can use one!
I just signed up to attend a free orientation at Blu-Bin tomorrow, which will give me the necessary information about their policies, parameters and products! After reading a mediocre Meetup.com review, I’m not expecting miracles, but at least I should come away knowing what file types Blu-Bin accepts, the different properties of their printed plastic, how they scale models correctly and the general cost of items.
I just got a few more ideas for things to make besides forearm crutches:
- single-footed canes
- four-footed canes
- white canes [for visually impaired people]
- below-the-knee prostheses
- below-the-elbow prostheses
I would really like to create one of the old-fashioned below-the-elbow prostheses with a functional forked hook, but that would require finding a hook. A below-the-knee prosthesis would probably be easier, since it wouldn’t be articulated at the end.
The possibilities are exciting!
I decided to make forearm crutches for Brandeis because her cane ain’t the appropriate height. Also, as it’s very lightweight, it falls over and does not bear weight.
First, I acquired a protractor from Wikipedia. I then acquired a representative photo of a forearm crutch in profile. Then I overlaid the protractor on the picture of the crutch to determine the major angles involved in its construction.
Andrea linked me to an auction that included a pair of Power Team forearm crutches. I thought I might bid on it, but it turns out that the shipping alone would be $20.00. :p I really want more 1:6 scale mobility aids, but that price is a little steep.
This morning I realized that I have a knowledge of what actual crutches look like, a 3-D modeling program and a local 3-D printing shop, Blu-Bin. I can make my own crutches!
Here’s my plan: I’ll use the modeling app to create the crutches themselves, with their specific -15 degree bends at the top and their handrests at the appropriate position. The crutches will be longer at both ends than necessary so that I can cut them to fit the various heights of my dolls. The forearm cuffs I will make separately out of wire, ribbon or some flexible material and then glue on later.
This project requires no precise, symmetrical bending of wire or steel rods, as my early iterations of the walker did. I only need to do basic 3-D modeling with some cylinder primitives, then hack and glue. I’m an expert manipulator of primitives, rotary tools and glue guns, so I think that this project will probably be simpler than the walker.
Chaz’ mobile throne is done. [Chaz also has a haircut.] Details on construction in the last two pictures.
Continue reading The tacky wheelchair is completed!
Some weeks ago, I used one of the last warm days in November to empty a can of fluorescent pink spray paint on the base of Chaz’ electric wheelchair, a 1:24 scale ForTwo Smart Car. Today I finally connected the wheelchair’s seat — a salon chair that I acquired this summer — with the base.
Continue reading Chaz’ chair coming together
I have decided that Polly, my Elfdoll Kathlen sleeping head on Asleep Eidolon mermaid body, will use the Mattel Becky manual wheelchair that I have spray painted black. She, a freshwater mermaid, will also wear a T-shirt that says CHAMP LIVES! [Champ is the lake monster that supposedly lives in Lake Champlain.] Her chair will have a bumper sticker on it that says SAVE THE LAKE.
Yes! After long last, Peter finally has a functioning walker that actually looks like a walker. This evening I glued the front bars on, hitching up the two side pieces. I then added the tires.
I primed and spray painted Peter’s walker today. I knew that the dowels would take paint without trouble, but I thought the paint might not attach to the wire hangers. However, the primed hangers took paint fine!
It took all day to prime each side of the frame pieces twice, with drying in between, then the opposite sides, with drying in between. Then I spray painted one coat on each side of the frame pieces, let dry, repeated, spray painted the flip sides, let dry, did touch up, let dry, did more touchup, let dry. Finally I put everything on the enclosed back porch to fully dry out and offgas for a while.
Once the pieces have really dried and offgassed, I can hot glue the frame together. Next steps will be adding wheels [also with hot glue — very easy] and then figuring out where and how to pad the frame.
Here’s Peter showing off my latest attempt at his walker. Instead of making a walker with a seat, I’m just making a walker with a metal frame and wheels on the ends of the legs. Side frames are made out of wire coat hangers, with side supports out of 3/16" diameter dowel pieces, held in place by my best friend hot glue. I plan to prime and spray paint this all black tomorrow.
I’m going to ditch my current attempt at Peter’s walker. I need to start all over again with another folding chair. This time, I will do the following differently:
I will not cut down the seat depth.
I will use coat hangers as a source of wire for the frame, rather than 10 gauge solid core copper, which bends very hard.
I will not use Aves Apoxie Sculpt to adhere the pieces of the frame together, as it destroys the sleek lines I’m going for.
Bllllah. This project has caused me nothing but frustration. However, I am determined to try once more, given what I have learned from my initial mistakes. If this doesn’t work, I’ll commission someone to make one. However, it’s much cheaper and easier to make my own.
Today I also got some sort of salon chair that will serve as the base for Chaz’ electric wheelchair. Finally she can get out of the manual!
I think I need to darken Chaz’ faceup some more. It keeps washing out.
Temporary armpit crutches, not forearm crutches.
Hmmm, maybe I should make Peter forearm crutches instead of a walker. The walker is being a shit.
I raised it up higher by not gluing the wheels so far up the chair legs. I also removed the default plastic front cross brace and added double front wheels. Walker is now about 1cm taller [and so is Peter, for that matter, making him more proportional, thank God!].
This project is giving me so much grief. -_-
Anna’s wheelchair finally fits her. I lengthened the foot rest bar, which was originally too short. I also adjusted the joybox so that it extends out from the end of the armrest so that she can reach it with her left arm in a natural, relaxed position.
It’s gonna be one of those super deluxe ones with four [relatively] big rubber tires and a built-in seat. Like this:
Continue reading For my next trick, I’m going to make a 1:6 scale walker.
I just finished making two 1:6 scale electric wheelchairs, one for my sister [whose dolls use wheelchairs, as she does] and one for me. The photos below do not provide a true tutorial, but I think that they document my progress in enough detail that interested parties could figure out my process.
Continue reading Stalking the elusive 1:6 scale wheelchair, part III: actually making one