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Thread: Advice needed about my home-made gait trainer design

  1. #1

    Advice needed about my home-made gait trainer design

    Hello everyone,

    I'm new here so I hope this is in the right forum. I'm a care giver to our 12 year old who got hit by encephalitis about 5-1/2 years ago. We live a bit off the beaten track as far as good PT and equipment availability is concerned, so we've had to make do and mend a little.

    Our child is chair-bound with pretty poor motor skills - right sided hemiparesis which also affects his speech. His spine's a little crooked but he tries hard to take steps when we hold him up, though sometimes he gets a little cross-legged or ends up taking bunny hops.

    My reason for posting is to seek any opinions/advice about a gait trainer I'm having built for him. It's loosely based on the Litegait models but with no "arch" to go over a treadmill, as we don't have one.

    I've put the drawings up on my blog in case they're useful for anyone who wants to have a go at building one of their own. I noticed there's a CAD repository here too, so I'll get the final drawings done in CAD once we've built the thing. You can see the drawings at the following link:

    http://3d.us2uk.eu/index.php/2013/02...rainer-part-3/

    I had to use my best guess on a couple of the dimensions - I think width and height are ok but my only worry is the distance between the harness suspension point and the main upright.

    If anyone has a Litegait they could maybe take some measurements off for me it'd be a big help.

    You'll see the design I have allows for coarse adjustment of the main column using a series of holes which will probably have metal pins with their ends threaded, and I intend using a car bottle jack to raise the top bit.

    We're hoping to get started on making it this week, so if anyone has any experience with these and can see any problems we might encounter either building or using it then I'd really welcome some more input on this project.

    Thanks
    Paul

  2. #2
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    Hi Paul,

    That's an awesome project! And I think it's really great that you're putting up the design and process information, which will surely be very useful to someone in the future. Kudos!

    Although I don't have any experience with gait trainers, I had a thought about that distance between the harness suspension points and the main upright. If you were to modify the design so that the pivot point flanges are put at the top of the main upright as opposed to the end of the swing arm, you could then drill multiple pivot point holes at the end of the swing arm tubing so that you could be able to adjust that distance. That way you'd have options once it's built and be able to change it depending on what you learn when your son starts using it.

    I've made a crude drawing of what I mean that you can see here:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/1yzyxwr24e...2011.42.01.jpg

    If you're on the shortest pivot point setting, the excess swing arm tubing would just protrude off the back of the main upright.

    Best,
    Eliot

  3. #3
    Hey Eliot, many thanks for that - great idea! We haven't started it yet - I had a talk with the guy who's making it yesterday and we were discussing about the top half of the trainer as that's really the least well designed part of it, so I'll add your idea in.

    Your drawings look much like how all my drawings start out - this was my original design using a winch and pulley wheel system instead of a bottle jack...

    http://goo.gl/pEl8P

  4. #4
    Senior Member IsMaisin's Avatar
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    Here is a link to a resource you may find useful.

    Suggest a challenging service project for MIT students to work on
    The MIT Public Service Center offers programs to support students who want to apply their skills, energy, and ingenuity to tackling challenges faced by communities around the world. These students collaborate with community partners to ensure that their projects truly match community needs.
    We would like your partnership in finding projects for these students.
    Played with bombs- No SCI, Brain Damage enough that I require a chair and a caregiver.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by IsMaisin View Post
    Here is a link to a resource you may find useful.
    Thanks! That looks very interesting.

  6. #6
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    Before we got approval for a standing frame from our insurance, I considered making a gait trainer with a harness system or to mount something to a beam on our ceiling with a harness. I downloaded some photo's of the different systems and harness options available so I could talk with my engineer brother about them. I don't know if they will help in any way, but here is the link on our website.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  7. #7
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I just read all of your blog posts about the gait trainer. For others interested, here are the 1st post Make your own gait trainer and save money and the 2nd post Make your own gait trainer - Part 2.

    I like your way of thinking about this, and it looks like you are on to a really good way to do this, that will also grow with your son's needs. The Unistrut "Meccano" concept for framing looks really good for this.

    My husband is a full-time wheelchair user after having strokes during surgery 3.5 years ago for a twisted intestine. He also has hemiparesis and is currently trying to build up strength with a standing frame. We may have interest in your idea -- we live in the Netherlands. I would love to have a good excuse to go to Tbilisi sometime.

    It's great to see caregivers put their heart into a project like this. I bet your son is going to love being a guinea pig for this!

    This is definitely the right forum to be posting on, and the best forum I have found in relation to equipment. Keep us posted on your progress. Another that may be of interest is http://www.apparelyzed.com out of the UK.

    Gordy1 on this forum does a lot of projects for his son and may be a good person to swap ideas with too.
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

  8. #8
    Hi Ellyn, and many thanks for your post. Sorry for the delay in replying but I've just been up to the eyeballs in one thing or another.

    I keep thinking how much better it would be if we lived in the Netherlands - so we could get one of those cycle-chair combos. Unfortunately it's far too hilly here - and the drivers are just too dangerous for me to even risk crossing the road, never mind get a bike or drive a car here.

    I looked at your web page - thanks for pulling all that together, and what a great blog you have! We have a harness but it's just a full body construction harness we found in our warehouse at work. It might be ok to start off with but it's useful to see a big selection of the different types like that.

    I was also interested in the vertical frame with arm rests - particularly the arm rests because Georgi can't grip well with his good hand, and his other one practically needs gluing in place so arm rests would be much better, in which case the vertical frame would be better instead of the Litegait type (I think - I need to think about it some more).

    What type of standing frame did you get, and what do you think of it? (sorry, I couldn't really see if it was on your blog)

    I really don't know if there's any advantage to building one type or another - except that the Litegait type looks like we could move it around the house a little better.

    Thanks for the tip about Gordy1, too. I'll read through his posts and see what he's been up to.

    Paul.

  9. #9
    Senior Member elarson's Avatar
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    I've been really busy too, so worries. Here is the link on the standing frame we got. I'll try to go quickly upload photo's of others we looked at. Usually I try to put the name of the product in the file name when you open it. http://www.pitlarson.com/other-stuff...standing-frame.

    Our blog is a bit of a mess. Pretty much everything is under "Accessibility" when it comes to equipment.

    I'm in the middle of 2 wheelchair rebuilds the next 2 weeks along with some work deadlines, but I should have have time to think about this more after that. I'd be interested in throwing ideas around with you.

    Note: I remember thinking something like the SecondStep might work well with hemiparesis, with someone who has somewhat good upper body strength. If not, I think the SpinoFLEX vertical concept is interesting. I also checked a Lokomat harness at a rehab place, and it really looked great. I've never been able to find any pictures of it. I was taking it very much like you, build the system, and then see what works for the harness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_in_Tbilisi View Post
    Hi Ellyn, and many thanks for your post. Sorry for the delay in replying but I've just been up to the eyeballs in one thing or another.

    I keep thinking how much better it would be if we lived in the Netherlands - so we could get one of those cycle-chair combos. Unfortunately it's far too hilly here - and the drivers are just too dangerous for me to even risk crossing the road, never mind get a bike or drive a car here.

    I looked at your web page - thanks for pulling all that together, and what a great blog you have! We have a harness but it's just a full body construction harness we found in our warehouse at work. It might be ok to start off with but it's useful to see a big selection of the different types like that.

    I was also interested in the vertical frame with arm rests - particularly the arm rests because Georgi can't grip well with his good hand, and his other one practically needs gluing in place so arm rests would be much better, in which case the vertical frame would be better instead of the Litegait type (I think - I need to think about it some more).

    What type of standing frame did you get, and what do you think of it? (sorry, I couldn't really see if it was on your blog)

    I really don't know if there's any advantage to building one type or another - except that the Litegait type looks like we could move it around the house a little better.

    Thanks for the tip about Gordy1, too. I'll read through his posts and see what he's been up to.

    Paul.
    Last edited by elarson; 03-04-2013 at 05:06 PM. Reason: Added note
    Partner of an incredible stroke survivor. Limitations: hemiparesis and neglect (functional paralysis and complete lack of awareness on one side). Equipment: TiLite ZRA 2 and 2GX, Spinergy ZX-1, RioMobility Firefly. Knowledge: relative newbie for high-level equipment (2012), but willing to try to help others who are new with similar limitations (definitely not a guru, but inquisitive).

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