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Make your own gait trainer - Part 2

Permalink: http://paul.us2uk.eu/?x=entry:entry130217-221004

<< Part 1 || Part 3 >>

In my first post on this project I showed the initial design I did for the base of a LiteGait-like gait trainer. I also mentioned that I was looking closely at how I could use Unistrut instead of using box section. Having trawled through the Unistrut catalogue I now think I’ll go this route, for the following reasons.

Unistrut is like an industrial Meccano set. The Unistrut framing system comprises standard width channels which are very strong and which can be joined together by a wide range of different connection plates and brackets. Using Unistrut means that I can avoid welding (and any hidden weaknesses in the frame which can be caused by sloppy welding), and also it means that I can change the design for a much simpler one which will serve my needs for the time being and be able to adapt and improve the design as required later on.

There are two main changes to my original design:

  1. We don’t have - or plan to buy in the foreseeable future - a treadmill. This is what the large “arch” is for in the base of the LiteGait model. Allowing for something like this would be mimicking the LiteGait model for no real reason. If I was going with the welded box section design then I would have tried to build for the future and incorporate the feature, but the adaptability and re-usability of Unistrut I don’t have to worry about this.
  2. My original thoughts on the actual suspension system for the patient were to use a sliding upright column with some manual adjustment at the top, to take up the slack and allow us to adjust it to partially bear Georgi’s weight. I’ve now (almost) decided that it will be much better to use a dual wire system running from the harness connection, around three sets of pulleys, and back to a manually operated twin-drum worm drive winch.

So, what I now have (sketched out on a piece of paper) is a U-shaped base on castors, an upright, and a smaller C-shaped frame at the top from which the guinea pig patient will be suspended.

Unistrut design
Revised Unistrut design (right in the middle)

Unistrut right angle connectors

The twin-drum winch I’m looking at us the Dutton Lainson WG1500SR which is small enough and beefy enough to do the job and hold the load. I must reiterate Dutton Lainson’s warning that these winches are “NOT FOR THE MOVEMENT OF HUMAN BEINGS”, so please be aware that I am ignoring this warning at my own risk. We’re not actually moving a human being with it anyway - we’re partially supporting his weight and we’ll have a safety line attached to his harness at all times just in case something goes wrong.

Dutton Lainson WG1500SR
Dutton Lainson WG1500SR

The WG1500SR has a 1-1/2” diameter drum, takes 1/4” wire rope, and can support 1500 lbs.

The pulley system I envisage comprises 3 pairs of 50mm pulleys. I’m not quite sure which type to get - you can get a V-groove or a U-groove type - and I’m also not quite sure how to mount them on the Unistrut frame just yet. The type of pulleys I’ve been looking at are the one at the Rolling Centre website:

http://www.rollingcenter.co.uk/products/wheels-pulleys-travel-stops/

They can either be mounted in your own custom made support or you can buy them ready-mounted:

image image

My next task is to work out which type of brackets I’ll need to fix the Unistrut together, and also figure out exactly how to mount the winch and pulleys.

The beauty of this design is that it’ll be made entirely from parts which you can buy and fix together yourself with a few basic tools. Unistrut is widely available and the winch and pulleys are likely to be found at a good marine chandler, or via the internet.

Stay tuned!

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Support our caregiving

Support our caregiving

If you found anything on this site of use, interesting, or even mildly amusing then please consider dropping a few pennies in the jar to help us to take care of our disabled son who contracted encephalitis in 2007 at the age of 6 and who is now confined to a wheelchair. He is getting bigger as his mother and I get older, imagine that, please. Every penny we collect goes towards his upkeep, and towards his future care requirements.

Thank you.