I'm interested to know if there are any of you out there that are disabled and build Lego Technic.
In 1983 I had a motorcycle accident that left me a Tetraplegic and confined to a wheelchair. Following a 10 month stay in hospital I was discharged to start my ‘new’ life. Since then my days have consisted of reading, listening to music or sitting in front of a computer tapping away aimlessly trying to pass the time. Only the music music gave me any real contentment.
Unfortunately I had another accident 4 years ago in which I received a severe blow to my head which has left my hearing badly damaged and now have severe tinnitus. No more music. Until July last year I spent my time ‘wallowing’ in my own problems and wasn’t much fun to be around.
One day I received a request from my 4 year old grandson, Jake. He'd broken a little car he'd made and wanted me to help him put it back together. Although I have no use of my hands I didn’t have the heart to say no so after a bit of stalling and quick thinking I set about trying to help him by holding pieces in my mouth and guiding them to their ‘destination’. Although not always successful I persevered, had great fun and felt a real feeling of achievement & pride. The concentration also helped my tinnitus to the point that my moods have changed completely. That first set was the 8402 Sports Car and with Jakes help took nearly a week. Following that I bought & built the 7638 Tow Truck, 7737 Coast Guard 4WD & Trailer and 7942 Off Road Fire Rescue set. These all took several weeks.
After doing these sets I now considered myself to be an expert Legoer!!! As I was now ‘an expert’ I decided to challenge myself so I bought the 7743 Mobile Police Command Centre and to my surprise I managed to complete it, all using my mouth and only needing help twice. It had taken me 3 weeks but I did it. I was so proud of myself I had what can only be described as a mad moment. I thought I'd try something a little bigger, maybe a Technic set. I whilst looking around I saw the 8258 Crane Truck on Amazon for £62.99 and bought it. My reasoning being if I couldn't build it I can always sell it.
Well, cutting a long story short, after about 6 hours a day, 6 days a week and 22 weeks in total it was done. 1800+ parts all by mouth. The stickers were the only things I didn't do.
Since then I've built the 8725 Bulldozer, 8043 Excavator, 8053 Mobile Crane, 8458 Silver Champion, 8285 Tow Truck, 8466 4 x 4, 8274 Combine Harvester, 8416 Fork Lift, 8048 Buggy (which I've motorised), 8262 Quad Bike, 8264 Rally Truck & numerous other smaller technic sets.
You might say I'm hooked! I scour the internet, eBay, Gumtree, Friday Ads etc looking for boxed sets at a good price with my best bargain being the Silver Champion & Tow Truck bought together from Gumtree for £30 inc delivery!
My crowning glory and the one I feel most proud of is my latest build. The 8110 Uni Mog. I now know the meaning of the phrase 'The ecstasy and the Agony!' The only parts not fitted by me (not for want of trying!) was the pneumatic tubes.
I'd be interested to hear from anyone in a similar situation to myself.
Sorry if I've gone on a bit but there's no quick way of explaining an obsession!!!
I feel I must explain how I build so as not to mislead anyone.
As I said, I have no use of my hands, I'm unable to move my fingers. The use of my arms while limited is enough to enable me to reach parts and either 'drag' them towards me or, after (I know, Yuk!) licking the end of a finger to make it 'sticky', pick small pieces up.
The sets pieces emptied from their bags into the sets box by my very dear (and very understanding) wife and using a spoon straped to my hand I load them into into sorting cases. I have acquired from various sources, 12 of the (8062) Technic Briefcases. Some with some without the sets. Each has 2 trays and numerous adjustable dividers and as they're shallow they're better to reach into.
Larger pieces are picked either by mouth (like a chicken pecking, I've been told) wedging the piece between 2 fingers or using a pair of artery forceps, a surgeons tool similar to a pair of scissors (hitherto referred to as clamps). I hook my thumb through one loop and hold the other loop in my mouth.
90% of the pieces are picked up, joined, worked on by mouth but when I can't do this the same clamps and method described above are used sometimes to fix awkwardly sited friction pins in place or help squeeze pieces together. This though can cause a problem that one of you guys might be able to help me with. I'll explain at the end of this very long winded piece.
If the clamps won't do the job I find a swift whack with the solid part of the side of my hand, or Grum Knock as my Grandson calls it, often does the trick.
One other method is to use a thick terracotta coaster. The pieces to be joined are slid up against the side of the case and the coaster up to the pieces. It's then a matter of a few of the aforementioned whacks and usually 'hey presto' they're joined. However, pieces have been known to go flying of the table until gravity takes over and it, rather inconveniently, lands on the floor. One piece was found on the patio having flown out the conservatory window! Note to self: It's better to sweat than to swear!
I've also made 'cradles' from Lego to hold assemblies in place while working on them and use axles threaded through pieces to hold them in alignment while trying to join them.
I've found that with a bit of lateral thinking and a few house hold bits and pieces I do get things done. All except those pesky pneumatic tubes.
Again, I'm sorry for babbling on but I felt it necessary, after reading all your kind words, to make it clear what I can and can't do. If it helps, for those who might know, I'm a C4/5 (complete) tetraplegic.
Now for my problem. I'll try to explain as best I can and hope I make sense.
When 'squeezing' the clamps together to join pieces, due to the way the clamps close i.e. like scissors, the pieces go flying. This is mostly a problem when joining beams together with friction pins.
Due to the way the clamps close the pressure applied to the beam is all concentrated on the top outer edges of each forcing them to part from the bottom.
I need to find the similar size & type of clamp but with jaws, that when closing, don't close in 'an ever decreasing V' but remain parallel to each other so as to exert equal pressure on the whole side of each beam.
I hope this makes sense. Any help or ideas would be very much appreciated.
Thank you in advance.
UPDATE 12 May 2012
For those of you who I've not bored to tears or put to sleep, I've a further posting you might be interested in reading.
I've now finished the first parts of what I call, somewhat grandly, Project 'Mog. If you're interested (and still awake!!!) you can find it by entering Project 'Mog in the search box at the top of this page. Apologies for the links to the pics, I've not got to grips with uploading pics to Eurobricks.
If you're going to read it, thank you, if not, those who know me understand! I do tend to babble on!
Edited by grum64, 12 May 2012 - 09:10 PM.