Archive June, 2015

Tilt Table for Veterinary Laparoscopic (Keyhole) Surgery

24 June, 23:10, by EvaB

This is a project that has been ‘in the works’ for a few months.  The thought started through my residency at the University of Guelph veterinary school, where we are doing increasing number of laparoscopic (keyhole) surgeries.  Having a table that allows us to tilt a patient side to side and end to end would let the organs move around inside the abdomen, allowing us to see where we need to work better.  Traditionally this is done by putting sandbags under the patient; but this is very cumbersome and difficult to finely adjust.  Also, being a taller person, I found that sometimes the table couldn’t go high enough, and hunching over all day is no fun!  I started looking at what commercial products are available, but most of them didn’t do quite what I wanted, and/or cost far more $$$ that I had.  I started drawing up my own designs, and made some super rough models out of wood scraps, and finally though I had a good design.

I mostly used the welder at DIYode, but also many of the metal shop tools; the drill press, grinder and such, and also the metal lathe (with much appreciated help from more experienced hands than I have – thanks Brennan) to make all the metal parts, and the plastic bushings and such I needed for all the pivots.  It took a bit of scrounging; the casters, linear actuators, stainless steel feet, polycarbonte and polyethylene sheets for the table surface and electrical boxes all came from various people off of kijiji; the power supply, switches, bolts and steel was bought new.  The only work outsourced was getting a nice powder coating done on the final assembled pieces.  The table is now all assembled, and works like a charm.  I expect it will help save my back from hunching, and make my life easier doing surgery for years to come.  Thanks to everyone at DIYode for developing the facility and giving me the help I needed to get this project done!

Here is a video link to the finished, working table:

-Evan Crawford

















The Heart of Making

02 June, 21:24, by EvaB

250 years ago, you may have made every object in your home, or known the person who did make it.  Fast forward to today, and not only is it quite possible that every object in a Canadian home is made by some else, but that someone lives on the other side of the planet.  If you remember the cult classic movie from the 1990’s, Fight Club, there is scene where the inventory of the protaganist’s apartment is taken, showing each objects IKEA name and sku number ‘Elegant Solutions for Affordable Living’.  He was proud of his spartan, anonymous home.

I would argue that we have lost something by filling our homes with objects that we do not have an emotional connection with. I think a sense of self and place is greatly increased if you are surrounded by objects in your home that you made, or that were made by someone you know.   I have the great fortune to live with a knitter, and I assure you that a hat knit by someone who loves you, is 10 times warmer than any hat from a store.

The maker movement is in part a direct response to people wanting physical objects in their lives to have a direct connection to their own hands and minds.  One of my favorite things I have made at Diyode was a new fridge door handle. My kids had broken the old handle, and I thought about buying one, but did not think I could find one that matched.  So I took the old one as a starting point, and carved a new door handle, out of white oak.  When I started I had no idea how to carve wood, but it turned out wonderfully.  It’s the only one like it.  I touch it many times a day, and enjoy the knowledge that I made it.

I encourage you to consider making instead of buying, and to love the asymmetry of an object made by an absolute novice, as compared to the perfect version from an unknown factory thousands of miles away.  To quote a famous song lyric from Canadian song-writer, Leonard Cohen. ‘There is a crack in everything – That’s how the light gets in’

-John Roberts