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The broken caliper, before John's repairs

John’s First REMAP Project

Engineer, John Davies, takes us through his first project as a volunteer after recently joining REMAP.

My first client was an older man whose leg has been paralysed for many years. With a long-leg caliper and a walking frame he is able to get about.

His favourite, and oldest caliper is of steel and aluminium but, through age and fatigue, it has broken at the ring around his thigh at the top of the leg. This destabilises the two sides of the caliper and makes it useless.

His other calipers are made of carbon or glass fibre and he prefers this one, but the people who build and repair prosthetics today cannot/will not work in metals. The client had used REMAP before, so turned to us again.

When I saw him, he showed me the caliper and emphasised the importance of the pins that go into the heel of his shoe, to retain it on his foot. They should be parallel, else they slip out and destabilise the caliper.

I took the caliper and his shoe home with me. I welded up the two breaks in the top ring and reinforced them with short lengths of steel tube, welded those then ground them back on the inside for a smooth ring, lest they rub against his skin. The two sides of the caliper are further retained by a strap around the back of the calf, made of either two strips of aluminium, or one that has broken in the middle. It had been repaired with epoxy resin and fabric(!). I rejoined them with a strip of aluminium, pop-riveted to the original strip/strips.

Yesterday, I returned the repaired caliper to him, and he was most satisfied with it. He tried it on, and with its aid and a walking frame was able to get about indoors.

I’m delighted that REMAP has given me the opportunity to help this man, and look forward to the next project!


If you’re interested in making a difference, like John, find out how you can get involved: https://remap.org.uk/volunteering-roles/

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