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Steve restoring a camper van, one of his other engineering-based hobbies.

The People Making Things Possible – Steve

Steve, pictured above restoring a camper van, one of his other engineering-based hobbies.

Steve Groves takes us through some of his favourite solutions since joining REMAP as a volunteer engineer.

I was always inquisitive about how things worked, and I learnt to rebuild and fix anything with an engine in my early teens. I even taught myself to drive at 14, although not on the roads!

My work background was in prototype design and building mainly Naval and marine based systems. Eventually, I set up my own company designing and building marine sensors, control and monitoring products and small-scale manufacturing and other product development. I have worked on submarines surface vessels and super yachts as well as restoring my own vessel.

I have involvement with my local Menshed charity where I undertake wiring, plumbing and chatting with other retired folks, and this is where I first heard about REMAP. Deborah did a visit and explained about what REMAP did and that they were looking for new volunteers with engineering backgrounds. Time went by but I bumped into her at Tesco and she asked if I was interested in helping out.

The first job I did was to repair an electrical circuit fault on a controller for a vibromat unit. I then designed and made a window opener and closer for a lady who used a wheelchair.

Another project that I really enjoyed doing was to design and build a custom tray holder that could be simply fitted to a wheelchair for a young teenager who helps out in a cafe. I designed a universal bracket system that I was able to machine using my own lathe, and then built a frame that simply dropped into place at the correct working height for the user. The frame was custom made to accept the trays that the cafe used.

By sliding and dropping the tray into place it was locked into position by an angled extrusion. This prevented the tray from being able to bump out of position in use, but was also simple to remove by tilting the tray and pulling it back at the correct angle. This solution allowed the user to collect plates and trays etc, as well as deliver some orders to the customers.

I have since repaired some switches and communication units, and am currently making a step unit that will fit on a slightly modified toilet hand frame, to enable small children to use an adult-sized toilet unaided.

I like being involved with REMAP as I can see the valuable work all the volunteers do, and being able to use some of my old skills and experiences to assist folk is very rewarding.

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