Category: Do It Yourself

Rag squeezing aid for people with only one functional arm

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Rag squeezing aid is designed for use by people with only one functional arm as a result of an amputation, stroke on traumatic brain injury. 


A tin can crusher (we used one branded 'Cosy and Trendy' which we found in a local supermarket)

Steel profile, 4x 30 millimeters length 74 millimeters (approximately 1 3/16 x 5⁄32 inches, length 30 inches)

Steel profile, 3x 40 millimeters length 170 millimeters (approximately 1/8 x 1 1/2 inches, length 6 3/4 inches)

Galvanised steel plate, thickness 1,2 millimeters (approximately 1/16 inches) 300 x 200 mm (approximately 12 x 8 inches)

2x countersink screw M6 x 12

2x countersink screw M6 x 16

10x M6 (nylon) washer

6x M6 locknut

1x threaded rod M6 100 millimeters

1x threaded rod M8 100 millimeters

2x M8 washer

2x M8 locknut

2x M8 spacer

2x M6 spacer

Nylon plate thickness 10 millimeters, 100 x 100 millimeters

Water container box


Tools Needed:


Bending machine

Welding machine

Spray paint


Metal saw





Technical Specifications: 

Step 1:  Find a tin a can crusher

By using a lever it's possible to increase the strength of a small motion. We went and bought a cheap tin can crusher in a local supermarket. Because it wasn't really heavy duty and the force needed to squeeze a rag is pretty big we did some modifications to it to make it stronger. If you decide to buy a heavy duty one you can skip the next step and go straight to step 5.

Step 2:  Reinforce the can crusher

While doing some of the first tests with the can crusher in an attempt to squeeze a moist rag it became clear pretty fast that it wasn't going to be strong enough. The big metal parts of the lever started to bend when the crusher was forced a bit and the rivets used for the hinges came loose. The metal parts in the lever were made of thin steel with a small bend in it in attempt to reinforce it. I guess that squeezing a rag requires a bit more strength then crushing a can. We modified our can crusher to make it stronger, the following instructions are written to modify a can crusher of the type we used, when using another can crusher, sizes and systems may vary. We removed the rivets and removed the metal arms and replaced it with new arms. The steel we used is blank steel with a thickness of 4 mm (approximately 5⁄32 inches) and a width of 30 mm (approx.1 3⁄16 inches). A total of 74 cm (approximately 30 inches) is needed and has to be cut it in 4 pieces using a steel saw. Cut two pieces of 25 cm (approximately 10 inches) each and two pieces of 12 cm ( approximately 5 inches) each. Drill two 6 millimeters (1/4 inches) holes in the short pieces both 15 millimeters (19/32 inches) from each side. The rivets we replaced with M6 (1/4 inches) countersunk screws, some (nylon) washers and locknuts. The foam handle which was also attached with a rivet system we re-used but we replaced the rivet system with an M8 wire rod and added some washers and bolts to attach it to the arms.

Step 3:  Modify the slider bed

One of the problems we came across while testing was that some parts of the rag were hanging outside the bed and were not getting dry. At the same time the bent walls where the arms were attached started to bend back because of excessive force. We decided to grind them off and added a U-shaped piece which we welded onto the bed. By adding this piece 'walls' are added so the rag can't hang outside the bed and the arms can be attached without the walls bending back. We used a blank metal plate with a thickness of 3 millimeters (approximately 1/8 inches) and a width of 40 mm (approximately 1 1/2 inches). The length we used was 170 mm (approximately 6 3/4 inches). It was bent using a bending machine in a U with a 70 millimeters (approximately 2 3/4 inches) back and 50 millimeters (approximately 2 inches) legs (see picture). The U was welded on the bed with it's legs facing the other way (see picture). After words holes were added through the bent plate and through the bed so the water can flow away. We drilled 5 millimeters (approximately 7/32 inches) wide holes (4 sets of 5 holes). We then added two holes in the side walls were the arms can be reconnected.

Step 4: Give it a nice color

Because we used blank steel and the purpose of the design is to use it with fluids it has to be protected against corrosion. The cheapest way to do this is by painting. We painted our model using spray paint. We sprayed one layer of primer and three layers of black paint.

Step 5: Create a draining system

To drain the water that's pressed out of the rag we added a bent plate that's attached behind the crusher. We used a galvanized plate we had laying around in the workshop with a thickness of 1,2 millimeters (approximately 1/16 inches). The plate we used was 300 x 200 mm (approximately 12 x 8 inches). We rounded the corners for safety reasons and added some bends to drain the water to the drain container box. We also drilled some holes (the same as the crusher) to attach it


Step 6:  Add a container to catch the water

If it's possible, you could just hang the aid above the sink so the excessive water drains into it. When it's not possible to hang above your sink an option is to add a tray underneath the aid that catches the water. Make sure the tray is detachable so it's easy to empty.

Step 7:  Assembly

After all the parts are adjusted and sprayed the last step is to assemble all the parts and tighten the bolts. Just make sure that all moveable parts can still move. You can hang the aid above your sink or at any other place using a tray. If you make sure a tin still fits in it, it's still possible to use the aid as a tin crusher. 

Author: Schotelvoduitwringhulp on


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Rag squeezing aid for people with only one functional arm