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Author Topic: Shaky Hands  (Read 2404 times)
K9OF
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Posts: 34




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« on: July 31, 2009, 06:17:38 PM »

At 65, I find myself having difficulty soldering, mounting hardware, etc. due to Essential (or Intentional) Tremor (when my hands are at rest, they are still, but when I try to use them, they shake pretty good). Eating out can be embarassing if I have to use a fork. : -)  Since building has always been a big part of the hobby for me, I'm looking for ways to compensate. Anyone out there got any suggestions?

Tnx & 73,

John, K9OF
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K0BT
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Posts: 359




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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2009, 12:06:51 AM »

A padded wooden block or a box set next to the piece you are working on can provide a rest for the pinkie side of your palm or wrist while soldering.  A family member finds that when he applies a bit of resistance to his hand with a large rubber band that it lessens the tremors a bit.  He uses a piece of velcro around his hand and attaches a rubber band to it and to something heavy.  I'm not sure of the exact details, but for him it doesn't take much resistance.  He doesn't know why or how it works.

I wish you the best.  

73,
Bob
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WB5JEO
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Posts: 805




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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2009, 07:28:43 AM »

A very common design strategy for such things as eating utensils and other tools is to use larger soft handles and add weight to the tool. Kind of makes sense. Think about the fat pencils and crayons we give young children who don't yet have fine motor skills. And the effort of gripping small tools aggravates the problem, even for those of us who aren't quite to that point ---- yet.

I find plenty of sources for eating and writing stuff, but I don't seen anyone attending to tools. Maybe you should look at what they're doing with those common things and see what you can adapt to electronic tools and write up what works and what doesn't.

http://www.elderstore.net/adaptive-dining.aspx?sortorder=1&page=2
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N2EYE
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Posts: 85




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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2009, 12:32:26 PM »

I have a similar problem that is getting worse.  Only 51 but had to  reduce my antennas to something I could safely manage.  That hurt because I liked to experiment with yagis.

My soldering  is also messy.   I feel hurried to finish an amp project while I still can. I  burn my hands and arms too often as I cannot feel the heat until it is too late.

I was forced to re-appraise my limits when  a shock  sent me to the hospital with a bleeding hand about 2 years ago.    

There are multi-jointed, adjustable clamps/vices that can be frozen at almost any angle. I suspect they are not cheap.  A tool and machine-shop catalog would be a good place to start.  Some have vacuum mounts for  smooth surfaces.   Hope to work you some day. 73's
neil, ka2tus
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K9OF
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2009, 04:09:49 PM »

My thanks for your responses - they are very helpful.

FYI - meds do not help - the side effects are too severe. So I continue to search for physical solutions.

The rubber band helps, I think because it acts as a damper, but only in two dimensions.

Adding weight to the soldering iron also helps, but I can't add enough weight to reduce the tremor enough. A weighted iron AND a rubber band is better. I am trying to develop a weighted glove (using # 9 shot).

Although I have not been able to find some sort of articulating multi-jointed arm (a 3 dimensional damper), I have located what I hope will be suitable parts at McMaster-Carr. I am also looking for a small, tabletop drill press that I can use for soldering by mounting a soldering iron where the drill bit would go, then using the rack and pinion to lower and raise the iron. I'll let you know how these ideas work out.

In the meantime, please continue to forward your suggestions/ideas. They are appreciated!
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K8AC
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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2009, 04:57:59 AM »

Great idea about the drill press holding the soldering iron.  They make small presses that are designed to hold an electric hand drill and that may be perfect for your use.  I even have one made of aluminum that's made to hold a Dremel tool vertically.  It wouldn't take much to duct-tape a soldering iron to that mechanism.  Here's a link to a picture of it: http://www.amazon.com/Dremel-Moto-tool-Drill-Press-Stand/dp/B0000302Y5
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KE3WD
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2009, 08:15:16 AM »

>>>by KA2TUS on August 13, 2009  

"I feel hurried to finish an amp project while I still can."<<<<<


That is the worst scenario for doing good work and also is detrimental to the fun aspect of a hobby.  

Coffee?  

Other caffeine containing beverages involved?

Kick 'em.  

If not coffee induced, Mental Discipline really can help something like this, but it must be practiced conciously at first, a little a time in order to overcome it.  Well worth it at any age, OM.  

Rushing to finish it because you are worried that you won't have enough time to enjoy it is a devil's game.  

Take the time to smell the roses and you will very likely get more time over the long run.  

--KE3WD
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TANAKASAN
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Posts: 933




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« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2009, 07:56:39 AM »

Smoke a joint - seriously.

Cannabis is given out to Parkinson\'s disease patients and it acts as an amazing muscle relaxant, just make sure that you don\'t drive or do anything safety critical for a few hours afterwards.

As for the legal implications, you\'re on your own with this solution.

Tanakasan
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N2EYE
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Posts: 85




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« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2009, 11:50:13 AM »

"Smoke a joint"   Wow, never did I think I would read that here!

Marinol is a med that does the same thing.   But meds are a tricky thing and an MD must approve their use for several reasons.   I am old enough to recall the 1960\'s when it seemed everyone smoked pot (and hippies could be recognized by their hair style too).   Never thought I could ever argue against smoking pot - but we all grow old (those lucky enough to survive).

Like the coffee remark above, it too can be dangerous.    I was scared straight by  my shock and the thought of approaching HV when not  clear of mind is  frightful.

Like my friend said above, "smell the roses," Don\'t Bogart and the fun will be there whatever your limitations.
neil,  ka2tus
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K9OF
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2009, 04:28:39 PM »

Thanks for your ideas and suggestions -- I appreciate them all.

Tried pot couple times in the 70's -- never liked it. I don't like feeling buzzed - I prefer being fully aware!

A doc prescribed primidone. He forgot to tell me it was a barbituate. Took one and wow! No help for the tremor, but I had a nice nap. Hard to work during a nap.

So I'm still investigating non-medical aids to dampen the tremors.

I'll be at the Shelby hamfest this weekend - If you see me (K9OF on the cap), say hello!

John
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K7GLM
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Posts: 51




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« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2009, 08:46:28 PM »

I work as an I.T. manager, and we often need to supply accommodations to people who have repetitive stress injuries (e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome). There are several companies that sell articulated forearm supports for people to rest their arms solidly while still being able to use a keyboard and mouse. Some combination of steady rests and Panavise equipment to position the work might help.
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N0OKS
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Posts: 115




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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2009, 11:00:46 AM »

Wow. What a great thread. Doctors a good but maybe you should talk with a physical or occupational therapist.

Mark, NØOKS
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KE7NVY
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Posts: 46




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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2009, 12:02:35 PM »

I'm not sure if your "essential tremor" is the same thing or not, but both my father and I suffer from an annoying hand tremor.  Mine is worse, but he's actually seen a doctor about his.  The doctor prescribed a beta blocker that helped him quite a bit.  The name was something like Propanalol.  I keep meaning to look into it.

The mental thing might be worth looking into too.  My tremor seriously messes with one of my other hobbies, which is competitive shooting.  One time a friend and I went out to shoot a new type of match, where you spot (observe) each other's shots.  After I shot the stage, he told me that just in the last second or so before I fired the shot, my tremor stopped.  I didn't notice it, and I can't explain it, but other people who have watched me shoot have told me the same thing.  It may be that some sort of concentration exercises may help your situation.
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