Molding Splint Material:
My friend Andy, who lives in Utah, told me that he had found some pretty unique material that allowed itself to be molded in a number of different ways to modify and make adaptive equipment. The brand name of the material is Aquaplast® and is available online from Patterson Medical. The stuff is designed for making splints. There are a variety of different types available, as you can see on the website. Much of it is prohibitively expensive but there are two types which can be purchased at a reasonable price. The first is Aquaplast® Original Single Sheet which is 1/8" x 6" x 9" and cost around $13 while the other sheet is Aquaplast® ProDrape-T – Traditional Version and measures 1/8" x 8" x 12" and costs around $19. They come in a rigid sheet but can be softened and molded in a couple different ways. The softening process can be done by either placing the material in hot water, by heating it in an convection oven or using a heat gun. We have also had success using an electric blow dryer.The primary difference between the two sheets is that the Pro-Drape T will not normally adhere to itself without some special prepration before hand. The second type of Aquaplast will adhere to itself readily.
Directions for preparing the matreial can be found on the Patterson website. After the heating process and a brief cooling period it is possible to mold the plastic into many different shapes. As you can see in the pictures at the right, Andy has re-created the form of a typing aid and then fastened it to a knife. Placing the molded portion on his hand allows him to generate quite a bit of down pressure while cutting. He has set up all his silverware this way. Another picture shows an adaption using the same material on a house key. Once you mold the Aquaplast in the form you want and it is just a matter of giving it time to dry and harden. Once the form is attained it will retain that shape until it is soaked or heated again at which time it will become malleable and is ready to be remolded.