'If you can't reach your toes' nail clipper

A toe nail clipping station to support your foot, position a pair of heavy duty nail clippers and cut your nails without bending over.

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The project is for people who can't reach down and cut their toe nails themselves. It has three main parts: 1. A padded, angled box for resting your foot on. 2. An adjustable clamp support to position your nail clippers (one on each side of the feet.) 3. A gripper to pull which closes the clippers for cutting your nails.

You don't realize how difficult cutting your nails it until you can't do it. Spinal conditions, old age,  poor flexibility, arthritis, and brain injury are just a few examples of reason many, many people are unable to cut their toe nails. Most people make do by asking their children, partner, grandchildren OR by paying around $50 regularly for a pedicure. Some products (e.g. make an effort to help, but they are seriously insufficient.

For the millions of people living with physical disability from conditions like stroke, spina bifida, arthritis, traumatic brain injury, and many more, being able to cut your own toe nails would be a liberating, empowering and, don't forget, money saving ability.

This project was started for someone who couldn't cut their nails, but the list of issues goes on. If you can't cut your nails, many aspects of foot hygiene are difficult - washing, cleaning, putting on lotion - just to name a few. This project is one small step ( <- foot pun) for bringing back independence to people living with disability. In a world of an aging population, the single greatest threat to living a happy, independent life is physical disability. We're changing the world, one clip at a time.

Nailed it.

Full Assembly2.SLDASM

sldasm - 287.79 kB - 09/03/2017 at 18:32


Base Assembly.SLDASM

sldasm - 330.30 kB - 09/03/2017 at 17:53


12x12x0.25in Plywood Panel Bottom.SLDPRT

sldprt - 244.10 kB - 09/03/2017 at 17:52


12x12in Plywood Foot Panel.SLDPRT

sldprt - 255.78 kB - 09/03/2017 at 17:52


2x2x11.5in Beam.SLDPRT

sldprt - 321.28 kB - 09/03/2017 at 17:52


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  • 1 × Foot support base Angle box to support the foot on a padded surface to let you align your toenails with the clippers
  • 2 × Nail clipper adjustable clamp A two part adjustable clamp system which holds the nail clippers in a metal tube and lets you adjust it's position relative to the base.
  • 1 × Adjustable magnifying mirror and mirror support system. A simple rotating adjustable mirror holder which can support a shaving or make up mirror at the top of the base to let you see your toes from the front as you position them on the base.

  • Weekend long design and build time!

    Riley Booth09/03/2017 at 18:30 0 comments

    Last weekend (Aug 25th - 27th) we built our first prototype of our new design.

    The project materials were pretty simple:

    Sheet plywood, 4' of 1/4" thick aluminum rod, 1' of 1" diameter 1/8" thick aluminum tube, 1/3' of 1/2" diameter wooden dowel, hockey tape, a pair of nail clippers, a shaving mirror, some nails, glue, pipe clamps, nuts and bolts, and fishing line.

    We used wood working power tools to cut the base, drills holes in it, and jigsaw the slots in it. Then we nailed/glue it together. 

    The nail clipper holder had couple machining tasks. The 1/2" thick was was cut in half, and two holes were drilled in it. The tube was cut in half as well, a 1/2" diameter hole drilled though it and a slot cut down the length. The rod was bolted to the side of  the base, the tube slid down the rod and could clamp the nail clippers using the pipe clamp. By wrapping the top handle of the nail clippers in hockey tape, we made it round and fit snugly in the tube, and when it was clamped, it wasn't going anywhere.

    The shaving mirror just needed  a hole in the side of the base to be slotted in. 

    The last touch was to weave about 9 threads of fishing line into a thick and sturdy rope, which was attached to the bottom of the nail clippers on one end, and knotted through a hold in the wooden dowel on the other end. This made a nice sturdy handle to pull for making the clippers clip!

  • First attempt: Long reach grabber converted to clipper...

    Riley Booth09/03/2017 at 17:17 0 comments

    The first design attempt was to modify a grabbing tool to hold nail clippers. 


    Several problems were found trying this:

    1. Vision:

    Positioning the clippers is difficult without having a close eye on what you're doing.

    2. Hand steadiness and clipper position:

    Moving the clippers into place using the long gripper can be challenging for anyone who doesn't have a very strong and steady arm. An adjustable system which lets you put the clipper right where you need it and then hold it rigidly in place would be preferable.

    3. Clipping force:

    Toenails growth is affect by medical conditions age, which can make them very thick and hard. They require a surprising amount of force to cut, so that can be difficult to transfer through a gripper system.

    The outcome was that we needed a more robust, safe and repeatable design.

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  • 1
    Source parts

    Go shopping for:


    2.5' x 2.5' of 1/4" plywood

    2' of 2" x 2" wood beam

    1/3' of 1" thick wood dowel


    4' of 1/4" thick metal rod

    1' of 1" diameter  1/8" thick metal tube (hollow)

    Fasteners etc:

    Hockey tape

    Fishing line

    4 x 1/4" nuts, bolts and washers

    2 x 1" pipe clamps

    Wood  glue


    Nail clippers x 2

    Magnifying mirror of your choice

  • 2
    Cut the base wooden faces

    Cut four 1' x 1' peices out of the plywood, probably use a table saw.

  • 3
    Cut the base sides

     (Clamp the two sides together to do both at once for the next few instructions)

    Cut 45 degree angles at 3.5" the edge on two of the wood squares.

View all 15 instructions

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