Scissor Lift Shoes May Be OSHA Compliant

It’s been said that necessity is the mother of all invention. This was probably the fundamental principle behind the show “Inspector Gadget”, a story about a police agent who has literally any technology at his grasp whenever he needs it. Although the Inspector’s gadgets get him into trouble more often than not (his niece Penny usually solves the actual crimes), the Inspector-inspired shoes that [Make it Extreme] builtย are a little bit more useful than whatever the Inspector happens to have up his sleeve (or pant leg, as the case may be).

If a fabrication tour de force, [Make it Extreme] built their own “Go Go Gadget Legs”, a set of pneumatically controlled stilts that allow the wearer to increase their height significantly at the push of a button. We often see drywall contractors wearing stilts of a similar height, but haven’t seen any that are able to raise and lower the wearer at will. The team built the legs from scratch, machining almost every component (including the air pistons) from stock metal. After some controls were added and some testing was done, the team found that raising one foot at a time was the safer route, although both can be raised for a more impressive-looking demonstration that is likely to throw the wearer off balance.

The quality of this build and the polish of the final product are incredibly high. If you have your own machine shop at home this sort of project might be within your reach (pun intended). If all you have on hand is a welder, though, you might be able to put together one of [Make it Extreme]’s other famous builds: a beer gun.

30 thoughts on “Scissor Lift Shoes May Be OSHA Compliant

    1. Yeah, the air pistons are commercial units.

      You could probably crouch down and untie your laces, then jump out of the boots if you dropped the controls… but it wouldn’t be ideal.

  1. You really need to remove the OSHA reference… These things are deathtraps at worst, and will only break your ankles in bad fall at best.

    Other stilts have a calf brace to keep from breaking the ankle. Imagine getting one of these caught on a toekick while working. If you end up overbalanced, you could end up twisted where you can’t bend knees or ankles. You’ll hear a nice pop, and you’ve either broken, or blown out your ankle or even your knee.

    Don’t get me wrong, they are cool, but not a good idea for work.

  2. It is only down or up, with a little bit more thought you could set the height and that would be much more useful. I also reckon that mechanical ratchet locks would be a lot better than air cylinders.

    The base should also be three point contact, not a flat plate, much like a real foot is.

    Nice prototype build though only the starting point in my view.

  3. Kind of surprising though that raising both throws you off balance, though is that due to mechanical imperfection and lack of exactly matched rates, so one is randomly 1/8 inch higher than the other, so you keep overcompensating?

  4. The geometry of a scissors lift is such that the maximum actuating force is required at the bottom of travel. This makes it very difficult to control the travel when actuated by air. Hence the one leg at a time approach.
    A friend was technical director of a stage production of Macbeth and made a pneumatic scissors lift to raise a steaming cauldron, replete with witches, from beneath the stage floor. When they tested it, the cauldron sat on the subfloor building up cylinder pressure, until -bam- slamming to full lift. Simulated witches were ejected onto the stage.

  5. I would have a motorized stool before I would try to move a step sideways on these. There is no lateral stabilizing with the flat stock and small footprint of the extensions, yeah the shin braces would help but…
    The forces are scaled down here but the player piano covers some of the air force hang up by using light vacuum instead and has instant controllable effect. The witches pot could rise smoothly with a several square foot bellows and a vacuum cleaner.

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