Category Archives: Useful Tools

Guest Post: Jeff Boonstra, CP, How to make those spectra socks last longer on a carbon fiber prosthetic foot. Use Shearban on the “toe”

Here is a tip that I thought was very cool.

Jeff Boonstra, CP, of Advanced Prosthetics Center emailed me this tip. Cover the toe of your carbon feet with a piece of shearban. This will increase the length of the spectra socks on the high activity feet by at least 2 times.


1 Comment

Filed under Prosthetic Technical Tips, Useful Tools

Name that creative rivet holder!…Creative use of ???

Leave a comment if you know what the creative holder is made of…Be specific!


Filed under Orthotic Technical Tips, Useful Tools, Workplace Ideas

How put transfers onto straps for AFO’s, KAFO’s, Lanyards for an Above the Knee Prosthesis

There was a question posed on the orthotics and prosthetics forum a few weeks ago on how to transfer patterns to straps. The range of answers was anything from using an iron to using a t-shirt heat press. Well, deep in the lifEnabled proving grounds the answer of how to produce a crisp, clean, consistent image on a strap was achieved. We tried ironing and it “worked” but was quite inconsistent. I then ordered a t-shirt heat press from ProWorld Inc and found that it gave the sharpest and most consistent results. From now on if a patient wants a transfer the straps will match. If you do not want to buy a press you do have another option. Frank Hodges from Sunstone Lab will put together a strap kit for you. We are going to start experimenting with sublimation printing to see about creating custom transfers.

Leave a comment

Filed under Orthotic Technical Tips, Pediatric Orthotic Tips, Tips for Parents of Brace Wearers, Useful Tools

A homemade device for heating and relieving pressure areas on AFO’s, SMO’s, and thermoplastic prostheses

This is a tip from Kevin Matthews, CO at Advanced Orthopedic Designs. He found some threaded ball knobs in the MSC catalog and attached them to threaded rod. The rod fits perfectly in the pipe that they use to pour orthoses. He has a few different sizes that he can use and they are perfect for a consistent shape heat relief in any thermoplastic device.

Leave a comment

Filed under Orthotic Technical Tips, Useful Tools

Possibly one of the handiest tools around: a Sharpie?

Using a sharpie to color white thread black after sewing is one of the oldest tricks in the book.  I learned another trick with a sharpie.  After bending up an Ultraflex set-up, use a sharpie to color the cut bar stock.

What creative things do you do with a sharpie?


Filed under Useful Tools

Great Resource for Amputees: and @amputeenews on twitter

If you have not found it already.  I highly suggest going to or follow them on twitter @amputeenews .  They provide a great deal of current information and inspirational stories on a well laid out website.  They also are releasing their first magazine “Amp it up” in December.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nice Job!, Tips for amputees, Tips for Parents of Brace Wearers, Useful Tools

Guest Post Review: John T. Brinkmann, CPO, LPO, FAAOP Coneiak Polishing Arbors from Fillauer for finishing AFO’s, Prosthetic Socket Edges, Foam, Thermoplastics

Thank you John for this post, you have peaked my curiosity on these Arbors.

There’s a good chance that deteriorating Tycro arbors have been the source of more conflict in PO labs than any other tool. (Except maybe Surforms…) I’ve witnessed ill-spirited accusations and subterfuge surrounding this ubiquitous tool, including people secretly hiding or marking cones to determine who is using them incorrectly. At the Academy meeting in March I stopped by the Fillauer booth and checked out their Coneiak Polishing Arbors. I was very skeptical about their effectiveness, because….well, they’re not Tycro. And I’ve always used a combination of Tycro buffing and flame polishing as the final step on any thermoformed device. Could it be possible that there was something else…perhaps even something better?

Because I have fascination with anything new, as well as great difficulty passing up an opportunity to buy more tools, I purchased the tapered red arbor. It sat unused above my router for six months. I just could not accept that the soft gel cone could polish an edge without completely deteriorating. A few weeks ago I finally decided to try the arbor, and found that it performed phenomenally. I finished polypropylene, co-poly, and polyethylene edges, as well as foam (STARband helmet lining) and laminated, thermo-set plastic. On the thermoformed plastics the arbor left a completely smooth, shiny surface. Better than my traditional Tycro/flame combo, and without the burn marks and melted edge common with flame finished edges. The arbor did not perform as well on foam (Starband helmet lining). It performed as well on the laminated material as the Tycro did, but on these types of edges I generally use 400 grit wet/dry sand paper for the final smoothing.

There was no observable marring or grooving in the material after the relatively short time I spent buffing. The Fillauer rep at the booth assured me that these arbors have extremely long life, and after my experience using them I’m inclined to believe him. These products are not inexpensive, but they are well worth the cost, in my opinion.


Filed under Component Reviews, Orthotic Technical Tips, Pediatric Orthotic Tips, Prosthetic Technical Tips, Prosthetic Tips, Useful Tools