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3D printed wheelchair for MakerED challenge #MakerEdChallenge2

3D model description

This MUST be a school project.

So I am entering this in the #MakerEdChallenge2

some kids can sew the seat covers, others in wood class can make the frame and others can 3D print the parts, the seniors could design it better! go on its for a great cause.

I decided to create this wheelchair because I have used one before due to my own illness,
I was a Sydney 2000 Olympic volunteer and part of my job then was to help people that are a different kind of perfect move around the Olympic park.
we even received training how to operate a wheelchair during the induction.

I have been 3D printing many things and for many people over the last 3 years and I think is time I begin to design/make something for a noble cause.

So, I thought I should pay it forward and create one that anyone in the world could make and assemble with a very common cheap parts.

I visited my country of Birth Chile a few months ago and I saw first hand how 3D printed parts for different kind of perfect people could transform their lives but sadly they didnt know where to go to get their needs met or that it could be very cheap.

I strongly Believe that everyone in the world deserves to be able to move about and a wheelchair should not be a luxury item for the few/well off.

It should be a tool that anyone should have access to use.

I would love for a school to take this up and make it into a formal design project.

I see this project divided into 4 modules.

3D printing

The sawing of the cushions and armrests plus the support of these onto the wheelchair itself

The frame, cutting the MDF from a template, sanding, painting, drilling holes
Learning how to measure, cut holes with drill, use of jigsaw.

3D printing
Printing the bits and checking for tolerances.


I think kids can improve on the design and this should form part once it has been made.
So that the next year class can improve on it, eventually making the design better and better and perhaps changing all together!!

The most important lesson is not what you are building although it might seem like it.
To me the lesson is about gratitude.
To appreciate who we are and therefore help those who are less fortunate.
To work on a project who is going to potentially enrich someones life is the best project anyone can work on)

You will also learn how to make a wheelchair with very basic tools, using a drill, a jigsaw, sawing machine, how to cut material from a pattern (also how to make a pattern)etc

Audiences: I do not have kids so I dont know. But I imagine kids 14-15 onwards would be able to operate those equipment safely with teacher supervision.


Perhaps the first lesson should be to familiarise kids with other kids that use a wheelchair,
perhaps they could sit in the chair and drive it so they understand what it is like to use one and how difficult life would be without one.

then start with the 3D printing as this would take the longest
Kids could take turns learning how to upload the parts onto the 3D printer, how to clean the printer and after print finishing (painting/sanding)

then we would go into tracing the template for the big frame, then cutting it.
So learning here how to transfer the template onto the MDF.
how to secure it for cutting, what blades to use, etc.

the drilling could go next.

We would need a wheelchair to get the use of the big wheels and the frame for the little ones.

Duration:I estimate this could take 6 weeks to complete perhaps a couple of weeks more.

Preparation: think about who the person kid in mind who will use it so to pick best cxolours and/or fabrics, (could pick school colours/favourite superhero)

References: teachers should know how to operate jigsaws, drills and 3D printers.

Rubric & Assessment:

This is a class assignment so each student will be graded for the part they completed.

at the end the class should donate the wheelchair to an actual person.
then also each student to answer what could have been better designed , what went wrong and what they learned from the experience.

This is a lovely thing a friend does for a mate but it should not have to be this hard!!

The material list will be like this: (will be adding more as I need it)

-Plywood/MDF 16mm thick
-roll of plastic (1 kilo exactly is what will be needed to print all the components!!)
at the end I will rename each part so it has its weight in grams in case you are wondering if you have enough.
-zip ties (to support not load bearing components instead of using nuts, bolts and washers which are heavier and more expensive ( I used these for the seat support beam ends)
-rods 'broom sticks' of two sizes (50mm for cross bracing and 20mm for the others)
-nuts and bolts (will specify how many, what type, size, lenght,etc)
-paint (because the frame is kind of chunky a nice vibrant happy colour would be great (I will do version 1 in red because it will go faster)
-2 old/new long 'socks' for the arm rests

fabric for the seats (I was thinking flour bags) and or old tshits
tools required

-drill (hand held or electric)
-spanner (will specify size)
-access to a 3D printer
-access to needle and thread
-pair of scissors

and a bit of room to make it. (I live in a small apartment so my workshop was my balcony which I had to leave everytime my little dog needed to go to the toilet, he is shy and doesn't like to go when there are people watching), so a little more room would be best and a bench/table would be great to have too.

finally, I dont like the term disabled so instead I replace it with "a different kind of perfect" which I got from here (its far nicer)

note: I have started to put PDF's now.
once I do the frame today, I will make a cad file of it in PDF and DWG and STL in one piece so that maybe someone with a laser cutter machine big enough can cut it automatically.

also when the frame is done i will assemble it and begin to take photos of the real thing!!!!

This project has taken a great amount of time, effort and resources to design and build.
(As you know any prototype is expensive at first, I am happy to wear the costs)
My purpose is to share it with the world for free, however a small contribution would be a huge help to continue its development.
please go here and help me if you believe in this worthy cause.

My dream would be for this project to be copied by someone like IKEA and mass produce this flat packed and shipped wherever these might be needed as part of help that countries offer one another.

Anyone with questions or help, done hesitate to send me a message and I will endeavour to reply ASAP.
Also if anyone would like to donate a 3D printer for this cause don't hesitate to get in touch with me.
It doesn't even need to be big or fancy, i can modify the wheelchair parts to fit their built area. you would be doing a great thing.


With a career spanning over 15 years in the architectural industry Hugo has had the opportunity of working at some of Australia's most elite and award-winning firms including Woods Bagot and Rice Daubney, and has experience in managing and training a team of up to 50 members.

During his time Hugo has gained expertise in all areas including; residential, commercial, industrial, health and defence sectors on project up to $1 billion. He has personally designed in excess of 30 residences for high profile clientèle with his work featuring on programs including Better Homes and Gardens and Today and featured in articles in InsideOut and Coast. Hugo has not limited himself to architecture though, he has worked alongside renowned Sydney based Interior Designer, Phillip Silver to help create some opulent and inspiring interior spaces. He has been a Guest Speaker at conferences, seminars and corporate functions and even contributed to the 2009 Graphisoft Best Practice Book.

Hugo recently became a Finalist in the international Parramatta Ideas on Edge Competition, where he was shortlisted out of almost 200 entrants.

Hugo is also a Registered Graphisoft Consultant, one of only six in the country, where he specialises in managing the transition of 2D legacy drafting to a BIM environment. Please visit for more information.

Registered Graphisoft Consultant/BIM Implementer, ArchiCAD Expert Level, Seamless Integration of ArchiCAD and Artlantis, 2D Legacy Drafting to BIM (Transitioning from 2D to 3D), Integration of other disciplines onto current Architectural projects into 3D.




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