3-D printed portable wheelchair ramps


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I am always a bit surprised at the lack of accommodation for the differently abled in Europe/etc.

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I was actually just thinking about this problem the other day - it’s surprising to me that there doesn’t seem to be a simple, self-deployable ramp for wheelchairs to get over curbs. Or maybe I just haven’t seen it (not being a wheelchair rider myself). These ramps look simple enough, but I’m not sure how they could be deployed and retrieved by someone who had to stay in the wheelchair the whole time.


Needs some kind of rivet gun or superglue to make them permanent fixtures. Should be a fun conversation when the city gets huffy about people defacing public property and everyone else wants to hear them explain why the sidewalks weren’t made wheelchair accessible to begin with.


Maybe he could use a fascine that he could drop in front of his chair, drive over it and then haul the fascine up behind for reuse.

This is pretty cool though. Future the next.

Looks like we forgot to paste the link. Here: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:213181

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That’s a wonderful idea.

A less modern, with-it person would make them out of blocks of wood.


Sorry to be a pooper, but as someone who makes stuff for a living, rather than a self styled “maker”, this is the most ridiculous deployment of 3d printing I’ve seen, and that’s saying something. Instead of cutting a couple of chunks of cheap softwood, and being able to make a more flexible and less steep device, let’s spend many times as long and many times the cost to print it!


Need to get some of those little swarm robots to construct a ramp out of carbon tubes…

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Get off your high-sawhorse, gellflex. First, as a 3-D printed object it may very well be that someone who rides a wheelchair finds it easier to print something like this at home than go get lumber, pull out the power tools, and fashion something like this out of wood. Second, as a 3-D design, it’s open to be tinkered with, so someone might design the next one with different treads, change the angle, eliminate uneeded material to make it lighter, stackable, more compact, wider to accommodate different wheels, etc. All of which makes the product refinement something that can be done by the community it serves, which is far better than having it made for them by someone who distinguishes himself from those pitiable “self-styled makers.”

It’s amazing to me that some people these days still just don’t get some fundamentals of what being a “maker” is about. It’s not always about doing it more efficiently, more cheaply, or faster. It’s about building something for yourself that meets your needs, learning how to do it, and realizing that not everything that gets made in the world has to be made in China or designed by people who “make stuff for a living”. Sorry if the future doesn’t include you.


It works both ways. I have a home workshop, where things get made out of wood and metal. I also have a 3D printer, and access to a laser cutter. I usually cobble together something out of wood, because it’s easier to take a couple swipes with a saw and a belt sander than to do a full 3D CAD design and get the plastic filament flowing smoothly.

If I were physically unable to work in a wood shop, I’d opt for the 3D printer every time.


Do those come with small “rods” as deployment handles? I can see some semi-permanently attached to the chair to be deployed as needed.

The ramps are nice enough, but I don’t see a method to deploy and retrieve them? If you have someone helping you to put those down and back up, they could probably supply the grunt needed to just muscle over the curb in the first place.

Lord help us if the future is defined by producing things in the least efficient way possible, we’ve spent millennia working in the opposite direction. Perhaps the future holds cheap printing ala Diamond Age, but for now it’s vanity projects. There’s a place for vanity projects, the entire Renaissance was financed by the wealthy for chuckles, but conflating it with real utility confuses the masses.


Gellflex has a valid point that I see. The fetish ‘maker culture’ has for 3d printing (and some other production methods) is often silly and sometimes counter to its stated values. Would this article have been on Boing-Boing if the blocks were simply cut from wood? They would have been every bit as much “about building something for yourself that meets your needs, learning how to do it” etc etc, they just wouldn’t have the techno-glamour BB needs to show off in order to keep eyeballs on advertisements. The article fails to mention the aspects related to 3d printing (if any) that make it useful in this case, and seems posted purely for “gee wiz” points.


Having worked as an assistant for a couple electric wheel chair users - no, you often can’t just muscle one of those up a curb (or at least I couldn’t, not with a 4+inch curb). Those ramps might be steep enough that a push is still required, but are much better than nothing. Plus, the would allow the user to travel without the help of a burly attendant who is willing to risk injury hoisting a heavy chair; any friend or even a stranger could place and retrieve the ramps, but might not be strong enough / willing to risk muscling a chair up a curb.

So, even without a deployment mechanism, they are good to have along. Assuming the guy has an adapted care, would it not still carry a spare tire because he can’t change that tire himself? As with the ramps, better to have it along.

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I think these can be made nearly hollow, so they’re lighter than wood. I think they can also be made so they nest partially inside each other. So they’re smaller and lighter, which is great for someone who has to get around in a wheelchair.

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You need to get out more.

Top Hat for Cute Octopus:


I get it; triangular blocks, even with a little tread pattern are not world-shaking objects. What is world-shaking though is looking at an object like that and saying “not only can I just download and print that and have it right now, but I can modify it before I print it, and make it work better. And I can share my design, or I could sell those products.” And if one person who looks at that picture of a guy in a wheelchair solving his own problems with a 3D printer is inspired to do the same, whether that’s with plastic blocks or prosthetic hands, I’d say it’s worth posting on BB. It’s certainly more newsworthy than a levitating pug or business cards made from meat.