Raul Krauthausen, a 30-year-old German inventor who has osteogenesis imperfecta, has created one of the most empowering products for any wheelchair user — a portable wheelchair ramp made on a 3D printer. His idea was inspired by other disability-friendly projects he discovered after buying his 3D printer, a MakerBot Replicator 2, such as a wheelchair cup holder from the Swedish company, PolygonPusher.
Krauthausen’s mini-portable plastic ramp is designed to turn one-step public places and non-cut curbs into accessible spaces, bringing access to people with disabilities without them having to spend a fortune. His ramp comes in two pieces and takes 26 hours to print. He takes plastic filaments and puts them into the printer. First, they turn to plastic goo, and then that goo takes on the form of the design entered into the 3D printer — in this case, his portable ramp. Once printed, the ramp can easily be carried in a bag.
Right now Krauthausen has his product up on Thingiverse, and he’s asking the world for advice on how he can improve “The Wedge” — this is what he calls his design since the two pieces are usually wedged right up to a curb cut or step. A discussion is occurring over at the site, so if you have any advice or tips to share on the design, they would be warmly welcomed.
Right now, the ongoing discussions are focusing on adding traction to the bottom of the wedges, but the discussions vary daily. Of course, to bring this 3D portable wheelchair ramp into your life, you will need your own 3D printer. While a typical 3D printer costs around $2,000, if you visit his site you can at least print the design for his ramp for free.
Have you created any disability products with a 3D printer?