Introduction: Adaptable Wheelchair for Handicapped Dogs

Update: In the past few months we have optimized the design of the wheelchair. Some of the model files have changed. If you plan to build the wheelchair please feel free to contact me, I can help you selecting the best model for your needs.

A few months ago we discovered Luisa, a handicapped puppy who was born without forelegs on the website of an animal protection organisation (www.pro-tier.de) and decided to build a 3D-printed wheelchair for her. In the meantime we finished the wheelchair and have adopted Luisa. This project is open-source and we want to give everybody the opportunity to help a handicapped animal with this instructable and the 3D-Files we uploaded with it.

The Wheelchair comes in two sizes (The bigger size consists of several parts, so that it can be printed on smaller printers as well) and is adjustable in every possible aspect (width, height,camber,...).

All printed parts were printed by my company (www.multec.de) on our biggest 3d printer (Multirap M420). Of course the files can be printed on any printer, as long as the print area is big enough.

Step 1: What You Need

Here's what you need to build a wheelchair:

- a 3D printer for the 3D printed parts

- aluminum tubes 18x1,5 mm (lengths depend on the size of the dog, you better just buy ~3 meters and saw/cut it at home to the correct dimensions)

- tube connectors (e.g. from KIPP http://www.kippwerk.de, 4x K0485.18, 4x K0487.18, 2x K0472.1818, 4xK0486.18, 4xK0488.18_a, 12x K0494.018150)

- wheels: We chose wheels with a diameter of 250mm, these are usually used for bicycle trailers or buggies. Cost ~30 euro a pair. Make sure to buy tires with tube, because they absorb shock energy and tire pressure can be adjusted to different underground conditions.

- optional: a Third (smaller) wheel to help the dog as long as he is not used to balance the chair.

- an axle to connect the wheels to the wheelchair. We used a simple threaded rod. What you specifically need depends on your selected wheels. Depending on your choice you might as well need an additional printed adapter to connect the axle to the aluminum tubes

- A soft inlay (e.g. Foam) to make the wheelchair more comfortable for the dog

- Fasteners/belts (2x) to make sure the dog doesn't fall out of his wheelchair.

- bolts and nuts (M5, M4 in different lenghts)

We spent around 130€ for all needed parts.

Step 2: Print!

Print the attached files.Make sure to enable support-structures for overhanging areas. Since the parts are pretty big, i would recommend you to use 'fast' printer settings (big layer heights) and a heated printing bead to prevent warping problems. Also, I used PLA-Filament instead of ABS, because there are less problems with warping. Make sure that you don't run out of filament while printing.

Note: There are 2 versions. For small dogs print "printed frame Puppy", which is one part.

For big dogs print printed_frame_right, printed_frame_left, mountingplate_small and mountingplate.

If you want to add an additional wheel, make sure to print mounting_device_high as well.

Step 3: Assemble!

Assemble the parts according to the pictures above

Step 4: Adjust!

Adjust the assembled chair, so that it fits well. Adjust camber angle, caster angle , ground clearance, width, heights and lenght

Step 5: Train!

Let your dog train with the wheelchair. The following is the most important part of this instruction:
Do not force the dog to use the wheelchair, make the training as comfortable as possible (read: use dog treats). Though giving a new level of freedom, the wheelchair might be a strange object to the dog at first. Let him get used to it slowly and he will learn to use and like it.

If you have any questions or need assistance building a wheelchair, feel free to contact me.

In case you want to read more about Luisa, you can follow her on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/luisas.tagebuch or on http://luisas-blog.de/

Comments

author
Tech3Design made it! (author)2017-03-16

Made a modified version of the original one for an awesome dog named Tucker. He has some practice to do but he "gets it" and I think he'll do just fine. This was an awesome project to work on and wow do I feel good.

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author
AlbaL5 (author)Tech3Design2017-06-25

Hi guys!

I need a chair like Tucker's, for a big dog with the same problem. He does not have his front left leg. Could you tell me how to contact you? Thank you!!

author
aimzzz (author)Tech3Design2017-03-20

This is so awesome - I love it!

I'd love to learn more about Tucker's progress!

author
AlbaL5 (author)2017-06-24

great job! It's a pleasure to meet people like you. My dog ​​is a Golden and does not have the front left leg because of a cancer. We had surgery and he's happy but we'd need the same wheelchair as Tucker. Would that be possible? Please tell me how to get in touch with you. I am writing from Spain. Thanks for everything

author
aimzzz (author)AlbaL52017-06-24

Hey there!

I'll send you a message and hope I can help you and your Goldie :)

author
jdgriggs (author)2016-08-26

This is Really Awesome - we are a Non-Profit working with over 145 Rescue & Shelter organizations in Texas and we have been thinking about starting a Wheelchair loaner program for years now but this 3D printing idea opens a whole new opportunity for so many in need. We are thinking about purchasing a printer and making wheelchairs with front, back and all 4 wheels do you have any suggestions, ideas or advice for us: ) Thank you for all you do and for Helping Us Help Them! Judy & The RPAL Team

author
aimzzz (author)jdgriggs2016-11-26

Hey Judy,
Sorry, I havent seen your comment earlier. If it's still relevant feel free to write me a message and I'll be happy to help you :)

author
tribalgent (author)2016-11-25

Great Job on this one !!!!, Going to give it a try, just a problem to find those tube connectors, is there a way i could print those, maybe there are some files for that, would be handy :)

author
aimzzz (author)tribalgent2016-11-26

Hey there,
where are you from?
I wouldnt recommend printing these, since they really need to handle high forces. If you want to contact me, in the meantime I made some improvements to the print files.

author
analine2 (author)2016-06-02

LOVE IT! SO SWEET!

author
elFgoatherd93 (author)2015-11-27

I need to make one of these for a small goat. Thank you for the parts listing and advice.

author
SalutarisFarm (author)2015-10-20

We have a dog in a rescue here that is only 2 1/2 weeks old and 1.5 pounds... Can this be adapted to such small sizes?

author
aimzzz (author)SalutarisFarm2015-10-20

Hey there,

I doubt it would be useful to use this design on a very small scale. What size do you expect will the dog have when he is adult?

author
SalutarisFarm (author)aimzzz2015-10-20

By what Im hearing, its a chihuahua... So small (~10 pounds?)

author
InsomniacOlympian (author)2015-10-10

Congrats on the win..... And you are awesome for helping a fellow earthling..... What kind of 3D Pinter is that..... We are adopting a dog who was born with out front legs tomorrow and I want to make him one of these..... I'm thinking about buying a delta printr 3D Printer Kit..... Hopefully it'll get the job done......

author
aimzzz (author)InsomniacOlympian2015-10-11

Hey there,

Where are you from? How big will the dog be? I made some changes to the initial design to make the wheelchair fit perfectly for Luisa. Maybe your dog has about the same size?

I did the printing with a Multec M420. If you have no experience with 3d printing it might be a tough road to print huge parts like the chest plates. Maybe I can assist you with printing as well. Please contact me

author
aimzzz (author)2015-07-11

Hey,

I just wanted to give a short
update on Luisa and this project. First of all: Thanks to all of you
who voted for this instructable, the judges seems to have liked it as
well. It won a prizes in all 3 contests. Thanks!

Luisa
is doing very fine and she enjoys her "new mobility". We are constantly
adapting the wheelchair design to fit her needs. If you want to follow
her development you might want to check www.facebook.com/luisas.tagebuch , there is also a new clip of her running through the grass.

I'd
be very happy if this instructable could help other dogs, please feel
free to contact me, if you know someone who could need help with this.
I'd be happy to assist.

author
LiveCrafts (author)aimzzz2015-08-15

I absolutely love this! My dog doesn't need it, but thanks for posting it. Luisa is beautiful. She's lucky to have such loving and kind parents. God Bless All of You!

LiveCrafts :D

author
jwallace27 (author)2015-07-12

Congrats! Luisa is very lucky to have pawrents like you

author
Saiyam (author)2015-06-29

3/3 contest wins! Congrats. You really deserve it :)

author
aimzzz (author)Saiyam2015-07-11

thank you!

author
Stark Ideas (author)2015-06-21

Good for you, great build

author
Pixelman (author)2015-06-19

good innovation

author
raomujtaba (author)2015-06-11

Congratulations on winning grand prize.

author
DIY KING 00 (author)2015-06-11

Conguratiolations on the big win, well deserved ... keep up the good work...

author
hertzgamma (author)2015-06-09

Wow, here is a great use of a 3D printer in the most humane way possible and congratulations on winning the grand prize!

author
iristana (author)2015-05-09

she is lovely glad some one loves her

author
TheArtOfWeapons (author)2015-05-08

awww i voted beacause its cute

author
Klimskady (author)2015-05-08

I hope you win as this truly a brilliant instructable!

author
stephenmack (author)2015-05-05

What an inspiring instructable!

author
Fission_Chips (author)2015-05-04

Awwww! Such a cute project, and great execution. Nice job on this!

author
nikitaweka (author)2015-05-04

your video format is unreadable, pity really.

author
HeatherP2 (author)2015-05-04

Aww!

author
jimmypat (author)2015-05-03

Great great job! Very impressive.

author
Oscelot (author)2015-05-03

Anyone who makes this: PLEASE be very careful about introducing any spinal curvature to your dog. work with your vet and be ready to make adjustments to the rig. If you introduce any curvature, you're likely to create a great deal of pain for the dog and introduce new long term issues.

OP: Really nice job! It looks really great.

author
LP2 (author)2015-05-03

You ! are AWSOME !

Great Instructable.

author
Kurt E. Clothier (author)2015-05-03

This is a beautiful project, and that pooch is ready for some off-roading with those huge tires!

author
aimzzz (author)Kurt E. Clothier2015-05-03

Thanks!

The Wheels might look too big on first view, but I believe bigger wheels are better for two reasons: They provide better damping and it's no problem to move through high grass and over steps.

author
Kurt E. Clothier (author)aimzzz2015-05-03

That's kind of what I figured. Nice work.

author
alexandra.wells.79 (author)2015-05-03

looks a great practical instructable.

author
smokin joe (author)2015-05-03

Very impressed! That is how to "pay it forward"

author
CarlTrin (author)2015-05-03

That's nice !

author
Crusader68 (author)2015-05-03

Thank you for creating this, and thank you for caring for this dog.

author
jamesw378 (author)2015-05-03

Awesome just awesome. I hope this helps out many pet owners

author
imperio (author)2015-05-03

Truly remarkable!

About 40 years ago, I made a similar thing for a dog who had lost the use of his rear legs.

The dog's name was Diana ... lived for about a year with the "wheelchair"

author
TizianaZ (author)2015-05-03

This is an amazing project! And your dog is super lovely and cute!! :D You made a great thing, this is true love for your dog and the instructable is really cool! Big respect for you. I also voted for you in all the contests. :)

author
hostile13 (author)2015-05-03

Its things like this that restore my home in humanity. Fantastic job.:-)

author
al4by (author)2015-05-03

Some time
ago, walking on a street of Thessaloniki (Greece), I saw this dog (in the photos)
walking with its owner (a lady). She told me, her dog fell off a balcony (12m
high) on the street and hurt its spine, resulting disability to move the back
legs. The veterinarian along with a blacksmith constructed the cart, now
supporting the poor dog. Ever since I never saw again the dog and the lady … I
hope they’re ok.

God bless
you aimzzz for your sophisticated work and all who care
for handicapped animals …

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author
aimzzz (author)al4by2015-05-03

Hey al4by,

Thank you for sharing your story. Though I feel sorry for the dog, that he hurt his spine, it makes me happy to see, that he received assistance! It hope he gets along well.

author
bcraun (author)2015-05-03

You, my friend, changed that pup's life in a good way. Love those little folded ears too!

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