Introduction: Pet Bowl Riser - 3D Printing
Earlier this year, my 13-year-old cat, Chase, displayed a reduced appetite and would sometimes vomit after eating. So I researched this situation and learned that elevated bowls can benefit older cats and can help prevent neck, spine, and hip problems. Elevated bowls can also alleviate some of the symptoms associated with gastric reflux by enhancing faster digestion and absorption.
Raising Chase's food bowl made a difference and allowed him to eat and swallow his food more efficiently. His appetite returned, and he stopped vomiting.
Months later, my 11-year-old dog Stella looked strained while eating, and sometimes did not finish her meal. Our vet was not overly concerned because Stella was still eating, just eating less. I did some additional research and learned that elevated bowls can be a good option for dogs with arthritis, back pain, joint pain, immobility issues, and old-aged dogs.
With this in mind, I designed and 3D printed food bowl risers for both Chase and Stella. She is just starting to use her new riser, and she likes it! The raised bowl reduces the strain of having to lower her head to the floor to eat.
This DIY is simple and allows you to customize the riser for the proper height. You can continue to use your pet's current bowl.
If you want to build this project yourself, steps 5 - 14 show how you can build it in Fusion 360.
- 3D printer ( with filament )
- Slicing software
- Tape measure / ruler
- Glue ( optional )
- CAD software ( optional )
Step 1: Bowl Height
The first step is to measure your pet's height and use that to determine the length for the bowl legs. Make sure the bowl is at the correct height to get the best results. For dogs, measure to the lower part of their chest. For cats, measure to their knees. Before you upload to the slicer, make sure the height of the bowl will at least roughly fit relative to the diameter of your bowl. If not, you may want to use CAD software like Tinkercad, or Fusion 360 to change the depth / thickness of the bowl legs.
Dog Bowl Riser Files: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1exyc6I5CUj6vejkSkUnOnNDGHqlBZxUX/
Step 2: Measure Bowl Size
These instructions are for a pet bowl with a rim. First, measure the size of the diameter of the rim, and make sure this lines up with the size in the 3D slicing software. Then measure the width of the rim. These are important measurements, so make sure it is as accurate as possible. As mentioned in the previous step, if the leg heights of the bowl are too short / tall after you have the correct diameter for your bowl, you may want to change the leg heights in CAD software before printing.
Step 3: Bowl Size Too Big?
If your bowl size is too big to fit the model on the printer, you will have to slice the model in half and print two parts, then use Superglue or Loctite to secure them together after both pieces are printed.
Step 4: Printing
At this point everything should be set. The only thing to mention is the infill density of your print. I would recommend a higher infill density (50%+) to increase stability. All other settings are optional.
Step 5: How to Design It in Fusion 360
These next steps will demonstrate how to design the bowl riser itself using Fusion 360 software. If there is ever a tool you can't find, select the S key to produce a search menu. Your version may also look different from the demonstration, because I already built everything and am using the timeline.
Step 6: Start by Making a Cylinder
Make sure this cylinder is at least 5mm thick, and the total diameter should be a bit less than the diameter of the rim, measured in Step 2.
Step 7: Cut a Hole in the Cylinder
There are several ways to do this. I clicked on the sketch tool on the top left corner, then on the new available menu clicked on the circle tool. You can create a circle of any diameter. This diameter should be equal to the diameter of the rim minus the width of the rim. Once you have this, select "finish" on the sketch tools. Then select E (extrude) and pull the arrow downward to remove the center.
Step 8: Rim Extender
In this step, we will make the part that runs under the circular part we created in Step 7 to provide structural support. Start by making a new sketch, and adding another circle, this one will be slightly bigger than the inner diameter from the circular part from Step 7, as highlighted in the photo. Once you have this, select the face by clicking on it. Press E (extrude) and pull the face out so it matches the photo.
Step 9: Sketch for Legs
Click on new sketch. First, create a "center rectangle" under the create > rectangle > center rectangle. Create the center point for the first rectangle right down the middle. I chose to make mine 12.40mm but the thickness can be whatever you think fits best. The length and width do not need to be the same. Next, do the same thing, but for the two other legs. Position the first one so that it is about half way in-between the top of the disc, and the midline / axis. do the exact same thing to the other side, just make sure the Y position is the same, so that they are in line. To check distances, use the line tool (top left corner), and connect all 3 squares. This should highlight any significant differences.
Step 10: Extrude Legs
Before you start this step, you need to exit the sketch from the last step. You should see the outline of your sketch. To create the legs themselves, select all the faces from each of the legs you want to extrude, by holding down shift while selecting the leg faces.
Step 11: Finishing the Legs
Once you have extruded out the legs, select the top face on each leg, and press E and pull them out, so that it lines up with the top of the rim.
Over the two back legs, I added a box and changed the operation to "cut", so that it would remove the unevenness of one unselected face. Even if you select all faces while extruding I recommend doing this to make the overall design less bulky.
Step 12: Fillet and Chamfer
You may have already noticed but my stand is very smooth across all edges. This is because I used Chamfers and Fillets (under the modify menu). Select an edge and click on the fillet or chamfer tool. Use the arrow to change how deep you want it to work. Use this tool across as many edges as you want, to change the overall feel of the object.
Step 13: Touching Up
You also may have noticed holes and smaller imperfections. Use basic geometry tools from the create screen (usually boxes), to fill in these gaps.
Step 14: Optional: Leg Extensions
If you have a tall dog / cat, I would recommend extending the legs by extruding the face on the top of each, as shown in this figure.
Runner Up in the