Ray the kitten has a kink in his spine. Students from Portsmouth Middle School have used 3D printing in a creative way to help.
It’s not every day you see a kitten using a wheelchair. However, for one furry feline, a 3D printed aid is a great way for him to get around.
Ray the kitten faces a few obstacles in life. He was born with abnormally small eyes and a kink in his spine, so he has difficulty moving.
His owner, Carrie Barron, explains: “He does have a lot of challenges but he doesn’t know that. He’s very happy. He plays and he’s really well adjusted.”
Although Ray is not paralyzed, he can’t move his legs; but that doesn’t stop him from doing the best he can. Barron adds: “He does scoot around the house really well.”
Barron wanted to provide Ray with a way of making longer jaunts easier. Erin Bakkom, a teacher at Portsmouth Middle School, decided that she and her students could help.
Thinking outside of the box, the students came up with an interesting way of helping Ray. They settled on a cat wheelchair which they designed and 3D printed themselves.
Bakkom explains her thought process: “It made me think okay this might be a great opportunity. What could we do to make his quality of life better and how could we think about outside the box.”
Eighth-grade students were motivated by Ray’s story to design a way of improving his life. They used a Flashforge Creator Pro to fabricate a wheelchair which they designed from scratch.
Bakkom added: “It was actually harder to get the wheels and tools to go in what we had come up with than it was to design the product itself.”
The final design is wide, allowing the cat to sit comfortably, and features “two little pegs to strap him in.” Printing the wheelchair took around 11 hours, but it was time well spent.
Ray has since grown out of two wheelchair prototypes, but the students are continuing to use 3D printing to help better the kitten’s quality of life.
License: The text of "Eighth-Graders 3D Print a Wheelchair for Ray the Kitten" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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