At the beginning of the year, Trevor Byers purchased a 3D printer, and the only thing he had in mind was to give his little dachshund Bubbles a way to move independently. So Byers and Elissa Smoak decided to 3D print a wheelchair, for their dog Bubbles. The open sourced design can be downloaded from MakerBot Thingiverse, and Instructibles so other dogs can benefit from the design.
Byers and his wife had woken up one night to discover their dachshund had given birth to a puppy in their bed, and was in the process of delivering another one. Afterwards he transferred the mother and puppies to a whelping box, and realized that the first puppy had been born without front legs. Deeply worried about the quality of life the dog would have, they did some research and found that dogs with similar disabilities could live full lives with the help of compassionate owners and wheelchair like devices that provided the animals with tremendous mobility.
So Byer, who is in the United States Army, stationed in Fort Hood, Texas decided to 3D print the dog its own chair. Using a combination of a carbon fibre and 3D printed parts the couple then created Bubbles a wheelchair that was less expensive than traditional dog wheelchairs (which can cost around three hundred dollars), but also a more lightweight wheelchair so the dog could move around more comfortably and quickly.
The wheelchair took several failed attempts, and further adapting before Byer arrived at the final design that would be customized for Bubbles and any other pet with a similar disibility. Byer has also shared the design on Instructables which gives instructions for correctly measuring the dog for fitting. The couple is also generously giving the newly created wheelchair to other dogs.
Byers said he “loves the freedom that it has given her.”