Aug 24, 2015 | By Simon

As most any parent can vouch for, raising a child can be one of the biggest challenges an individual could face in their lifetime - however the challenge is increased dramatically when one or more children require special care.  

Among other reasons, the time it takes to care for the child - combined with the associated costs of additional equipment and care - can add up rather quickly.  With this in mind, it becomes clear how just one tool or product can have a huge impact on the amount of time and energy it takes to care for a child in need.  Thanks to 3D printing, the ability to create custom product solutions is not only easy, but also very affordable. 

Among others, mother Dully Katzeff found a solution for her son’s constant need to take medications he didn’t like in the form of the Pill Coater - a 3D printed box that is able to cover her son’s medication in chocolate.  

“I’ve lived in three continents, worked in different industries, published a book, managed companies for others as well as my own: currently a technology company I share with my husband and others,” says Katzeff.   

“Most importantly, I became a mother of three: I truly believed that I can do it all. The hardest, by far, is the helplessness that has been consuming my motherly heart ever since my son was diagnosed with a chronic disease. At first I was broken, but now I am decisive to turn this misfortune around, and make good out of bad. that's what the Pill Coater means to me.”

For those suffering from crohn's disease, a number of hard-to-swallow medications are needed on a daily basis in order to keep the conditions under control.  Unfortunately, these aren’t always easy to swallow - especially for young children - which can easily make an already stressful situation even more stressful.


After talking to her pharmacist and gaining approval, Katzeff set about covering her son’s medications with a layer of chocolate one day in advance, which allowed the chocolate to cool and create a candy shell over the otherwise unappetizing medications.

Unsurprisingly, the idea to cover the medication in chocolate was her son’s idea, however Katzeff deserves the credit for “making it real”, which was able to happen thanks to 3D printing.  

Of course, not everybody with a great invention idea has access to a 3D printer, and Katzeff was no exception.  To gain a better understanding of the process required for turning her son’s idea into a workable product, Katzeff turned to MatterThings in Canada to help bring the product idea to life.  

Billed as Canada’s first dedicated 3D printing shop, MatterThings is located inside the Faubourg de l'Île shopping mall in Québec and encourages everybody to “come 3D print anything”.  

To create the prototype for the Pill Coater, Katzeff worked with the MatterThings team to develop a product design that would be able to be printed and used for a Kickstarter campaign so that other parents might be able to find the same kind of success that she and her son had found with the chocolate-covered medications.  

To print the different parts of the stackable Pill Coater assembly - which includes a melted chocolate base, a mesh for dipping, a pill keeper, a chocolate storage container and a containment lid - the MatterThings team used their MakerBot Replicator 1 & 2 models using PLA filament over the course of many hours.  Among other reason,  PLA was chosen to produce the parts due to its natural food-safe properties.     

With her prototype in hand - and chocolate in the other - Katzeff is on a mission to raise just over $38,000 on Kickstarter to help bring her son’s product idea to life through more traditional manufacturing methods.

“Manufacturing can get tricky because there are so many elements to consider,” explains Katzeff.

“In my case, there are tooling, materials, colours, and quality. As a supplier, I want to please my customers. However, I too rely on my own suppliers; and when they don't deliver, my customers will be disappointed. No supplier wants to disappoint his/her customers.”

In an effort to help minimize any potential disasters, Katzeff has decided to keep manufacturing in North America - which she describes as fitting with her ideology that people should support the greater community that they live in.   

“With my son, I hope to be able to do good to as many people as possible, and that includes improving what needs to be improved.”

To help support Katzeff’s campaign, users can purchase a Pill Coater for the low price of just $30 during the Kickstarter campaign period.  

To find out more, head over to the Pill Coater Kickstarter page.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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