Nov 17, 2015 | By Tess

The maker community is filled with different kinds of innovators, some have business ambitions, some want to have fun and some just want to help people. The latter is the case for Australian-based maker and Thingiverse user Hugo Riveros, who has recently designed and made accessible the files and instructions for 3D printing a functional wheelchair.

Riveros, who has had over a decade experience working in the architecture industry and has worked for some of Australia’s most notable firms, discovered a passion for 3D printing over the last few years and decided to put his design talents and 3D printing knowledge towards a good cause. Hugo put his efforts into designing a 3D printed wheelchair because of his own experience using a wheelchair at one point in his life, and because of his overwhelming want to help people with disadvantages.

The wheelchair project, called HU-GO, is currently in its first version, though Riveros has noted that he continues to make modifications and improvements to its design. For instance, in its second iteration, Riveros hopes to be able to 3D print the wheels and/or hubs. In its current version, HU-GO consists of 3D printed parts, a plywood frame, support rods, big wheels (the smaller wheels are 3D printed), and hardware, which include nuts and bolts as well as zip ties.

By looking to his own previously used wheelchair and by analyzing and breaking down its design, Riveros was able to develop a basic design for his own 3D printed wheelchair. It also helped that during the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Riveros worked to assist handicapped people in getting around the Olympic park and received training on how to operate and use a wheelchair. This knowledge has aided him in designing a functional and usable wheelchair, as can be seen in the brief video below:

Riveros’ Thingiverse page features the detailed process of designing and building the wheelchair as well as ten files to be 3D printed. As he notes, the print settings are fairly flexible, just so long as the pieces are printed at a good resolution to ensure their strength - Riveros himself printed the parts at a 0.2mm resolution.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Riveros’ HU-GO project is that he has made it with the hopes that it will eventually reach people who are not only disabled physically, but are marginalized within their societies, and even within the world. That is, the design for the 3D printed wheelchair came from a desire to help and provide necessary assistive technology to those who need it, regardless of their wealth or social standing. As he expresses on his Thingiverse page, “I strongly believe that everyone in the world deserves to be able to move about and a wheelchair should not be a luxury item for the few/well off. It should be a tool that anyone should have access to use.”

As Riveros continues to work on his project and is gladly accepting input on his work, there are sure to be updates on HU-GO in the near future. Riveros’ own passion and dedication to the project, which come through in his Thingiverse page, are inspiring to us and we are sure this ambitious project is just the starting point for him.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Dr. Will wrote at 11/24/2015 8:03:20 PM:

Foldable? I mean collapsible

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