Nov 10, 2017 | By Benedict

A team of around 30 high school roboticists from Ra’anana in Israel has developed a 3D printed Electric Wheelchair Kit that transforms an ordinary wheelchair into a motorized one. The free-to-download 3D printed tool could save wheelchair users around $2,000.

3D printing is used on a daily basis to make life easier for the disabled community—whether that’s via 3D printed prostheses, 3D printed aids for the blind and visually impaired, or something else altogether.

A new addition to this category of incredibly useful 3D printed tools is a 3D printed wheelchair device that serves to motorize a regular, non-motorized chair. It’s free to download, entirely open source. With electronic motorized wheelchairs often retailing for around $2,500, and ordinary push wheelchairs costing around $500, it could save wheelchair users up to $2,000. It can even be used on simple rented wheelchairs used for temporary injuries.

Devised by Aviv High School's FRC Team 1577, a school club that has existed since 2005, the 3D printed wheelchair accessory was developed as part of the team’s participation in the global FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC).

But the clever 3D printed tool is hopefully going to reach many people beyond the confines of that contest.

“Our idea was to release it on an open-source platform to nearly 7,000 FRC teams in the world who can become a hub for making these kits,” said Roee Bar-Yadin of FRC Team 1577.

The best part, however, is that people around the world looking to 3D print the device don’t need much experience in 3D printing or electronics.

That’s because there are no specialist parts or processes to the design.

“We have already been contacted by several people who are interested,” said team member Yuval Dascalu. “We encourage people to improve on our design in any way they see fit or at least spread the word to other teams.”

But while the FIRST Robotics Competition helped bring the project to fruition, it’s actually been gestating in the back of the students’ minds for about five years. It’s just that they didn’t have the tools or resources to realize their idea until now.

A school workshop allowed the robotics team to hone their electronics and engineering skills to create the 3D printed wheelchair tool, much of which was 3D printed using Apex PLA++ by Breathe-3DP on a Printrbot Play 3D printer, a compact FDM machine.

It wasn’t just school equipment that helped the team realize its design though. Inspired by the students’ ambition, the municipality of Ra’anana provided financial support to the group so they could bring their creation to the highest standard.

Ultimately, FRC Team 1577 thinks its hard work will benefit those who need it most.

“We wanted to help our communities and thought this would be a good way to do it,” Bar-Yadin said.

More information and downloadable 3D printed parts can be found here.

Electric Wheelchair Kit components:

  • 3D printed parts
  • Arduino Uno
  • Sparkfun analog Joystick (COM-09032)
  • 2x Spark Motor controllers by Rev Robotics (REV-11-1200)
  • 2x Window motors - Regulation FRC Window Motor and Transmission
  • 12 Volt Battery - Regulation FRC Battery (am-3062)
  • 120 Amp Circuit breaker - Regulation FRC Circuit breaker
  • 2x 4” Friction Wheel



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Yuval Dascalu wrote at 11/11/2017 5:10:08 PM:

Thank you very much for spreading the word!

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