The “ah-ha” moment is rare and often comes after much sweat and deliberation, yet it is always sweet and savoury upon arrival. Raul Krauthausen came to his “ah-ha” moment after tinkering with his 3D printer. Admittedly, his first models reflected a growing familiarity with his system and printer — a Makerbot Replicator 2 — as he practiced with key chains and smartphone covers. Then creativity and requirement found each other in union for his next project: personal wheelchair ramps.
*Important disclaimer before continuing: this is a DIY project with no guarantee, warranty or insurance. While dimensions and mass may be listed, this is a unique project not yet standardized.*
Raul lists the qualities and improvements he wishes to see with his project. He found that a fifty dollar spool of filament material can create roughly 2 to 3 ramps and his Rep 2 churned out the ramps in about 26 hours. A rubber surface for the bottom of the ramp will improve durability and stability, and Raul advises the infill be close to 20%. The 3D model of the ramp is now available on Thingiverse. After use, Raul recommends an all-purpose grabber for easy use and practical application. Positioned correctly, the ramps provide instant access for the wheelchair for divides such as the one from street to sidewalk on display.
Often, the simple forms taken for granted can be transformed into gems of practicality and invention. In this case, the simple triangle form, when the right dimensions, becomes a vehicle for access. Need sprouted invention spurred by the ability and accessibility of 3D printing. Raul’s application defines the shape and purpose of the ramp. Thanks to tinkering and trials, he found something truly brilliant and novel with a simple form.