3D Printing

The 3D Printed Pill Coater: A Sweet Deal Between Children and Medication

The ever-expanding creation of all types of medication, while its impact on the overall health and well-being of humanity is quite unfathomable, oftentimes leaves a bitter taste on our tongue. One innovative mother, Dully Katzeff, decided to take this battle between tastebuds vs. medication into her own hands, when her son was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at an early age. Her weapon of choice? A 3D printed ‘Pill Coater’, which systematically and safely coats the most unpleasantly tasting pills in smoothly melted chocolate. Katzeff has already developed the prototype, and has recently put her project up on Kickstarter, hoping to raise around $38,000 in order to make the Pill Coater accessible to everyone. The idea itself came from her son, who, not being able to stand the taste that his medication left in his mouth, suggested to his mother that they coat his pills in chocolatey goodness.

3D printed pillcoater prototype

And so, in February 2015, Katzeff turned to 3D printing to transform her son’s idea into a reality. She built the Pill Coater prototype with the MakerBot Replicators 1 and 2 3D printers out of polypropylene (PP) filament, a thermoplastic polymer with food-grade and microwave safe properties that make it an ideal candidate for the job. The Pill Coater comes equipped with five intertwined parts, including a base for melting chocolate, storage for pre-melted chocolate, a protective pill keeper (with dividers that allow for separation different types of pills), and easy-grip lid, and a mesh screen which serves to apply the melted chocolate safely onto the pill.

Thus, Pill Coater was designed for simple, yet efficient use. First, the chocolate is melted and stirred in the base; then, the mesh screen is populated with the necessary amount of pills, which gets dipped in the chocolate base and is then happily consumed! After filing a patent (which Katzeff shares the intellectual property with her son) and finalizing the 3D printed prototype, and finding a local manufacturer, Katzeff turned to Kickstarter at the start of August to help bring the Pill Coater into the consumer market.

The Pill Coater does more than just make medication taste better; the chocolate covering also serves as a lubricant to help those who have trouble swallowing pills do so with ease, which gives an advantage to both children and older adults who experience this common issue with medication. Katzeff plans on beginning manufacturing the device at the end of September 2015, and hopes to supply and ship the Pill Coater to our doorstep around Christmas time. Her personal experience with her son’s Crohn’s disease has also influenced Katzeff to continually donate the Pill Coater to sick children and seniors who could benefit from this sweet surprise.