Designing Adaptive Skis for Individuals with Disabilities Utilizing 3D Printing


Our September Hacker of the Month, Oliver Vaughan-Jones, is an out of doors, snow-sports fanatic that comes from a design engineering background in central Wales. 

Oliver began his journey into 3D printing early – his father was a dentist who used 3D design and printing to recreate jaws and dental molds for his apply. Seeing the advantages of the know-how early on, Oliver was already acquainted with the ideas and functions of 3D printing when he enrolled in Brunel College in 2008 to check design engineering. Oliver additionally labored as a snowboard teacher and was very enthusiastic about snow sports activities.

Throughout his third 12 months, the scholars have been tasked with making use of for jobs that have been related to their diploma programs. Right here, Oliver landed a possibility working with Gillette’s analysis laboratory close to London.

Some of Oliver's sketched designs for the sit-ski

A few of Oliver’s sketched designs for the sit-ski

Oliver explains, “It was there, as idea engineers, we got here up with concepts, designs after which used a variety of 3D printers and stereolithography to create modern idea razors. The truth is, again in 2008, the analysis lab already had a division of 4 or 5 workers devoted solely to taking the CAD information from the designers and making their prints for them – what luxurious!”

However throughout his time at Gillette, Oliver grew to become extraordinarily sick and was recognized with myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), a neurological spectrum situation that may have an effect on folks to various levels. Oliver was hit extraordinarily onerous by the situation, and he has spent the final eleven years bed-bound virtually 90% of the time, and he typically has difficulties with pondering and focus. However Oliver is greater than his situation – beneath the whole lot, he’s nonetheless a design engineer and a snow-sports fanatic at coronary heart, and he’s on a mission to make hitting the slopes a actuality for others who share his love of the mountains.

Cardboard mock-ups of some sit-ski parts

Cardboard mock-ups of some sit-ski components

Decided to make a distinction for himself and others, Oliver began portray in 2017 to lift consciousness of ME in addition to funds – 20% of the gross sales of his work go to analysis right into a remedy for myalgic encephalomyelitis. As soon as his paintings gained some traction, he was in a position to transfer ahead along with his subsequent purpose: designing and making a sit-ski; an adaptive machine for many who can’t stand, however nonetheless have upper-torso mobility, that can allow them to shred on the slopes once more.

As soon as he began, he found that many of the present gear is extraordinarily cumbersome and prohibitively costly in lots of instances. He felt that he might do a greater job at designing a lighter, extra reasonably priced sit-ski regardless of his situation.

A gallery of Oliver's art to raise awareness for ME

A gallery of Oliver’s artwork to lift consciousness for ME

So for the final eight months, Oliver has been designing an adaptive sit-ski from scratch, principally from his mattress. Oliver began with sketches to idea his design and shortly made life-size fashions for cardboard cutout fabricating. On the similar time, he took to YouTube to learn to use Fusion 360 so he might begin to 3D print his cardboard ideas. Oliver’s principal design targets are to develop a platform that has a extra user-friendly value level, is extra adaptive to extra customers, in addition to extra light-weight from a supplies standpoint.

Oliver explains, “There are lots of issues; rider weight, rider skill-level, ski-lift entry, materials picks, materials thicknesses, and shock absorbers to call a couple of. The 3D printing is permitting me to mannequin my concepts up shortly to see if the mechanics work and, extra importantly, the ergonomics. For instance, some folks is perhaps lacking limbs or have constructions like prosthetics that must be accommodated. Dexterity is one other main consideration; poor gripping energy is a matter for me and I want to incorporate buttons or straps which can be simple to find and use. Like all design work, it’s juggling many parts on the similar time and making an attempt to deliver it in below funds. I’ve already modeled a full-scale prototype and I’m aiming for a completely purposeful prototype by November. Nevertheless, the straightforward purpose is to have one thing I can experience on! I’m outpriced to purchase a ski outright and leases should not doable. This can be a ardour challenge for me and I can’t wait to experience this winter!”

Sketch showing leg-brace details of the sit-ski

Sketch exhibiting leg-brace particulars of the sit-ski

Oliver is presently working with a Creality CR10S Professional and a Flashforge Dreamer to create his 3D prototypes. Oliver gained worthwhile perception into the whole lot from mattress leveling, altering the belts, the nozzle, the hotend and lots of different sides of 3D printing utilizing the CR10S. Nevertheless, his favourite printer is the Flashforge Dreamer, because it has been extremely according to virtually each materials he’s thrown at it from PLA to ABS and nylon. He additionally makes use of simplify3D as his slicer because it offers nice management over slice settings and contains a big selection of suitable printer profiles. Proper now, he’s trying to find a secure 3D printer with a bigger mattress to accommodate the bigger print quantity he’ll want for a few of his prototype components. His overarching purpose, as soon as his prototypes have been examined, is to manufacture usable components with NylonX for excessive energy and sturdiness.

A traditional sit-ski in action

A conventional sit-ski in motion

Like all designers, Oliver hopes that 3D printers and supplies will proceed to return down in value to make extra advanced functions accessible and reasonably priced for everybody. “I’m nicely conscious of how very new I’m to 3D printing and I don’t have nice data or expertise in it past the home sub-$1000 vary so far as equipment goes. It does nonetheless really feel like rather more of an artwork kind reasonably than a science to me. I think about home printers of the longer term to take over the laborious duties of correct automated self-leveling, nozzle cleansing and to have higher sensors so when issues begin to go improper, they will self-regulate. I believe we’re going to see bigger print volumes come onto the market imminently and having simply been despatched a pattern from a steel 3D printer, I can see the longer term in a number of materials printing with totally different supplies being printed inside one print (complexities like shrinkage charges for every materials calculated beforehand). Past that, I think about one of many subsequent main leaps will likely be some kind of printed circuitry which will likely be integral as a part of the design.”

We’re extraordinarily excited to see the finished sit-ski that Oliver is designing, and we hope that using NylonX within the design makes it essentially the most rugged sit-ski available on the market!

For those who’re fascinated about studying extra about Oliver and his initiatives and work, you may go to the next web sites:

For Oliver’s paintings:

To go to Oliver’s YouTube channel:

Oliver hard at work on his fabrication of the sit-ski

Oliver onerous at work on his fabrication of the sit-ski


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