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Designing Adaptive Skis for Individuals with Disabilities Utilizing 3D Printing

September 2019 Hacker of the Month Oliver Vaughan-Jones is a design engineer working to create an adaptive sit-ski for folks with disabilities.

Posted on August 27, 2019


Chris Morgan

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 expertise early on, Oliver was already conversant in 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 obsessed with snow sports activities.

Throughout his third 12 months, the scholars had been tasked with making use of for jobs that had been related to their diploma programs. Right here, Oliver landed a chance 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 spread of 3D printers and stereolithography to create revolutionary idea razors. In actual fact, again in 2008, the analysis lab already had a division of 4 or 5 employees 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 turned extraordinarily unwell 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 nearly 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 system for individuals who can’t stand, however nonetheless have upper-torso mobility, that may allow them to shred on the slopes once more.

As soon as he began, he found that a lot of the present tools is extraordinarily cumbersome and prohibitively costly in lots of circumstances. He felt that he may do a greater job at designing a lighter, extra inexpensive 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, largely from his mattress. Oliver began with sketches to idea his design and rapidly made life-size fashions for cardboard cutout fabricating. On the similar time, he took to YouTube to learn to use Fusion 360 so he may begin to 3D print his cardboard ideas. Oliver’s fundamental design objectives are to develop a platform that has a extra user-friendly worth level, is extra adaptive to extra customers, in addition to extra light-weight from a supplies standpoint.

Oliver explains, “There are numerous concerns; 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 rapidly to see if the mechanics work and, extra importantly, the ergonomics. For instance, some folks is likely to be lacking limbs or have constructions like prosthetics that have to be accommodated. Dexterity is one other main consideration; poor gripping energy is a matter for me and I would like to incorporate buttons or straps which can be simple to find and use. Like all design work, it’s juggling many components 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 journey on! I’m outpriced to purchase a ski outright and leases will not be attainable. It is a ardour mission for me and I can’t wait to journey this winter!”

Sketch showing leg-brace details of the sit-ski

Sketch displaying leg-brace particulars of the sit-ski

Oliver is at present working with a Creality CR10S Professional and a Flashforge Dreamer to create his 3D prototypes. Oliver gained priceless perception into the whole lot from mattress leveling, altering the belts, the nozzle, the hotend and lots of different aspects of 3D printing utilizing the CR10S. Nevertheless, his favourite printer is the Flashforge Dreamer, because it has been extremely in line with nearly 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 consists of a wide array of appropriate 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 come back down in worth to make extra advanced functions out there and inexpensive for everybody. “I’m effectively 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 way more of an artwork kind fairly than a science to me. I think about home printers of the long run to take over the laborious duties of correct automated self-leveling, nozzle cleansing and to have higher sensors so when issues begin to go unsuitable, they’ll self-regulate. I feel we’re going to see bigger print volumes come onto the market imminently and having simply been despatched a pattern from a metallic 3D printer, I can see the long run in a number of materials printing with completely 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 probably be some type of printed circuitry which will probably 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 probably the most rugged sit-ski in the marketplace!

In case you’re serious about studying extra about Oliver and his tasks and work, you’ll be able to go to the next web sites:

For Oliver’s paintings: https://www.ovjart.com/

To go to Oliver’s YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLK4iUyxNVlXgQ7hAXCxA_w

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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