We all want our dogs to have the best life possible and often go to great lengths to ensure their happiness, comfort, and safety. This endeavor is more crucial when the dog has a disability, which is why the FiGo is such an exciting discovery. FiGo is one of the coolest wheelchairs we’ve seen for dogs who have difficulty walking. It isn’t a retail product that you purchase from a company, but instead is a set of 3D printing and building instructions that dog owners can download and use for free.
The wheelchair was conceived by Canadian digital media artist Rickee, who designed the first chair for a seven-year-old French bulldog named Anne Murray. The dog’s owner, Martha J, wanted a chair to reflect the dog’s personality so she turned to Rickee, who used 3D printing and traditional materials to fulfill this requirement. To best match Anne Murray’s personality, the chair was 3D printed using bright purple connectors, and assembled using a frame of acrylic tubes filled with glitter.
When designing FiGo, Rickee selected material that anyone would be able to purchase from a nearby hardware or sporting goods store. The customizable chair uses a combination of 3D-printed parts and traditional materials to keep the wheelchair affordable for dog owners on a budget. It uses five pairs of 3D-printable pieces, a set of roller blade wheels, a pair of skate bearings, acrylic tubes for the frame, straps to hold the frame to the dog and a few screws to attach the wheels. Though originally designed for a small dog, the frame and materials can be adapted to fit any size dog using the calculations provided by Rickee on a Google Docs spreadsheet.
Rickee is now working on the second prototype of the wheelchair, which features 3D-printed connectors that are more geometric in shape and much easier to print. All the designs were done using OpenSCAD and will be available soon to the public. It is Rickee’s hope that the FiGo project will move beyond it original purpose of supplying a fashionable wheelchair for a bulldog to something that any dog owner can use to build a wheelchair if and when it may be needed.