FiGo - Dog Wheelchair

by Rickee, published

FiGo - Dog Wheelchair by Rickee Oct 27, 2015

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** FiGO has been updated and published here http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1397964

Wheelchairs for domestic animals are very expensive and often inaccessible to many pet owners. This is not always the most welcoming solution for individuals who need a pet wheelchair for their animals at short notice, on a budget, at a remote location, or perhaps for temporary purposes. This project empowers individuals to build their pet’s wheelchair with the combination of digital fabrication (3D printing) and traditional making. This device uses parametrically designed 3D printed joint pieces that fit into acrylic tubing, which can be easily customized to the dog for both fit and style purposes. This is currently my second prototype. I redesigned the pieces in this second prototype to be more geometric so that they are much easier to print.

I wanted to make sure that all materials used in the fabrication of this chair would be widely accessible to anyone regardless of your location. The wheelchair consists of roller blade wheels, standard skate bearings, screws, acrylic tubing, straps, and 3D printed joint pieces.

The wheelchair project started as a design for Anne Murray, a 7 year old French Bulldog. I made sure that the wheelchair accurately reflected her personality as described by her very caring owner Martha J. I printed it in bright purple and included glitter in the clear acrylic tubing used to frame the design.

Print Settings






.20 to .30




Print 2x of each piece (A,B,C,D,E)

if you want to print the pieces with the exact outer diameter of the acrylic tubing (0.75") I have suggested, I have made those pieces available as well ie. "pieceA_exact.stl". Since there is some slight warping that occurs while printing, you may be more comfortable printing in the adjusted size that is slightly larger to accommodate the acrylic tubing with more ease "pieceA_adjusted.stl. Just make sure to choose one format and remain consistent with all pieces.

With exact sizes, you will likely need a heat gun to heat up the piece and then quickly insert it into the tube. This will fuse the two pieces together. With adjusted sizes, you might want to use glue (gorilla glue works well) to ensure the tubes will not be loose. This may not be an issue if you have a dog that weighs less than 10 pounds. My client was a 30 pound Frenchie!


Assembling the Dog Wheelchair

I used 0.75" inner diameter acrylic tubing to make the frame for the dog wheelchair. These 3D printed parts simply support this structure. The length of each tube will depend on your dog's width and height.

There are three different lengths of acrylic (or aluminum) tubing needed:

2x Acrylic tube the same as your dog's width.
2x Acrylic tube the height of your dog minus the radius of your chosen wheel, minus 1"
2x Acrylic tube the length of your dog from their belly to their tail, minus 2"

I have created a simple google spreadsheet that does these calculations for you as you input your dogs measurements. I am working on a web application that has this function, but this will do for the meantime! https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1OUDn9DBQ-ixo-nfdue-AFACkzlDrC4GsDhREl2hxNsc/edit?usp=sharing

I also purchased two roller blade wheels and two standard skate bearings (the wheels pictured below were part of prototype #1, see photos above for new wheels). In order to support the wheels I used two screws [(1/4 - 20) x 3"] fastened with a nut to the bearing and acorn nut to the 3D printed piece E.

Finally I purchased one strap from my local hardware store that is placed into piece D to support where the back legs (flanks) meet the body of the dog. I also purchased two velcro straps that feed through piece C to attach directly to your dog's existing harness. I am still working on a way to improve the connection of the piece to the harness!

Assembly diagram

Acrylic tubing

How I Designed This

I designed this wheelchair using OpenSCAD so that the models can be adjusted to the size of tubing you have access to. I'm still currently working on this document (it is rather messy and needs to be polished) but I will make it accessible to everyone once it is prepared. This way you don't have to use 0.75" inner diameter acrylic tubing exclusively (even though I have tested many sizes and concluded that it is the best size for strength/weight ratio).

I am still heavily prototyping this design. I welcome all of your comments and suggestions! Thanks!!

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i have a kitten, that we had to remove his hind legs because of a birth defect. he also missing a part of his hip where he should have a tail... i like this. since my kitten in diapers, i like the bag effect. how do i show my husband the files for the parts. he wants to use carbon fiber and model air plane parts to build?

Hi there!

I've actually updated this project, and it now lives at this link: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1397964. I wrote a detailed step by step tutorial on the entire project, but if you have any other questions after taking a look please send them my way!

Hope your kitten is doing well. I agree that the bag idea sounds the best for your case.

FiGO | Rear Support Pet Wheelchair
by Rickee

Hi can i download it and help dogs which has difficulty walking? I have seen the dog owners community and i soon knew the dog's wheelchair costs 200bucks..and i thought this can help them.As it is cheaper. I tried to build it but the modeling was too hard for me..

Please check the updated version of this project: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1397964. I wrote a step-by-step tutorial that should make building this project easy as pie :).

FiGO | Rear Support Pet Wheelchair
by Rickee

Can it take pvc pipe?

Yes absolutely, as long as you scale the 3D printed parts appropriately!

Hey could you tell me where you got those original larger wheels? The ones in the first picture.

Hey! I just found them at a local hardware store. They don't have an online store and unfortunately closed down recently :(. I suggest searching amazon for a 9'' wheel like this one: http://www.amazon.com/Apex-Shopping-Rubber-9-25mm-Capacity/dp/B008D4REH2/ref=sr_1_25?ie=UTF8&qid=1459958788&sr=8-25&keywords=9%27%27+wheels.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for designing this and you are an awesome person. I have a 12 year old Bassett Hound who are prone to back problems. Out of nowhere yesterday, her back legs went limp and she could no longer use her back legs. After the visit to the emergency vet, they said it could be a ruptured disc. My option was to either put her into emergency surgery for $4000, or go home and crate rest her, carrying her out to use the bathroom by hand, while using a blanket slung beneath her back legs to use the bathroom. This could be for anywhere from 6-8 weeks, to 6 months, to maybe never a full recovery. I've been doing the sling thing for just one day, while I've been 3D printing out the parts and sourcing the wheels and acrylic tubing, and my arms are killing me from how heavy my Bassett is (prob 40 lbs). I have to say your design is brilliant and I can't wait to get mine built for my baby. I will take pics and report back, but just wanted to say I can already tell this is going to help her get around so good, and great call on the rollerblade wheels, those are gonna be butter smooth!

Also, thank you for the spreadsheet, so smart of you. I am so grateful.

Hi! This is super awesome :). I'm actually going to be publishing updated parts tomorrow! I mostly just updated the way straps are secured to the chair. The rest is the same :). I will let you know once it's online. You may need to be a little creative when it comes to strapping your pup in, just due to her weight (the max I've had experience with was 30 pounds so far). Can't wait to see your pics!!!

Thank you! I am a quadcopter/rc enthusiast, so my second mod was going to be to try and use carbon fiber tubing to lighten up and add extra rigidity to the rig. I don't doubt arcylic tubing is just as rigid, but I like lightweight stuff if my dog is gonna have to drag it around with her. I also understand you suggest acrylic tube for the ease of acquiring vs carbon fiber tubing, as well as the speed of acquiring plastic tubing and being able to cut it, vs carbon tubing which is not a DIY cut kind of thing. I'm looking forward to the updated parts. I had a problem with the two part A's not being perfect (i'm a perfectionist, and my pup deserves to look her best when in this), so I was going to do a second print tonight. I'll hold off until you post those new pieces. Thanks again Rickee.

Thanks for your comments! You'll have no trouble with this project I think :). Here's the updated project! I decided to publish it separately to be able to compare the two more easily.


FiGO | Rear Support Pet Wheelchair
by Rickee

Thank you
My pug is 13 years old and he has back-left leg problem. I would love to build this by 3/4" pvc and see how my dog can be trained or not.

For sure! I'm actually updating this design in a week or two, depending on how much time I can spend on getting it ready to be published. Thanks for your comment, and keep in touch with your progress! I think I will add some tips for training your dog to use the chair.

Comments deleted.

Could you be a little more clear on the dog measurements for the spreadsheet? Height is top of the dogs body to the floor? Length starts where? "Belly" is a little vague for me.

Cool design!

Great point! I will be working on a diagram that helps people properly measure their dog.

Height is the top of the dog's body to floor, not counting their head (so, starting from their neck down).

Length is their front chest (prosternum) up to their tail

Thanks for your comment.

we need a 'super like' button here!!

lol you just might hqve take my future job as a biomedical engeneer away. wow that actuly is funny. i love it

Thank you for taking the time to design this - you have a heart of gold.

I love this design Idea! Things that are beneficial in these wonderful ways are what really makes it feel worth it!

In my case though my basset hound had one his front legs shot at by an angry neighbor (not sure what justifies shooting a dog..) So I have been looking for solutions for him for quite awhile! He mainly just scoots around on his chest and pushes with his back legs, which must be a sick twist of ironic fate since his name is scooter :/ but I was wondering if this design could be used on front legs in some sort of configuration as well?

Hey! What happened to your dog was awful. I'm definitely looking into the possibility of adapting the design to support front legs. It's one of the reasons why I went with a modular design (so that it can be rejigged for a variety of situations). Let me know if you play around with the idea. I'm definitely thinking about how the design can be adapted for front legs as well. I'm working on implementing this project into Customizer and this may be an option I look to add. Keep in touch!

Currently I am hoping build my dog a wheelchair as he was diagnosed with a progresive condition which will rob him the use of this back legs. Your chair looks a lot easier to make that the one I was thinking about making. I am using PVC piping to make it. I am building a 3d printer at the moment. I need to get the magazine about building it. Please can I have use of your spreadsheet please as it would make easier to make. I have a large German Shepherd.

Hi there. The spreadsheet is non editable just because if I openly share that, people can mess with it and ruin the experience for others. However, you should be able to go to File -> Make A Copy, and then use the spreadsheet to your hearts desire! Let me know if this works for you, and if not I will send you the file personally. :)

Good luck with building your chair. I'm going to be working on one for a large retired police dog myself. Should be some interesting challenges associated to the size of the dog. I'm only used to working with medium to small sized ones! Please keep me posted with your progress!

Nice!!! What about the wheels? Maybe you can create the wheels that are printable?

That's definitely an option! I figured it took enough time to print all of the parts, so I am currently just using rollerblade wheels since they are widely accessible in many stores. 3D printable wheels could be beneficial if you are in a remote location though. Maybe I will peruse Thingiverse to find some compatible projects :). Thanks for your input!

Thanks for sharing this. This is the perfect example of how 3D-printing can make a lot of items more accessible to a lot of people. Will build one of these sized for my pitbull (she's 12 now so might need it in the future) and build another one to lend out to people who are in need of it. Did you consider making a spreadsheet to calculate correct pipe lengths, depending on dog length, height and width? If not, I will do this and share it. Will take some weeks until I have time though.

Thanks again!

Thanks for your wonderful comment! Please send me photos of your chairs :). I think a spreadsheet idea is great. I'll make one soon! I'm in the process of building a simple web application to do this (attached with my OpenSCAD models so that the inner diameter of the pieces can be adjusted to the selected tube diameter), but in the meantime I think a spreadsheet is the way to go.

Really nice idea (website & project) !
I'm a beginner in 3d modelisation but I found this thing is awesome ! I don't need it because I don't have a dog but I really like this type of things : Really Usefull and OK for low budgets :)

Thank's for sharing that, I think you'll make some people happy :)

Awesome! if there is anything I can do to help with this project, let me know!

I suggest you replace the acrylic with PETG tubing. Search my handle: DarthBeavis and you will see i have some experience with acrylic tubing for watercooling gaming rigs. BTW: My wife is a vet who owns her own practice. I will modify and use your designs for low-cost solutions and hope to do for charity as well.

Thanks for the great design!!!!

Thanks for your material suggestion! I'm going to look into it. Really looking forward to hearing about your future projects with this design!