Puppy cart prototype 1

by caser Apr 21, 2013
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This has inspired me to get a Makerbot. My dog has paralyzed legs from IVDD, and she is outgrowing her present cart. When I get one I will definitely try improving on this design.

I actually have a real puppy cart. I'll see if I can draft it with Netfabb and put it online for you guys.... However, I must warn you that you do need a veterinarian to fit it. I tried to fit my puppy cart myself unsuccessfully and ended up driving 3000 miles to have a vet who knows how to do it fit it for me. There are only 2 vets in the USA that does this kinda thing. I went to K-9 Cart Company East. I suggest that you buy from him instead of making your own.

Eddy's Wheels ( http://eddieswheels.comeddieswheels.com ) makes permanent metal carts, and various vets in the Northeast will do fittings.

P.S. My inspiration for trying to do this myself in the first place came from "The Rolling Dog Project" (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=353360618096243&set=pb.313172958781676.-2207520000.1366578505.&type=3&theater)https://www.facebook.com/photo... who designs carts for dogs out of PVC pipe. I may end up using his design, but since these puppies are so little, and since I'm learning 3D design anyway, I thought I'd give this a try.

Obviously, if we had unlimited funding, the rescue organization I work with would certainly be seeking world-class veterinary care for these pups and purchase top quality carts for them. In reality, we have very limited funds and do the very best we can for the dogs we rescue until they can be adopted, hopefully by someone who will spare no expense for their care.

In the mean time, I'm trying to design something at a low cost that will serve these puppies as they grow, so they can play and learn and enjoy life as normally as possible while they live in their foster homes, waiting to be adopted. We will certainly consult the vet who treats them. As I mentioned to Josh below, I'm planning to use a standard comfort harness that will be adjustable to fit the dog comfortably, and the puppies will never use this without supervision, because you never know what kind of problems little puppies can get themselves into.

Of course, this material and design may end up not working at all. It's all experimental!

A few suggestions: FreeCAD is ideally suited to this sort of thing. It's more powerful than sketchup, but also has a pretty steep learning curve. Also I would suggest you print the elements that support the dog and use steel rods for the side rails. I will see if I can find a model that illustrates what I mean. I would be happy to help out, but honestly have very little time to offer.

Here is a pic of a commercially avaiable one. http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41aJ5alO7cL.jpghttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/i... You can see the design uses steel rods in going to through a rectangular block that can slide in and out to size to the dog. What I'm trying to say is print the block and the back end, but use rod from the hardware store to give you adjust-ability. Smooth rod would be better for the dog but thread rod would be much less complicated because you could clamp it down with nuts and washers. Also curves are going to give you better structural support than right angles.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll give FreeCAD a shot. I've been using SketchUp precisely to get around that learning curve, but I think I'm ready to graduate, because I'm definitely running into the limitations.

To support the dog, I'm planning on incorporating a commercially made, cushioned harness, which can be adjusted to fit the dog comfortably. Still refining how exactly to attach it. I imagine I'm going to go through a lot of different drafts, and may end up doing something with steel rods as you suggested, but I do want the cart to be fairly light (and cheap) since it will be used by a puppy who will probably only be using it temporarily.

I love cats but dogs (specially puppies) are OK too! It's nice what you're doing.

I'm still a complete newbie with 3D printing but I'm pretty experienced with FreeCAD and CAD in general. If you do give FreeCAD a shot, don't hesitate to ask me questions, or register to the FreeCAD forum (my nick there is normandc). I know it can be intimidating at first.

Sketchup is good for getting your feet wet, but in my opinion it's better suited for building a shed than designing stuff for a 3d printer. A CAD program is what you want for precision parts that will be fitting together (meanwhile Blender is best for sculptures and organic shapes).

Thread rod shouldn't add too much to the budget or weight as long as you stick with 5/16" diameter. That should be plenty rigid for a puppy. Go check out the display at your local big box hardware store. They have hollow tubes and aluminum rods too that might give you some inspiration.