This is a post that I wanted to write a while back regarding the use of 3d printing for assistive devices and accessibility. I had recorded a very quick Tiktok video on my way out the door to deliver some accessible pill bottles off to a friend that had requested them. I had offered free printing for assistive devices and I thought maybe the usual 20 people would see it. I was not prepared for over 50K views, hundreds of comments and just as many saved the video for later. This kept me busy for a few weeks and now that things have bubbled down a bit, I wanted to share what I've learned from this experience.
It seems that this community of those that need assistive devices, whether it's a Parkinson's diagnosis, arthritis, or just someone that needs a little extra grip or leverage in their daily tasks, is a greatly underserved and may feel unseen. They may be folks that don't have the resources to get to a store or make an online order for what they need. I believe that we as makers can truly help a good portion of people with our extra filament and design experience.
I want to stress that there are resources in the 3d printing world. In my online travels to find files to print that may help others, I came across Makers Making Change, a funded organization that takes in requests from the public, turns those requests over to a team of volunteers who design the item, then it goes to print. The person requesting only has to pay the shipping and the materials cost. I'm not sure of the turnaround time but this organization is a wonderful resource that not enough people know about.
Some of the more popular items that were asked for were something that would help get pills from those tiny foil seals, a lever for tin cans that would hook and peel back the lid, a tab puller to help with soda type cans, and a bottle cap grip. I printed and shipped out a large volume of these devices.
If you're someone that needs an assistive device, I have some up for free and for sale in my shop. Shipping is calculated at checkout with both types of listings. If you're unable to cover the cost of shipping at this time, please reach out. I received a few small donations that may cover your costs. For those that are able to, there's a donate button at the bottom of the page.
If you're a fellow 3D printing enthusiast, all of these files are public on Cults3D, Printables, and Thingiverse and linked below. I would encourage you to ask around within your friends, family, and community to see who you could help with your extra filament.
Ring Pull Can Opener Assist: https://www.printables.com/model/338611-ring-pull-can-opener-assist-two-versions
Pill Puncher: https://www.printables.com/model/232173-pill-puncher
Soda Can Opener: https://www.printables.com/model/241003-soda-can-opener
Zipper Pull Extension: https://www.printables.com/model/291612-zipper-pull-extention
Accessible Pill Bottle: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4719834