3D Printing and Solving Problems: Ruby the Kitten

Today we simply wish to share a brief story about Ruby. As well as being one of PrintLab’s biggest fans, Ruby is my new kitten and like most kittens, she is incredibly cute and fluffy. On the other hand, Ruby is not like most kittens in that she absolutely refuses to drink water out of a bowl or saucer or any other type of drinking vessel that your average household pet would normally use. That would be far too simple, no it absolutely has to be a pint glass. Not a beaker, not a wine glass and despite our patience and persistence, quite simply nothing but a pint glass will do.

22nd September 2016 News

The problem with this odd behaviour is that she is incredibly clumsy. As a kitten she is still learning basic movements and yet to formulate adequate fine motor skills or muscle memory so she continually knocks pints of water everywhere. Luckily so far the glasses have remained intact but many many areas of carpet are most likely still drying as I write this. Just the other day I was cleaning up the mess, as I do on most days when I thought to myself, why not embrace this strange behaviour and 3D print something to help her (and the carpet) with her stubborn drinking fixation. A simple 3D printed surround that keeps the glass in place and provides a platform for her to reach her beverage of choice. So I set about using free CAD software SketchUp to draw up something that could work:



My creation appeared to be a reasonable design with sufficient engineering integrity to solve this ridiculous problem. I set about slicing my design on cura (free slicing software) and given the urgency, I decided to print with Innofil3D’s new Pro1 filament. It offers the ability to print at a much higher speed whilst retaining excellent quality (for more information, check this article out).



Completed in under three hours, with much anticipation I returned home with Ruby’s newest 3D print in hand. Overall it worked, she loves it and there is now no chance of any future spillages. This for me, is as a major part of the beauty of 3D Printing. Yes you can print pre-made and readily available objects that others have designed e.g. iPhone cases. Or instead, you can get involved and learn how to use many of the free 3D printing software available to create your very own unique items. Items that give you real solutions in any aspect of your life that you feel could be improved.



A cat spilling water is of course not a major issue, but this is just one example of custom design and creation for solving problems. A better, more inspiring example would be the thousands of people around the world who are using 3D printing to create prosthetic limbs for young children. Below is a photo of an inspiring young girl called Tilly. Through the generosity of others and with the help of Open Bionics, a UK company that use 3D scanning and printing to produce custom-fitted robotic hands, Tilly now has a fully functional bionic arm. This sort of story, truly inspires us every single day in our mission to get 3D printers in to the hands of educators around the world.


Image: Open Bionics


Although Ruby’s story is distinctly less inspiring, the ideology and philosophy that we share is a simple notion to understand – We can use CAD and 3D printing to improve our lives and others around us.

In the future, we will be looking to get more involved in using 3D printing around the world to improve people’s lives and we encourage you to do the same. Below is a video of Ruby’s creation. If you want to learn more about 3D printing, get in touch today – hello@weareprintab.com.



Written by Nick Mayor, PrintLab