Help to Design a 3D Printed Solution for Cath

Hello everyone! Today we’d like to introduce you to a friend of ours called Cath Nicholson, who has set the PrintLab community some design challenges to help her in her day-to-day life!

Make:able Champion, Cath, sat on a grey chair with her dog Sammy on her lap.

29th November 2023 Make:able

About Cath

Cath is 76 and lives on a narrow boat next to PrintLab’s Lead Designer, Rob. She has osteoarthritis in her knees and hands but is determined to keep as active and creative as possible. Although Cath walks 10,000 steps a day, does pilates, yoga and swimming, there are certain challenges she faces due to her arthritis. And after spending time with Cath, Rob saw the perfect opportunity to invite her to be part of the Make:able Challenge!


About Make:able

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Make:able, it is a yearly (and free!) assistive technology challenge for students, makers, professionals and anyone with an interest in design for disability. The brief is to ‘Design and make a 3D printed product or prototype that improves the day-to-day life of someone with a disability or the elderly’ and to share your story in a video submission for the chance to win amazing prizes.

Many Make:able participants design solutions for people in their local community but we know that finding an end user isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Therefore, we collaborate with people (Cath being one of them) to become Make:able Champions. Each Champion has a profile within the challenge toolkit that provides an overview of their life and the challenges they face. Participants can then opt to design a solution for them.


Cath’s Challenges

Rob spent the day with Cath and performed interviews and observations. He took a holistic approach and looked closely at Cath’s daily routine to identify challenges that could potentially be solved with 3D printing. After a process of documentation, analysis and discussion, we concluded that challenges based on the below topics were the most desirable and feasible.

  • Accessing the boat safely without pain
  • Getting in and out of bed
  • Standing from various positions on the boat
Make:able Champion, Cath, stepping down into her narrow boat.
A bed on a narrow boat with a bright yellow coloured floral wallpaper background.
Make:able Champion, Cath, knelt on her kitchen floor, holding the kitchen units to stand up.

Get Involved

So how can you help?

To start, simply visit the Make:able Challenge platform and sign up for free. Once registered, you’ll unlock the comprehensive challenge toolkit. This toolkit guides you through each step of the design process, offering insights from industry inspiration to 3D design tutorials and design thinking methods. Additionally, you can explore Cath’s profile within the toolkit to delve deeper into her challenge.

While Make:able is more than just a competition, we are also offering prizes for the winning solutions. Details on this can be found in the challenge toolkit, and the submission deadline is set for May 1, 2024.

We hope you enjoyed learning more about Cath and we hope you get chance to join Make:able. To wrap up, we invite you to watch Cath’s profile video below.

Lastly, a heartfelt thank you to Cath for being a valuable part of Make:able and for sharing her inspiring story with us!