Kayaking is something I’ve never tried before. I have a few relatives who are pretty serious about it as a sport, but I’ve only ever gone canoeing, and that usually involves bumping into rocks and somehow getting turned completely backwards. I believe that kayaking, for me, would be an exercise in going in circles. I do know, however, from talking to people who do it regularly, that kayaking is a workout that engages the entire body, and can be a meditative experience as well. It’s a skill that takes practice, but, I’m told, is an incredibly rewarding one.
Designer and Thingiverse user Walter Hsiao is a huge fan of kayaking, and has been working on creating assistive devices to make it more accessible to people with disabilities. Currently, he is working on a series of 3D printed assistive paddling grips for kayakers with disabilities, to allow them more control and better grip. Hsiao describes the assistive grips as a work in progress, and has printed several versions so far, using one-inch webbing and Velcro One-Wrap ties to secure them. Eventually he hopes to use ties that can be more easily tightened or integrated into gloves. He hasn’t perfected the design yet, but he is experimenting.
“These are a continuing work in progress and none of these work as well as I would like,” says Hsiao. “Some of the designs may be effective for casual paddling but I don’t think they’re adequate for open ocean kayaking.”
The paddling grip design is not Hsiao’s first venture into the creation of assistive devices. In September, he participated in the Bay Area Makeathon, which placed its focus this year on the invention of devices to help people with disabilities. Hsiao’s team worked on a project that endeavored to adapt a kayak and paddle for use by a quadriplegic.
He has worked with Environmental Traveling Companions, an organization that makes outdoor sports and travel accessible to disadvantaged youth and people with disabilities. His website, where he shares his experiments and experiences with 3D printing, is full of designs he has created to complement his passion for backpacking and other outdoor sports.Hsiao’s first iterations of the assistive paddling grip designs were printed on a RigidBot printer, which he used for all of his designs until he built his own Eustathios printer. He has been using PETG filament for the grips, and advises that they may not work with other types of filaments. Each was designed to fit Werner carbon shaft paddles.
The files can be downloaded from Thingiverse, and the original files are also available on Onshape. Although Hsiao isn’t yet satisfied with his paddling grip design, he certainly seems to have the knowledge, determination and skill to perfect it before long.
What are your thoughts on yet another creative way for 3D printing to help the disabled? Let us know in the 3D Printed Assistive Paddle Grip forum thread on 3DPB.com.
You May Also Like
In-Q-Tel and 3D Printing, Part 1: What’s In-Q-Tel?
So far, a venture capital company called In-Q-Tel has invested in three startups within the 3D printing and scanning space: Voxel8, Arevo, and Fuel3D. If you don’t recognize the name...
Arevo to Supply Aqua 3D Printing Platform & Composites to Japan’s AGC, Inc.
Silicon Valley’s AREVO and AGC, Inc., headquartered in Tokyo, have recently announced a dynamic partnership, benefitting both companies in manufacturing endeavors. AGC will be the first company to install AREVO’s industrial...
AREVO Partners With Franco Bicycles to Make 3D Printed Carbon Fiber Frames
AREVO is a Khosla backed, well funded, startup that uses a six-axis robot arm to extrude composites for manufacturing. The company has since inception spoken of breakthrough materials and applications such as carbon...
AREVO Advances in 3D Printing with New CEO, Series B Funding, 3D Printed Bike
AREVO has always been a company that thinks outside the box. The startup, based in Silicon Valley, is known for its six-axis robotic additive manufacturing platform for the creation of composite...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.