Living down in Sunny Florida, it isn’t often that I get to see snow anymore. Growing up in New Jersey, I pretty much grew tired of the cold, wet, and dreary winters. But I must admit, I do miss the snow. No, not shoveling it or scraping it off of my windshield, but building snowmen, having snowball fights, and sledding down steep hills are memories that I will always cherish. Myself, and my friends back home, share some tremendous sledding memories. There were times when I had so much fun I forgot that I was soaking wet and freezing my butt off in 17 degree weather.
The sled that I had as a child was one of those old wooden masterpieces which my father had restored. Today’s sleds are much more advanced, engineered to travel faster, turn quicker and stop sooner (when needed). This allows kids today to have even more fun than I did as a child, if that is even possible.
Two years ago, one man named Steve Wood, was faced with coming up with a solution to his child’s broken sled, after learning of an impending snowstorm. Wood, who we have covered in the past for his unique designs, which range from 3D printed flexible prosthetic hands to 3D printed insoles, came up with quite an original way of replacing this broken sled.
“My child’s sledge (sled) was broken from the year before, so we were looking to purchase a new one because my printer certainly wasn’t large enough to print one of those,” Wood tells 3DPrint.com. “Whilst we were in the shop looking around, we saw some really small snowboard style sledges, and at first I thought it would be a great idea to attach them to a bicycle, before quickly realising it would be stupid and dangerous. The shop we were in sold all sorts of toys, so right next to the winter equipment and cycles were scooters, then the penny dropped. I still bought a sledge but quickly went home to design something for my lads existing scooter.”
What he came up with was a Snow Scooter Shoe, which could be inserted in place of traditional scooter wheels, creating quite an amazing little scooter sled. In order to fabricate his creation, Wood took the wheels off his child’s scooter, measured the holes and the spacing required, and then designed the relevant sled attachments to replace the original wheels.
“I was trying to use every mm of my print bed on my Orca printer at the time,” Wood tells us. “One of the considerations was the ability to steer, so I designed a twin hull style sled where there are two parallel tracks underneath to cut into the snow and provide some sideways stability, especially when turning. The unfortunate downside to this is that it will need to be printed with support for the area between the tracks. The sleds also should be free to pivot backwards and forwards to travel over uneven snow or ice.”
The end result turned out better than expected. The scooter moved tremendously through the snow, especially on harder, more compact areas. Wood received plenty of compliments from onlookers and friends, and his child got a kick out of being the only one in his town with a “snow scooter”. In the two years since Wood initially designed his snow scooter shoe, he has seen commercial products become available, but he feels as though his contribution to the maker movement has been well appreciated.
As for the shoe itself, you can 3D print your very own via Thingiverse. Wood tells us that it should fit most makes of scooters. What do you think about this clever design? Will you be printing it this winter? Discuss in the 3D Printed Snow Scooter Shoe forum thread on 3DPB.com.