When my wife, Rachel, got pregnant with our second child she almost immediately started becoming sick. She had been pretty sick with our first child, but this time it was worse. Rachel’s body started shutting down and for months, we had no explanation. We lost about any hope we had except for one last ditch thing that our doctor had suggested. Addison’s disease.
Addison’s disease is a bit of a unicorn in the medical field. It isn’t very common, and the medicine is cheap. Due to how uncommon the disease is and the low cost of treatment, there’s not a lot of money in helping people with Addison’s.
Recently my Rachel asked me to design a special container for an emergency dose of medicine, we call her shot kit. She came to me after she’d done hours of research to find something that she could easily carry in her purse. Frustrated, I was her last hope.
Like any good product design, we started with some requirements.
- Must be as small as possible
- Must fit 2 vials of Solu-Cortef
- Must fit 2 needles
- Must fit instructions and alcohol prep wipes
- Should fit extra pills as needed
- Should be easy to open and access contents in a high stress environment
- Should keep glass vials from bouncing around in case
Whenever I design something to be 3d printed, I try to also include these guidelines
- Minimize use of supports
- Minimize use of non-3d printed parts
- Should be easily printable on Ender 3 or similar 3d printer
The Emergency Shot Kit v1
After printing the first version, I quickly learned that it was impossible to get the vials out of their holders and that there wasn’t quite enough room for the needles
The Emergency Shot Kit v2
The next version included a hinge with holes for 6x3mm magnets to be inserted in to keep the lid closed. I enlarged the area a little for the needles, but the sterile packaging for the needles was still a little all over the place. While somewhat functional, the I still wasn’t satisfied with the design.
On TikTok, people suggested both a ribbon under the vials like what you find in battery compartments and some sort of ejection lever. This got me thinking about a lever action, lifting the vials out of the way. I decided I needed to start from scratch and rethink my entire design.
The Emergency Shot Kit v3
The idea hit me to try a double hinge design. Each piece was easy to print and the design works amazingly well. Rachel approved of the design and after some tweaking the design was ready to publish.
You can find both the stl files for printing and the Fusion 360 files to modify the design for yourself.
The Final Tweak
After printing several cases for people with Addison’s disease, I ran out of 2mm bolts that act as the hinges. The requirement of bolts bothered me from day one, but I wanted to get something working quickly. Small socket cap bolts are easy to work with and usually readily available. However, since seeing raw filament used as a hinge on tank treads, I’ve wanted to give it a try. Here’s the latest version where you insert the filament in and it snaps into place, unable to escape back out.
This is a great idea and could work for X as well! Could you design a case for that?
Unfortunately, I don’t have time or the expertise in these different conditions which also might require somebody to carry shots. This design is open source and the files can be found on Thingiverse. I would love for someone to remix the design to carry insulin, epipens, or testosterone. Please let me know if you remix this design and I’d love to feature it!
Can I buy one of these cases?
Short answer: no. Addison’s disease is pretty rare so there’s no point in setting up a business to sell these en masse. My hope is that most people will have access to a 3d printer themselves and can print the design themselves. As long as I’m not inundated with more requests than I can fulfill, feel free to reach out to me if you are the U.S. and I’d be happy to provide you one free of charge.
What can I do to help?
Great question! If you have a 3d printer and know someone with Addison’s disease, make them one of their own! This isn’t my primary job or income source, and frankly it’s a small gesture and not much of a sacrifice for me financially to send the ones out that I do. If it becomes too much of a burden, I’ll reach out and see if the community can help out. Thanks for being willing to help! If you have 3d design experience, you might be able to work on a design for some of the other medications that people carry.