FA info icon.svgAngle down icon.svgProject data
Authors Benjamin Gregory
Completed 2019
Made Yes
Replicated No
Cost USD 19.07
OKH Manifest Download

Folding Chair Commode with Parametric 3D-Printed Bucket Holder. The combination of disability and poverty creates a sanitation nightmare. Over 40% of the world lacks access to sanitary toilets.[1] In addition, over 500 million people are disabled, and most of these people live in poverty.[2] People whose mobility is impacted by injury, disease, or disability can not squat over a pit dug in the ground or walk to the nearest outhouse. In response to this problem, Jones and Reed[2]introduced the commode, which Oxfam defines as "a chair, which has a seat with a hole in it".[3] A disabled person can sit in these chairs normally, remove the seat to expose a bucket as a toilet, and dispose of excrement by removing the bucket. Compact, cheap commodes could be used in disaster relief operations, hospitals, and households. Tests in Pakistan showed that commodes were hygienic (because they only had one user) and improved family life as the disabled person did not have to be carried to the community latrine every time he or she wanted to use the bathroom.[3] This page discusses how to build a commode for under $20 using a folding chair, bucket, Velcro (or rope, twine, etc), and a 3D-printed ring to hold the bucket. Please reach out to me with any suggestions or questions.

Figure 1. Completed commode. The padded folding chair seat can be placed on top of the ring and bucket when the commode is not in use.

Bill of Materials[edit | edit source]

  1. Padded Folding Chair
    1. $12.25 here
    2. A different chair may be used, but the frame must travel all the way around the seat to allow for the bucket to be placed inside of it.
  2. Three feet of 1.5 inch self-gripping velcro
    1. $0.71/ft here or $2.13 total
    2. Alternates include duct tape, rope, or twine. These must be pulled taught and bear the weight of a human sitting on the 3D printed ring.
  3. Eight M4 x 12mm screws
    1. $0.08/screw here or $0.64 total
  4. One 8.5 inch diameter bucket (typically 5 quart or 1.5 gallon)
    1. $1.49 here
    2. If you change the bucket size, you will need to change the diameter of the ring in OpenScad and alter the Velcro lengths.
    3. If the bucket has a handle, the handle must be removed or accounted for in the 3D-printed ring.
  5. Eight 3D-printed ring components
    1. Open-Scad: File:Benjamin Gregory Commode Ring.scad
    2. STL on YouMagine
    3. 16 g of PLA or $0.32/piece (assuming $20/kg of filament), or $2.56 total

Tools needed[edit | edit source]

  1. MOST Delta RepRap or similar RepRap 3-D printer
  2. Phillips head screwdriver for M4 screws and any screws securing the seat to the folding chair

Skills and knowledge needed[edit | edit source]

  • Knowledge of operating and troubleshooting a 3D printer

Technical Specifications and Assembly Instructions[edit | edit source]

  • Print time: 1 hour/part or 8 hours total
  • Assembly time: 10 minutes
  1. Remove the seat from the folding chair frame using an appropriate screwdriver (figure 2).
  2. Measure the length of the bucket and the gap in the chair frame. Adjust the OpenScad code so that the 3D-printed ring will hold the bucket in place and fit in between the chair frame (the chair frame is shown in figure 3).
  3. Print eight ring pieces (one piece is shown in figure 4). My settings included:
    1. PLA at 175 C
    2. 0.2 mm resolution with 2 mm walls
    3. 15% grid infill
    4. 5 top layers and 4 bottom layers
    5. 2-line skirt
    6. 90 mm/s infill, 70 mm/s inner walls, 40 mm/s outer walls, and 60 mm/s top and bottom layers
  4. Connect the eight ring pieces by threading M4 screws into the holes (figure 5).
  5. Place the bucket in the ring (figure 6).
  6. Use properly-sized Velcro strips to connect the ring to the chair frame (figure 7).
  7. Place the bucket in the ring and the seat on top of the bucket. The seat should fit snugly into the frame. Some seats include metal brackets that can be used to temporarily secure the seat to the frame (figure 8). The completed commode is shown in figures 9 and 10.
  8. To use:
    1. Lift the patient needing to use the toilet up and remove the seat.
    2. Place the patient back on the ring and allow them to use the toilet.
    3. Lift the patient up, remove the bucket, and replace the seat.
    4. Discard the contents of the bucket in a sanitary way, wash the bucket, and replace it.

Common Problems and Solutions[edit | edit source]

  • Ensure that the ring is sized so that the ring supports the bucket but a user does not have to exert significant force to remove the bucket. The bucket must be easily removed and replaced.

Cost savings[edit | edit source]

  1. Costs
    1. Chair: $12.25
    2. Velcro: $2.13
    3. Screws: $0.64
    4. Bucket: $1.49
    5. Filament: $2.56
    6. Total: $19.07
  2. Equivalent commercial commode in the Oxfam Equipment Catalogue for £45 or $49.61.
    1. Total cost savings of $30.54 or a 61.56% cost reduction

Benefited Internet Communities[edit | edit source]

This product has not been used yet, but could benefit the following groups:

  1. Field Ready [1]
  2. The International Red Cross [2]
  3. All Hands and Hearts [3]
  4. ShelterBox [4]
  5. International Medical Corps [5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "8 Toilet Designs That Could Save Millions of Lives Around the World," inhabitat (2015) Available:
  2. 2.0 2.1 H. Jones and B. Reed, Water and sanitation for disabled people and other vulnerable groups: Designing services to improve accessibility, WEDC, Loughborough University, UK (2005) Abailable:
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Excreta disposal for physically vulnerable people in emergencies," Oxfam Technical Briefing (2017) Available:

FA info icon.svgAngle down icon.svgPage data
Keywords 3d printing, accessible, health, osat, toilet, sanitation, plastic
SDG SDG03 Good health and well-being, SDG10 Reduced inequalities, SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities
Authors Benjamin Gregory
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Organizations Michigan_Tech's_Open_Sustainability_Technology_Lab, MY4777, MTU
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 6 pages link here
Impact 734 page views
Created December 1, 2019 by Benjamin Gregory
Modified January 29, 2024 by Felipe Schenone
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.