It is deeply heartwarming to check in on the progress at e-NABLE and other open printable prosthetics project teams since the MakeTheWorld: Prosthetics Hangout Series wrapped up at the end of October. Many of those featured during that series are still actively pushing this research forward, and at quite a clip!
MakerBlock is one of the desktop 3D printing superstars who has taken up this cause. He has documented and shared a number of significant resources to catch you up to date on the collective volunteer R&D efforts so far. Here’s a resource he shared from those involved in university research into this topic:
Marc Petrykowski of Creighton University was kind enough to provide some additional practical experience and information about the university’s research study into printable prosthetics. For anyone looking to dive into this project, I’m cross-posting the information from the e-NABLE Google Plus group here.1 I’ve adjusted the formatting slightly, but otherwise everything below are Marc’s words.
What exact measurements do you need (e.g., hand-length from where to where?)
Below are photos of all of the measurements I use for designing a hand.2 Yes it does seem like a lot, but all of them are needed to ensure the best custom fit for the hand we make for the user. When making a custom hand, it is important to make the 3D printed hand as similar to the non effect hand (fingers, width, length, etc). Each hand also has to be custom because of the size (length, width, height) or the stump. Some are very tiny and some are much bigger, so that also plays a big role when you have to design a hand. There are two photos that are measuring angle of flexion and extension. Those are important to see how tight or how loose the hand has to be for the power and strength of the individual and to make the hand as functional as possible.
How do you get them from scans etc.
Scans from our 3D scanner are in the format .STL which can be imported into programs such as blender (Shown below). Then I can lay it into the preexisting hand design and see an image of how it will fit, including the gauntlet size. If there are further changes to be made, I can do it all in blender before the print.
How do you apply those measurements to your model
- As stated above, the measurements matter for the size of the hand. You can’t have a hand that is much smaller then the opposite hand, but you also can’t have a hand that is too small or large for the stump. Everything has to be customize depending on each case. This is where the designing takes the longest. My goal as the designer and printer is to make the hand as near perfect as the other hand so it feels the same to the body and brain, thus they will respond with the effected hand like it was their real non effected hand. Also as stated above, the degrees of flexion and extension and the size/length of the fingers are all incorporated into the final design before the printing the hand.
- And if, as +Jorge Zuniga suggests, ALL parts can be pre-printed, I’m hoping you guys will take the lead in helping us make it easy. (As easy as buying shoes at a shoe store)
- This is possible because all of the redesigning and redoing of the measurements are all done in blender. Remember, if you resize a finger to a certain percentage, then you have to do the same for the rest of the fingers, thumb, phalanges, palm, and the gauntlet. That is how you can print everything off as one complete print.
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!