3d printing technology can give people with disabilities a new lease on life and independence. Find out how now.
Modfab has used 3D printing technology to create an artificial hand for a 19 year old girl who lost the fingers on her left hand due to complications after heart surgery as a baby.
Modfab is a company that is committed to introducing 3D printing technology to schools and other education settings.
Now it is helping 19 year old Eliza of Towradgi by building her a prosthetic hand using 3D printing. Modfab met Eliza’s mother, an Assistant Principal at Towradgi Public School, when demonstrating 3D printing at the school.
We then set up a meeting with Eliza, and scanned her arm in order to create a custom made prosthetic for her to use. The 3D printed scan of Eliza’s arm allowed Ben to test the prosthetic for fit without needing to have Eliza present.
‘We can’t think of a more exciting application for our technology, and for demonstrating the capacity for 3D printing to change people’s lives’, Modfab Director Ben Roberts said.
‘It will make a real difference to Eliza, and we are going to make the files freely available for others to use.’
A scan of Eliza’s arm was 3D printed in sustainable plastic PLA (Polylactic Acid) which is sourced from a range of plants such as corn, tapioca root and sugar cane. The cost of the print itself amounts to approximately $50.00 for materials and machine time. The actual prosthetic is made of PLA and thermoplastic elastomer which will allow Eliza to grasp and lift objects and assist her right hand.
‘The printable files will be uploaded to http://www.thingiverse.com/ and http://enablingthefuture.org/ for others to adapt for their use.’
For more information go to our website on www.modfab.com.au .
Mr Roberts said this prosthetic enables Eliza to pick things up with her left hand and use it in conjunction with her right hand, giving her more independence and a feeling of confidence. An exciting Australian startup company, SwatchMate have provided Modfab with their exciting product called the Cube which allows us to exactly match the colour of Eliza’s skin to the prosthetic.
As a result the prosthetic will be the same colour as her skin making it more natural and appealing to look at.
Modfab is hoping to get local high schools who have adopted 3D printing technology involved in this work. Students would be able to design, remix or download designs and assist other people in the Illawarra or in their local area.
In the process of building the prosthetics, students would gain an insight into mechanical assembly, CAD and 3D Printing, and therefore extend their skill set encouraging cross curricular thinking and improving technology in curriculum and pedagogy which for students creates real life links in future industries.
This in part enriches their lives and other people’s lives, and allows them to become involved with their local community.