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A few months ago, my friend and coworker Andrew shared a post saying that the first person to create a 3D-printed prosthetic arm out of silicone would be the winner of the Google I/O Innovation Awards. Since then, I’ve been thinking the same way. In today’s post, I’ll share the story and I’ll do a little demonstration of how to make this. But first, let’s first discuss what the arm actually is and what it does.
The Real Deal
What is a 3D-printed prosthetic prosthetic arm? It is a 3D-printed prototype (known as an FDM 3D printer) that is designed to be printed on an FDM 3D printer with a high-performance resin that prints at temperatures greater than 600° C. This is done, not for aesthetics but for the purpose of making your arm strong enough to withstand the rigors of use.
The purpose of a 3D-printed prototype is to allow for changes to a design after actual testing and development, so the arm has a number of features to match the real thing. These changes include the addition of a tendon stabilizer, an extra support structure, or some other change that will provide additional comfort and strength to the wearer.
The Arm In One: A Brief History
The most well-known 3D-printed version of a prosthetic limb has been the hand prosthetic that the tech billionaire and billionaire inventor Elon Musk began with his friends at the University of Southern California. He began with an open source design developed by researchers who had taken a handprint of the original open-source design made by the computer scientist and engineer Dr. Andrew McGovern and a piece of acrylic known as a polyimide. This was printed on an industrial-strength 3D printer. His friends at USC, as part of the original open-source design, used one of these 3D-printed prototypes to print his left arm.
While the first open-source 3D-printed arm was certainly useful for Musk, many open-source 3D-printed prototypes have been copied, sold, or copied by others. And the arms made by McGovern have become a staple of 3D print shops on Amazon.com.
The “Arm” That Inspired This Article
But it wasn’t until I started my own 3D printing