One great thing about about 3D printing, and particularly the open source nature of the movement, is the fact that thousands of useful designs are available for free download all over the internet. This open source methodology has allowed for dozens of individuals who are missing a hand or arm, to be supplied with custom, affordable 3D printed prosthetics. Most notably, the Robohand project and an organization called e-NABLE, have gathered together to create multiple options when it comes to 3D printed hands. There are so many options out there, that there really isn’t much need for designers to come up with their own designs. That is of course, unless you really want to create something custom, something that looks different than the typical 3D printed prosthetic hands that are currently available.
One student, named Evan Kuester, wanted to do just that for his friend Ivania Castillo. Kuester, is currently studying for his Master’s Degree in Architecture with a specialty in digital fabrication at the California College of the Arts. When he met Ivania, he immediately got the idea of creating a custom prosthetic arm for her, that would be different than anything ever created. He wanted to create something that would be both useful and eye-appealing. He didn’t want to just 3D print something that was already available on the internet. He wanted to create something that would be individually catered to Ivania.
After taking precise measurements, he came up with a design that featured internal lighting, and was quite the attention grabber. He designed the arm in Rhino with Grasshopper, and then gave it to Ivania to try out. She was quite pleased with the design, but there were still some improvements that Kuester thought should be made. He wanted to make the design less bulky and more feminine in appearance. He hit the drawing board again and came up with quite the unique design, one that was very feminine and beautiful in appearance. It was much more slim, thus it wasn’t quite as strong, but strength wasn’t exactly what he was going for.
Student or not, Evan succeeded in creating one heck of a useful, yet elegant prosthetic arm for his friend. It will be interesting to see if he creates any other 3D printed prosthetics in the future. We will certainly be tracking any progress he makes via his website. Let us know what you think of this incredible design in the 3D Printed Elegant Prosthetic Arm forum thread on 3DPB.com.