Did you know you can print medical models, surgical implants, and prosthetics with 3D printing? These objects can be used to facilitate visualization and learning for students and researchers, as well as in some cases, serve patients.
The Library Media Center has created a working left prosthetic hand using .STL files from the Cyborg Beast which can be found on Thingiverse.com. The limb costs no more than $15 to make for material alone, and the total print time was about 11 hours.
Dr. Jorge Zuniga, a professor at Creighton University, published his design for a prosthetic arm on Thingiverse for anyone to use under Creative Commons. He combined his profession of crafting prosthetic limbs for children and young adults with 3D printing technology, and published his design for the public to adapt and create.
For this particular object, the gauntlet was customized to reflect the X-Men Wolverine color stem. We download the gauntlet into a 3D modeling software (Tinkercad) to add the X-Men circle and Wolverines traditional black stripes. Once we were happy with that look, we scaled all the finger, digits, palm and gauntlet up 125% percent to make it fit a small limb before printing it in the desired color. The last step was to assemble the prosthetic limb. Dr. Zuniga provides videos and a pdf manual to assist in assembly. Presto! We now have a completed, fully functional prosthetic limb.
In the future, we would like to make some alterations to the limb which will increase its durability and customize the limb to suit the needs of the patient. Customization would add to how long the object would take to print, but not add much to the cost to make the object. The added print time would increase the sturdiness of the prosthetic limb and add to the satisfaction of the patient.
It’s the marvels of modern technology. Things that used to take weeks if not months of development can be made in a fraction of the time with the fraction of the cost. The true marvel lie not just with the technology, but also with the community of people who come together and allow for the shared use of intellectual designs to help make the world a better place.
The Media Center is located in the lower level of the library and open to students, faculty, and staff. Check out the Library’s Media Center page for more information about 3D printing.
Thank you to Jess Barth for contributing.