As if losing a limb wasn’t hard enough for a person, often the task of finding, fitting and affording a prosthetic limb can be almost as excruciating. William Root, a 3D designer, combines 3D scanning, 3D printing, and 3D modeling software to create custom 3D-printed limbs. A laser scanner is used to scan the remainder of the limb and allow the anatomy of the prosthetic and the natural limb to “match up within fractions of a millimeter,” according to Root’s Behance page.
Traditional prosthetics require a “large amount of specialized labor,” according to Root. And, by their nature, they both look and feel very mechanical and robotic. This often “negatively affects the appearance and psychological well-being of the amputees who need them,” he says. Creating an artificial limb that better suitsthe personality of the person who’ll be wearing it can make an enormous difference to the amputee’s self confidence and comfort.
Root also incorporated MIT’s FitSocket to attach the prosthetic to the amputee in a more comfortable way.
The software allows scans of the remaining limb and other prosthetics to combine and mesh together, creating a 3D model of a new limb. The prosthetic is then hollowed out to reduce weight and can be formed using a pattern preferred by the user. The model is then sent to a 3D printing facility and printed out of titanium, which is ideal for artificial limbs because it’s both lightweight, and extremely durable. In a process known as “laser sintering”, titanium dust particles are fused together to create solid pieces. The Exo-Prosthetic can then be assembled and adjusted accordingly.
Photos by William Root