The future of printing is 3D
Plenty of news we have heard over the last few years about 3D printing. The latest batch of news is about printing weapons with a 3D printer at home. Certainly not something that makes everybody feel comfortable. But there are also more happy news: a father printed for his handicapped son a prosthetic hand.
Thanks to the internet people can nowadays freely share knowledge. Many files can be found all over the net that you can simply send to your 3D printer and some time later you can hold it in your hand. But not only can you print it, you can also modify it, you can adapt it to your needs and then share again the result with others.
That's how the prosthetic hand came to life. Many people have already been working on robotic hands and sharing the results. From a robotic hand it is only a small step to a prothetic hand.: both share similar mechanics and have to solve similar problems.
A hand consists of various parts, the palm, the fingers, the joints etc. Most of these parts can be printed on a 3D printer in a few hours. But not only that. If there is a need to test and modify several variations to find the best one, then all this is possible with little additional effort. This allows to cut down development times from weeks to hours.
And it still doesn't stop there. Another great advantage of a 3D printer are the costs. Printing small pieces costs just a few Euros. Thus the hand maybe today printed in green plastic, tomorrow in red and the day after in blue. All this is possible due to the advancement of the 3D printing technology.
See the video below for the home-made hand which was much cheaper than a medical one which may cost up to 20.000€. Last not least the boy really enjoys his new "cyborg" hand!