Improving Sara’s quality of life: A 3D printed prosthetic hand

Improving Sara’s quality of life: A 3D printed prosthetic hand

When we think about quality of life, we imagine us sunbathing on a tropical beach or just taking a breathe in a relaxed atmosphere on the other side of the world. We usually think big. However, sometimes small things can absolutely change someone’s quality of life.

And this is the case of Sara.

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Sara and her classmates observing the final prosthetic hand (RTVE, 2017).

Sara is a girl from Spain who was born with a malformation on her right hand which doesn’t allow her to use it properly. In March this year, Spanish television program “El árbol de los deseos” from RTVE, visited Sara at her school with an important gift for her. A fully 3D printed prosthetic hand.

A few months earlier, RTVE contacted Koldo, manager of DomoTek, and asked him to develop a fully 3D printed prosthetic hand for Sara. Domotek is a company that offers 3D printing machines and services and is really interested in social changing projects. Furthermore, Domotek is part of an association called “Enabling the Future“, exclusively dedicated to make open source 3D printed prosthetic hands.

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Sara’s conceptual idea and digital model of her prosthetic hand (Domotek, 2017).

Koldo managed the whole project and thanks to the BCN3D Sigma and the “Enabling the future” association, the project was a great success. The BCN3D Sigma, thanks to its dual extruder system that can print with two colours or materials at the same time, was able to print the entire piece in the exact colours that Sara wanted. So not only solving the problem but also improving it as well.

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Finished double colour 3D printed proshtetic hand on the BCN3D Sigma (Domotek, 2017).

Nowadays Sara is enjoying her prosthetic 3D printed hand as a little-big change in her life. This has been possible thanks to RTVE, DomoTek and “Enabling the future”, a non-profit association that is improving someone’s quality of life everyday thanks to its Open Source philosophy.

So is there where society has to put its energies, understanding that disruptive technologies like 3D printing can help to improve our lives. Understand from the oldest to the youngest, that the constant development of 3D printing technology it’s just the beginning of a new way to live better.

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Sara using her prosthetic hand in the park (Domotek, 2017).

3D printing revolutionizes ETSEIB Motorsport workflow with the BCN3D Sigmax

ETSEIB Motorsport, one of the most experienced teams in the Formula Student competition, uses 3D printing to revolutionize their day-to-day operations. Thanks to the BCN3D Sigmax 3D printer, the team has been able to speed up the design phase and to fabricate end-use pieces that are directly mounted on the car itself. This has allowed them to greatly reduce the car costs and shrink the lead times. They are now capable to iterate faster and get refined designs in a very straightforward workflow.

 

The Formula Student team

Formula Student is a competition between students from universities around the world that promotes excellence in engineering through a competition where team members design, build, test, and race a formula-type racing car.

The ETSEIB Motorsport team is made up of 40 industrial engineers from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. This is the 10th consecutive year that they design a formula-type vehicle. For the first 4 years they made combustion cars and these past 6 years they have manufactured electric cars.

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ETSEIB Motorsport formula racing car.

3D Printing to revolutionize their workflow

Since the ETSEIB Motorsport has incorporated 3D Printing FFF desktop technology into their day-to-day operations, their design and fabrication processes have improved drastically. Additive manufacturing has basically served them in three main areas:

· Improvement in the design validation stage:

Having a 3D printer in-house allows the engineers to print their CAD designs overnight, drastically reducing the validation and iteration time. This new procedure ensures the Formula team does not longer depend on external suppliers to fabricate their parts, allowing them to spend more time developing new ideas and concepts.

· Rapid manufacturing of cost-effective end-use parts:

3D printing has helped them to manufacture parts that are directly mounted on the car itself. Some of them are the brake ducts, several cable ties and they have even printed molds to make pieces of carbon fiber. Thanks to the BCN3D Sigmax 3D printer, the ETSEIB Motorsport team has been able to optimize their production and achieve greater efficiency.

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3D printed cooling brake duct assembled (left) and carbon fiber steering wheel made from a 3D printed mold (right).

· Reducing car cost and shrinking lead times:

Finally, desktop in-house 3D printing has allowed them to reduce the costs of the car. The team has been able to produce parts quicker and at a lower cost than using traditional fabrication methods, especially in the design of unique and complex pieces. By using the BCN3D Sigmax 3D printer, the team has saved thousands of euros in the car development. The initial investment was fully paid back during the first months of usage.

BCN3D Sigmax as a workhorse manufacturing tool

The team at ETSEIB Motorsport chose the BCN3D Sigmax 3D printer due to its massive printing volume. This allowed them to easily place certain parts of the car on the printing platform.

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Cooling duct 3D printed on the BCN3D Sigmax with mirror mode in nylon, ideal to withstand high temperatures, vibrations and mechanical stresses.

Furthermore, thanks to Independent Dual Extruder (IDEX) system and its mirror mode, the engineers are able to print symmetrical pieces at the same time, like this cooling duct for the brake disc. This is of great use in the automotive field since many of the pieces are symmetrical.

Finally, the hotend family has allowed them to choose a hotend suitable for each moment. For small parts that need a lot of precision, they used Ø0.4 mm size nozzles. However, for larger pieces that are going to be subjected to mechanical stress, they used bigger nozzles such as Ø0.8mm or Ø1.0mm.

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ETSEIB Motorsport, by using 3D printing technologies, is able to fabricate parts for formula-type cars quickly and affordable. Are you interested to find out what BCN3D Technologies can do for your business? Contact us at info@bcn3dtechnologies.com, we love hearing from you!

Custom Resin Jewelry from 3D Printed Molds

Custom Resin Jewelry from 3D Printed Molds

Fully controlled process, lower production cost, amazing effects.

Challenge

Resin casting is a well known method for making jewelry. This method incorporates pouring resin into a mold in the desired shape of the jewelry piece. The most crucial part of the process is the mold itself – the visual effect depends on how precise the mold is, and the cost viability of the process depends mainly on the cost of a custom made mold. Designer Paula Szarejko was able to optimize both above factors thanks to a ZMorph VX.

Solution

The first part of the process was designing the parts for 3D printing: jewelry shapes and mold box. The 3D printed shape was used as an imprint to mark the geometry of the jewelry in silicon rubber, resulting in a mold negative. The mold negative created that way was then put into the 3D printed mold box, ready to be used for casting. For casting material, Paula chose translucent epoxy resin mixed with stone and sand particles as well as different dyes to create a one-of-a-kind visual effect. As the last step, Paula 3D printed some neat jewelry cases with her branding.

Result

Using a ZMorph VX Paula was able to create custom jewelry molds in a fully controlled process, and what’s also important, at low cost. Additionally, 3D printing opened her the way for experimenting with jewelry shapes and allowed for faster iterating. In result, Paula was able to create an entire line of jewelry, reuse the same molds for low-volume production, and multiply the molds when needed.

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Architects pay tribute to Calatrava by 3D printing the Turning Torso

By using BCN3D Sigma 3D printers, the team at Suntem 3D has been able to 3D print the emblematic building Turning Torso by architect Santiago Calatrava. The mock-up has been manufactured with a scale of 1/135 and measures 1 meter and 40 centimeters.

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Since they were students, the architects of Suntem 3D fell in love with the work of the architect Santiago Calatrava. They have always admired his ability to create strong and coherent concepts transposed into an elegant blending of architecture into structure.

That is why they decided to 3D print the Turning Torso building as a tribute to this great architect.

In 1999, architect Santiago Calatrava was invited to develop a mixed-use residential tower in the port area of Malmö, Sweden, as an important part of the Malmö Western port transformation program. The project was conceived as a vertical sculptural element that symbolizes the human body in motion. The shape of the building is composed of nine units (each containing five floors), rotated to each other, and located around the central core, generating a spiral motion.

Turning Torso (190 meters) is the tallest residential building in Sweden and the second tallest residential building in Europe.

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In order to carry out their idea, the Suntem 3D team had to design the digital model. Once created, they started printing the pieces with their BCN3D Sigma printers. After 137 hours of 3D printing, they made their goal a reality: to have a physical model of the building.

The mock-up was printed in PLA, ideal for those models and prototypes that need a good surface quality and aesthetic detail. Also, is the perfect material for printing parts that contain overhangs, complex geometries and intricate curves. PLA is the best choice for building affordable models that need good surface quality for customer presentations, to help them better understand and visualize the product.

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It is easier for architects when they can visualize their designs physically and not on a screen. It is also very easy to just touch the model and figure out what it looks like from all angles.

Accelerating stroke rehabilitation thanks to a customized 3D printed orthotic swimming fin

Two industrial designers from Barcelona have created a swimming fin to accelerate the rehabilitation of Pedro, a 16-year-old boy who suffered a stroke, which paralyzed half part of his body.

Pedro is a sixteen years old guy from Barcelona who loves sports. In August 2012 he suffered a stroke, a left ganglion basal hemorrhage, which paralysed half part of his body. After a long period of rehabilitation, Pedro recovered a great part of the mobility, except in his right hand, affected by spasticity. Spasticity is a disorder of the central nervous system that causes an increase of the muscular tone hindering totally or partially the movement of the affected muscles.

The beginning of the project

In July 2016, Pedro started a new sports project at the Club de Natació l’Hospitalet, a swimming club that had just created an adapted swimming section.

Due to the spasticity, Pedro used to have difficulties positioning properly his hand when swimming. To find a solution, his coach Àlex Agut and the president of the swimming club Jordi Lorca, contacted with the UPC’s (Polytechnic University of Catalonia) CIM centre, a prestigious university center in Barcelona known for its Masters and Postgraduate studies. The students of the Master’s degree in Design and Engineering in Product Development Marc Roca and Iñigo Martínez-Ayo were selected to solve the challenge by creating a new personalized hand swimming fin for him.

The challenge of designing a customized product

The project was focused on 3D printing technology (FFF), for his advantages when producing. A design process has to pass through different stages until finished. Normally in the stages of product development, prototyping and testing is where more time and money is spent. Before launching a product, this has to be used and improved by using prototypes. In traditional industry, the time of making those prototypes is too long and some companies just make a few versions of the product affecting the final result. The fewer prototypes, the more possibility of errors in the final product.

The advantage of 3d printing in short time projects

Nowadays, thanks to the 3D printing technology, companies and professionals are able to carry out a more efficient product development, not just by making more prototypes in less time, but also making them with materials that have very similar properties to those that will have the commercialized product.

BCN3D Sigma R17 Swimming Fin for stroke rehabilitation

Marc and Iñigo, by using the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer, developed the product for Pedro in less than four weeks. During this time they made ten functional prototypes trying different shapes and materials with a budget of 100 €. After running out different test, they decided to manufacture the swimming fin in Nylon, an extensively used material for its unique mechanical and chemical properties. Thanks to characteristics like durability, flexibility and resistance to corrosion, Nylon is ideal for multiple applications in the 3D printing field, like end-use parts or custom jigs and fixtures.

To print the part in Nylon correctly, they used PVA material as a support material in the second extruder of the BCN3D Sigma. This filament is a water soluble polymer, ideal to work as support material for printing complex geometries, large overhangs or intricate cavities. PVA supports allow achieving better surface quality and to orientate the part to get better mechanical properties.

3D printed fin for stroke rehabilitation

The results

Thanks to the immediacy that 3D printing offers, Pedro had his personalized 3D printed swimming fin in a very short period, generating, among others, the following advantages:

  • Improvement in body position, facilitating stroke and movement.
  • An increase of the musculature in the upper part of the body.
  • Due to the improvement in the swimming position, Pedro spent more time in the pool without getting tired. That improved muscle tone throughout the body.

Pedro’s case is a great example of the benefits that 3D printing offers in projects that require the creation of several prototypes in order to see how they fit in the patient.