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Gorgeous 3D Printed Prosthetic Born of Boredom

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Evan Kuester, like many students, found his course work to be less than inspiring. However, he did have access to some really cool tools, such as a large 3D printer that started his mind wandering. Evan had noticed a fellow student on campus a few times. The thing that he noticed was that she had no left hand. Knowing that he had a 3d printer at his disposal, Evan found the inspiration he needed to embark on something wonderful.

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One day he worked up the nerve to simply walk up and introduce himself and propose an idea: Why not 3D print an aesthetically pleasing prosthetic? From that point forward, Evan and Ivania Castillo have been friends.

Evan designed this arm using Rhino with a plugin called Grashopper. He took pictures of Ivania’s arm and measured it in many places. He then began modeling something that would be both functional and pleasing to the eye. The final prosthetic was printed in ABS as a single piece and did require a support structure for that intricate frame work. Once the support structure was dissolved, it was ready to be worn.

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Ivania, the model and the photographer, says this version fits like a glove.

When asked what improvements he would like to make if he had the opportunity, Evan shared a bit of how much of a trial and error process it is.

This is my second attempt at printing prosthesis and this time it came out much better than the first attempt. If I could do it again I would improve the design in every way possible. Ideally the hand moves and is fully functional, however I am limited by current technologies, so I am settling for an aesthetically pleasing prosthetic that celebrates the unique opportunity presented by the model.

Speaking in 3D printing terms, the stability of the model has room for improvement, my first attempt was way to bulky and this one is a hair on the thin side and sacrifices some strength for its aesthetic.

Evan will surely be producing some fantastic items moving forward. I know I’ll be keeping an eye on his website to see what he comes up with in his future endeavors.

2 thoughts on “Gorgeous 3D Printed Prosthetic Born of Boredom

  1. Do the fingers open and close?
    Can she pick things up?
    This is such a wonderful thing to do for her.
    Looks so much like a glove and is the same size as her right hand.
    I hope she loves it.

    1. it looks like it’s just a static model at this point. hopefully he modeled it such that he can easily modify it to integrate mechanics as the opportunities present, as there appears to be a fair bit of room in the forearm.

      1. I hope she gets an amazing working hand.
        I am sure she likes the one he made.
        It looks very natural.
        I 3d printed hands, but they are more robotic looking and a bit large for her.
        I hope more updates are posted here.

        1. I can move the fingers on my 3D printed left hand, but I also have a wrist and most of a palm to power it. I’m not sure, but it looks like she would need to use either myoelectrics, or elbow/shoulder power for finger use.

          On the flip side, while I consider my hand pretty, it’s not nearly as elegant as hers.

  2. This actually sort of makes me upset. It’s clearly a static prosthetic, which makes it absolutely useless. If she was born like that she had more use of her arm before she let him stick that thing on her. And! It’s sort of insulting for some guy to be walking around, thinking some poor girl’s life was just waiting to be improved by his functionally unusable hunk of plastic. 3-D printers are fantastic and amazing and have many fabulous uses. This is not one of them. Where are the prosthetics like Luke has in Star Wars? Those are the only ones worth getting remotely excited about.

    I guess it looks cool, though.

    I’ve been missing my left forearm from birth and have tried several prostheses since, having now chosen to be blissfully free of clunky foreign objects hanging off my body. I’ve been a server and a bartender and I couldn’t have done either of those jobs with current high-end prosthetic technology, much less this immobile, cosmetic accessory.

    1. Well… your opinion of having such a ‘hand’ for yourself is perfectly valid. If some stranger approaches you like he did to her you can just say no! It looks like she must have different feelings on the matter. Otherwise why would she have gone along with it? She has the right to her opinion too.

      One big thing that I notice about it… she can take it off. I don’t see any kind of implanted anchors on there. Maybe she wants a cosmetic hand now and then. I bet she takes it off if she is doing any work.

    2. “…and proposed the idea….” he didn’t assume anything and she was included in the design process. Prosthetics like in Star Wars are being made on 3d printers, but this guy is starting from scratch.

      1. You need to do some research! The only arm close to star wars is Dea Kamens Luke arm, which is not 3d printed. There are a few cheap arms being made on them, but nothing near that!

            nice link, but thats not 3d printed, just made using 3d printed parts, his was completely 3d printed

    3. This was designed as a cosmetic accessory, like jewelry, high heel shoes, nice clothing, etc, and nothing more. There are prosthesis that move and work at a remedial level but are either very clunky and crude or cost tens of thousands of dollars. Maybe many years from now there will be Star Wars level prosthesis on the market for those willing to spend tens of or even hundreds of thousands of dollars on. Until that day we may have to settle for an artistic celebration of a unique opportunity.

      I assumed that a person with a missing limb has an opportunity that almost no one else has, an opportunity to wear some of the the most unique accessory’s on the planet. A opportunity for people to celebrate the fact that you are different and the opportunity it brings, rather than to feel sorry and dwell on the problems you may have.

      1. You should just stop talking because you have no idea what you are talking about! There already are prosthetic arms nearly as good as star wars, it just got fda approval. Why are you speaking for other people? Do you know what it’s like to be missing an arm? Why would they want something drawing more attention to it? Just because someone lives with an issue doesn’t mean there life revolves around it! They shouldn’t have to put it on display for others, if they want to not ear one or keep it covered, good for them whatever makes you comfortable.
        P.S. people have made limbs like this for centuries out of wood and metal. Something like that could be made for $500 at most!

        1. Uhhh – he probably knows what it’s like for this girl to be missing an arm…since…well…he is the one who bothered asking her about it. And seeing that it’s her body and she can do whatever she wants with it…and she agreed to this, I just have to ask “who the hell do you think you are?”

          (if you don’t get what I’m saying, you replied to the creator of this arm, who directly interacted with the girl. If she said “fuck off” then that would be that. She was as intrigued as most of the people reading this article).

          Also – the “Star Wars” prosthetics out today are for very specific amputations, and require more than just a few measurements to work. Prosthetics are often almost embarrassingly clunky looking or robotic. It’s very good of Evan to add art to something that often doesn’t incorporate it.

          1. “Who the fuck am I”, I am an amputee who designs prosthetic’s, who are you? I just had a problem with the first paragraph, well I did’t like that it was all from his side, but with pictures of her. They could have interviewed her for the article to. just because he is the creator of the arm doesn’t mean he knows anything about being an amputee, or designing prosthetic’s. 3d printing a glove and making a working prosthetic is 2 different things.THESE ARE MY OPINIONS, I SPEAK FOR NO ONE.

          2. You speak for no one? Sounds like you’re trying to do exactly that in your previous comment. It sounds like you were trying to speak for the girl. It sounded like you were talking to the creator of this prosthetic like he forced this girl into reluctantly wearing it.

            And just because you’re an amputee and a prosthetic designer doesn’t mean you know shit about what this girl wanted or what she discussed with the designer of this. That’s the point. Your criticism of this more or less “static” prosthetic strongly resembles the loud, angry voices of forced culture that many “leaders” in various disabled crowds try to preach. I mean…fuck…it’s some guy’s way of being innovative, there’s an amputee kind enough to entertain the idea, she appears to like it, and the designer is here commenting on it.

            Why do you have to shit all over everything???

          3. Flat out fuck you! You to afraid to state your opinion in your own name anyway so, fuck off. These are my opinions if you don’t like it, to bad. You don’t know anything about me or why I think the way I do. I said he didn’t know shit about prosthetics, which they way he was talking about price and functionality, he doesn’t. Cosmetic arms are cheap and plentiful. They didn’t interview the girl, just used he pictures, I didn’t like the article, sorry you hate my opinion so much!

          4. Did you just call someone out for not using their real name when you’re going by ‘Guest?’ That’s fucking rich.

          5. I’m gonna assume you’re lying about everything… You have all your limbs and you do something like flip burgers for a living. You getting all butt hurt over someone else’s good intentions makes me believe everything about you is a grumpy ass troll looking for attention. How sad a life you must have lol

    4. As a below the elbow amputee, I agree 100%. I don’t like the tone of the article, like she was helpless before and is now whole again, it makes me sick. Its OK for an art project or night on the town, but completely useless! He just wanted to talk to a cute girl, period. There is no doubt in my mind she can do way more stuff with it off, since activity specific prosthetic limbs are the only useful ones. I see nothing special about this. People have been making passive prosthetics out of wood, plastic, plaster, carbon fiber, fiber glass, and metal for centuries! Most people are to lazy or just don’t need one there self, so they con realize how simple and useless they are. Most amputees would rather have a function, well fitting ugly arm, then a pretty useless arm. I guess its cool for pictures but she will have to take it off to do anything!

      1. “I don’t like the tone of the article, like she was helpless before and is now whole again, it makes me sick.”
        I didn’t get that impression from the article at all. Are you sure you’re not projecting?

        1. No, I just didn’t like the first paragraph, well and that they didn’t bother to interview her for the article, just used her picture. I would of loved to heard from her about it. i just don’t think it was very well written, especially when a lot of emotionally damaged amputees would be reading, but who ever thinks of others? THESE ARE MY OPINIONS, I SPEAK FOR NO ONE ELSE!

      2. because you know EXACTLY what was going through his head right? it was OBVIOUSLY made for purely cosmetic reasons. i assume you know what that means….cosmetic? it means its not funtional. this is no different than him asking her if he could design and 3d print a necklace or a bracelet. he proposed the idea. she could have said no, but she didn’t. and if you even fucking bothered to look at the pictures, you can clearly see she’s happy and if you had bothered to read the article in an unbiased way, you would have seen that they have been friends since. not only that, this wasn’t his first attempt. if he was JUST trying to talk to the girl, i don’t think this project would have made it this far.

        The article wasn’t about the functionality of the hand. it was that he created and designed this with a 3d picture. more like art than a working 3d arm. i understand you’re an amputee so you feel the need to voice your opinion like you are a mind reader….but you don’t speak for all amputees. you speak for yourself.

          I know what cosmetic means, do you know what passive means? hint: cosmetic! I said people have been making passive (cosmetic) prosthesis for centuries! They are nothing special. its cool he made her one, but he could of just as easily made a funtional or robotic one for way under the price of a 3d printer, or even printed a functional robotic hand for $100. THEY asked him what improvements he wanted to make, but did ask her what she liked, didn’t like, or wanted improved, THEN make an entire article about it, take pictures of her, then not interview her!

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Senior Editor for Make: I get ridiculously excited seeing people make things. I just want to revel in the creativity of the masses! My favorite thing in the world is sharing the hard work of a maker.

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