University of Central Florida (UCF) Engineering Students have developed a robotic arm for 6-year-old Alex Pring, using a Stratasys 3D Printer.
Aerospace engineering Ph.D. student and Fulbright Scholar Albert Manero is a volunteer at E-Nable, a network of 3-D printing enthusiast’s whose goal is to develop 3-D prosthetic hands for those in need. Manero met Alex, who was born without his right arm, through the E-Nable online network. The UCF engineering students designed and 3-D printed a functional prosthetic arm for Alex.
Manero, along with his team, dedicated seven weeks for their design. The Dimension Elite 3D Printer delivered rapid design iteration during the process and the Ivory ABS material used was strong, yet light enough for Alex to easily move.
“He learned to use the prosthetic fast,” Manero said. “When he could control it, the first thing he did was hug his mother. He said it was their first real hug. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. I think 3-D printing is revolutionizing our world in many ways. I believe changing the world of prosthetics is very real,” adds Manero.
The UCF team will continue to look for new ways to improve their design. As Pring gets older, the team will be able to 3D print a larger arm for a fraction of the cost of traditional prosthetics. “I can shake two people’s hands at once,” Pring joked. The team plans to publish the design files online for public access with instructions to 3-D print it so more lives can be transformed.
“3-D printing is changing the way prosthetics are designed and produced in ways previously not possible,” notes Gilad Gans, president, Stratasys North America. “It’s a remarkable feeling when you see how 3-D printing gives a kid the chance to live a happy life like other kids.”