3D Printing & Assembling A Prosthetic Hand (Cyborg Beast)

an image of 3d printed prosthetic hand cyborg beast

Note: This post is meant to be a general guideline – just to give the readers an idea of how a 3D printed hand is assembled.

We have heard and read a lot recently about how easy it is to 3D print prosthetic hands. Have you ever wondered how much effort it takes to print and assemble one?
Cyborg Beast is one of many versions of prosthetic hands available to 3D print. Created by a team of researchers at Creighton University, the materials used for printing a Cyborg Beast cost roughly around $50, and can be found at various hardware stores or online. Once the parts are printed, it takes around 2.5 hours to assemble the entire hand.
The material used for printing a Cyborg Beast are:
  • Polylactide plastic (PLA) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) for printing the components.
  • Chicago screws (various sizes)
  • 1 mm lift nylon cord
  • 1.5 mm elastic cord
  • Velcro
  • Medical grade firm padded foam
  • Protective skin shock
  • Dial tensioner system.
Software required:
Tracker: For measurements of the arm.
Blender: For scaling each component of Cyborg Beast to fit the arm.
Makerbot: For 3D printing each component.

The printing process requires several components to be printed which are later assembled together to form the hand. Here are the components that are required to be printed for Cyborg Beast.

1x Right OR Left Palm
1x Normal Gauntlet or Normal Gauntlet w Tensioner
4x Finger Phal
4x Finger w Bumps OR Finger wo Bumps
1x Thumb Phalange
1x Thumb Finger w Bumps OR Thumb Finger wo Bumps
Detailed instructions and files for printing can be found here.
There are three primary steps that need to be taken to print a prosthetic hand.
  1. Taking Measurements: With the use of a software called Tracker, anthropometric measurements of the arm are recorded.
  2. Scaling Cyborg Beast & Printing Components: Now that we have measurements, each component is scaled to fit the arm of the person who will be using Cyborg Beast. Blender, and MakerBot are used for this.
  3. Assemble: Once all components are printed, it is time to assemple them.
Here is a group of 7th graders showing how a Cyborg Beast is assembled.
To get more details on printing and assembling Cyborg Beast, go to cyborgbeast.org and enablingthefuture.org.

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