AMS Spring 2023

B9Creations & Black Hills Works Partner to 3D Print Customized Assistive Devices

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Headquartered in Rapid City, South Dakota, with additional offices in Dallas, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, professional 3D printing solutions provider B9 Creations has supported such big-name companies as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic, and more in industries like aerospace, healthcare, jewelry, and medical. Now, it’s partnering up with Black Hills Works—specifically its Assistive Technology team—to develop and 3D print customized assistive devices for the more than 600 people with disabilities that Black Hills Works supports.

“Assistive devices are vital to people’s lives, but are often costly, time-consuming to produce, and unable to meet individualized needs,” explained Shon Anderson, the CEO of B9Creations. “We are excited to partner with Black Hills Works to remove those barriers with accessible, fast, customizable parts in an easy-to-use, medical-grade 3D printer. It is very rewarding to see technology being used to transform people’s lives and give them greater independence.”

Black Hills Works, which is also located in Rapid City, has spent over six decades creating a specialized community for hundreds of people with a range of different disabilities, giving them a place where they can lead a life of potential. The organization purchased a building back in the early 1960s called “The Learning Institute” in an effort to centralize the area’s expanding special education program, and not long after began work on its first supported home in which disabled people could live independently within their own community. The work continued, and Black Hills Works now offers employment, recreation, social outlets, and homes to adults with disabilities.

“Today, we support nearly 600 people with disabilities through residential, employment, healthcare, and recreational support. We have over 30 homes, five enterprises, two day service buildings, and two office spaces throughout the city. What started off as a dream for eight children in the basement of Mrs. Kibben’s home has turned into one of the largest community support providers in the state of South Dakota,” the Black Hills Works website states.

The professionals on the heartwarming organization’s Assistive Technology team work together to create, problem solve, and invent customized adaptive and assistive solutions that can offer the individuals they support a high level of independence. Last year, the team developed over 700 creative solutions, which was a 54% increase from 2019. Now, thanks to its partnership with B9 Creations, hopefully that number will go up. With the new 3D printing capabilities it will have access to, Black Hills Works will be able to, according to the website, “build prototypes, test theories, and even deploy full-scale AT items.”

Tammy Murner, Black Hills Works’ Director of Innovation & Technology, said, “The 3D printer will help us save money by making something rather than buying it. We will have the resources to individualize solutions to better meet the needs of the people we support!”

Image courtesy of Black Hills Works

Assistive devices can be used by disabled people to help them do all sorts of things, such as eating, moving their wheelchairs, and even working in specialized jobs. Adding 3D printing to the mix just makes it easier to customize these devices, and often speeds up their production time as well.

Thanks to this new partnership, the Assistive Technology team of Black Hills Works will use B9Creations’ training, design services, and precise, medical-grade 3D printing to create individualized solutions that can meet the needs of the diverse group of people it supports.

(Images: B9 Creations unless otherwise noted)

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