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AMS Spring 2023

Flexy-Hand 2 – Filaflex Remix: 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand Looks and Moves Like the Real Thing

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flexyhand2-aniI couldn’t count how many different stories we have done on 3D printed prosthetic hands. Most of these stories have come our way from various e-NABLE members. e-NABLE is a group of over 3,000 volunteers who share ideas and designs on 3D printable prosthetic devices, and then connect with other individuals in need of these devices, in order to 3D print them a new hand, arm, or whatever other extremity they may need. For now, most of the prostheses we have seen come from e-NABLE have been hands and arms, but who knows what the future will hold for this amazing group of individuals.

Steve Wood, of Gyrobot, is one e-NABLE member who has been responsible for a lot of innovation within the group. He specializes in creating flexible 3D printed objects, using Filaflex filament. We have done many stories on his work, which includes 3D printed insoles, an awesome snow scooter attachment, and most notably his 3D printed Flexy-Hand designs, which use Filaflex filament to give the typical 3D printed prosthesis a more realistic look and feel.

The original Flexy-Hand design was released in March 2014, and the Flexy-Hand 2 was put online just four months later in July. Today, Steve Wood has unveiled yet another amazing iteration of his already popular Flexy-Hand 2.

The new hand, called the Flexy-Hand 2 – Filaflex Remix, takes the aesthetics and functionality of the Wood’s previous design and adds to it. It is optimized to be 3D printed with flexible filaments, and Wood has printed his example out using the new Skin I Filaflex material, which is colored the shade of Caucasian skin (also available in Skin II which is a darker color).

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That’s not the only change with the “Remix” version of this prosthetic hand, though. It also includes the following new features and improvements:

  • Silent articulation — no sounds come from the hand when the fingers are flexed.
  • Palm socket integral to hand. Can also be filled with moldable mediums, such as Oogoo, Silicone, Latex, Sugru, or foam.
  • Thermoformed gauntlet, featuring dual materials: Lower layers printed in PLA, upper layers printed in Filaflex.
  • Great strength.
  • Recipient’s scanned limb printed with internal “bone” and wrist articulation, using variable density “Modifier Meshes” in Slic3r.
  • Each finger and thumb is printed in one piece, using CraftWare customizable supports.

Steve Wood tells 3DPrint.com that this Flexy-Hand 2 is actually the first 3D printed prosthetic hand to be created by an amateur e-NABLE member (Wood himself) for a professional Prosthetist. Jeff Erenstone, CPO for Mountain Orthotic & Prosthetic Services, and his team are going to be using this hand for a patient of theirs.

“Jeff and his team are absolutely delighted with the hand and think it is as good as any of the professional versions out there,” Wood tells us. “It should be trial fitted to his patient Jack on Tuesday so I await more feedback. It still amazes me how the modern power of communications flattens the world and allows intercontinental projects like this happen within minutes, hours and days as if they are in the same office, this hand is really is unique in many ways.”

We have seen an incredible amount of creativity go into the creation of many different 3D printed hands. Since the majority of e-NABLE’s projects are geared toward children, we see a tendency for designers to lean toward colorful, superhero themed designs. However, not everyone wants their 3D printed prosthetic hand to be an “attention grabber.” This is where Steve Wood’s design will make a huge impact. As you can see in the photos provided, this prosthetic hand could be mistaken for a real hand from afar, and certainly won’t be as “in your face” as say, a red, white, and blue robotic looking device. Wood’s design is meant to be very functional as well as aesthetically pleasing for those who just want to blend in.

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The design for Wood’s new Flexy-Hand 2 can be downloaded on Thingiverse, free of charge. Printing is quite simple as well, and can be done on virtually any 3D printer capable of printing with flexible filaments.

“This can be printed without support, but I have found a little under the 45 thumb angle can give better surface finish to the surface quality when printed with flexible filaments,” explained Wood.

What do you think about Wood’s latest design, and the implementation of the new Filaflex Skin toned filament? Discuss in the Flexy-Hand forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video and photos below.

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