There have been so many incredible stories we have covered over the last year. In fact, as 3DPrint.com turns a year old, the topics which have received the most feedback have been those related to the 3D printing of prostheses. Literally thousands of individuals are having their lives made a little bit better, thanks to this incredible technology. When a father can crate a prosthetic hand for his child for under $50 on a desktop 3D printer, the topic certainly can be an emotional one.
Although thousands of people are benefiting, there are hundreds of thousands who are not. 3D printers are typically expensive, and the information required to design and print such intricate components for a prosthesis is not always easily accessible, especially for those who seek a lower extremity like a leg. This either leaves patients using mechanical looking legs or legs which may or may not fit them the way they should.
One Fayetteville, North Carolina man, named Adam White, fits into the aforementioned category. White, also known as DJ Rewind, thanks to his DJ profession, is very much loved within his community. Back in 2013, he unfortunately got into a motorcycle accident which left him without a left foot.
Although White was able to obtain a prosthetic leg, which he is very grateful for, he does have a few qualms. The leg, which is an Ossur Reflex shock with Evo, doesn’t exactly look like a leg. In fact it’s more like a metal rod with some tubing and other oddly shaped components coming off of it. He’s noticed the same for many war veterans in his community. While there are many amazing initiatives in place for aesthetically pleasing prosthetic hands, options for legs which are created in a shape similar to human form, are not too common.
Recently though, White stumbled upon prosthetic fairings which fit around a prostheses, giving the leg a more human-like appearance. He then got the bright idea of starting a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to allow him to not only 3D Print custom fairings for himself but to also 3D Print fairings for veterans and other disabled individuals in his community.
“I recently was able to get a prosthetic leg which is very mechanical,” explained White. “I was looking into the 3D printing world for answers. I found that I could create a fairing for my legs to restore their normal shape. This procedure is very expensive, costing up to $8,000 or more. It uses a process of capturing a 3D image of the sound leg and switching it to fit the amputated site. The fairing has no medical effect on the user but primarily to cover the prosthetic parts. I want to create & print my fairings for my legs and also help others in my same situation as well.”
White is currently seeking a total of $8,000 on Kickstarter, so that he can purchase a Makerbot Z18 3D printer. The Z18 would be able to print entire fairings in a single piece, thanks to its build envelope of 11.8 x 12.0 x 18.0 inches. The machine is pricey, but would not only serve White. It could be a tool which enables dozens of individuals to obtain custom fairing, enabling their prostheses to appear more human-like.
The Kickstarter campaign will run until March 29th, and although the rewards being offered to backers may not exactly hold much monetary value, the value that both White and numerous other individuals within his community would obtain, should his goal be reached, could be priceless. Let us know if you have backed White’s campaign. Discuss this story in the 3D Printed prosthetic fairing forum thread on 3DPB.com.