AMS Spring 2023

RoboHand to Team With College of the Quachitas to Open Printer Farm and Mass Produce 3D Printed Prosthetics

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One of the more intriguing, as well as ‘feel good’ applications of the rapidly progressing 3D printing movement, is that of Robohand. Robohand is an organization which was founded by a man name Richard van As in 2011 robo-3after he lost his two fingers in a carpentry accident. Since that time, Robohand has helped hundreds of individuals who are missing fingers, hands and arms return to a relatively normal life. The incredible thing, is that this is all being done for free or relatively inexpensively for those in need, who ordinarily would not be able to afford the thousands of dollars typical prosthetic devices cost.

Today we got word that the Robohand movement is about to expand in a big way. A strategic alliance has been formed between Robohand and the College of the Ouachita, located in Malvern Arkansas. Based on this agreement, the college will open up a 3D printer farm on campus with over 50 Makerbot Replicator 3D printers. The print farm will act as a sort of manufacturing hub for Robohand, who will be able to churn out hundreds of parts per day/ for their 3D printed prosthetic devices.

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In turn, van As is developing an internationally accredited college curriculum based around 3D printing, and taught at the College of the Quachita. Richard van As is currently in Arkansas, finishing up the development of his curriculum, as well as getting ready to officially open the Robohand printer farm, by fine tuning each of the 53 brand new Makerbot Replicator 2’s. According to the Robohand announcement, this will be the largest 3D printer farm in the world.

Under the direction of Mr. Jody Callahan, College of the Ouachitas Division Chair for Applied Sciences, the print farm will not only churn out hundreds of Robohand prosthetic devices for worldwide distribution, as well as provide an atmosphere for learning, but it will also at times be opened to the public, allowing anyone who wishes to use the facility to print out whatever they need for a fee. This fee will be used to ensure the sustainability of the farm, and further develop it.

The grand opening of the printer farm is scheduled for Wednesday June 25th, with three press conferences scheduled between 9:00 am – 3:00 pm on the College of the Ouachita campus, at One College Circle, Malvern, AR. On hand for the conference will be Richard Van As, Creator of Robohand; Leonard Nel, Communications Director Robohand; Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker, President of College of the Ouachitas; and Jody Callahan, College of the Ouachitas Division Chair Applied Sciences and 3D Printing Specialist.

Richard van As (left) helps set up the Robohand 3D Printer Farm

Richard van As (left) helps set up the Robohand 3D Printer Farm

This could certainly be a huge stepping stone for Robohand, as they try to maximise their reach, creating prosthetics for those in need aound the globe. It will be interesting to see if they will open additional printer farms if this first farm proves to be a success.

Will 3D printed prosthetics ultimately lead to the widespread adoption of affordable, more customizable prothetic devices around the world? Let’s hear your opinion at the Robohand print farm forum thread on 3DPB.com

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