Additive Manufacturing Strategies

This 3D Printed Steampunk-Inspired ‘Iron Man’ Prosthetic Hand Exhibits Function & Beauty

ST Medical Devices

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steampunkfeaturedLast September, we reported on a really elaborate 3D printed Ducati 1199 Superbike model, which a man named Jacky Wan (aka Valcrow) had designed. The bike, which at the time was the most “complex FDM printing challenge” he had ever tackled, turned out amazing well, and garnered quite a bit of media attention. Now Wan has moved on to yet another project, one which may be just as challenging as his last.

Wan, who currently collaborates with Ultimaker on various projects, has an affinity for creating movie props as well as exploring where 3D printing can take him in the future. Having seen the various ways in which the technology can come to the aid of those in need, Wan has also become an admirer of volunteer organization e-NABLE and the amazing 3D printed prosthetic hand creations that group has created.

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“I was looking for my next ‘challenge’ into 3D printing after making the Ducati bike,” Wan tells 3DPrint.com. “Having been in close contact with the great folks at Ultimaker, who have been quite involved in the E-nable project, together we thought it would be cool and challenging to make an E-nable style hand that addressed some of the major gripes from the current designs.”

Wan wanted to create a 3D printed prosthetic hand that would look “more cool” than what is currently available. He wanted to make something that a child would be proud of or be the envy of others. He also had the desire to change this disability into something that was “fun in its own way.”

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“A lot of Iron Man hands have already been done, so we decided to take a steampunk twist to the idea which would allow more creative freedom too,” Wan tells us.

At the same time, he wanted to make a design that would be as “snap fit” as possible, while not compromising its function or aesthetics. So, using 3D Studio Max, as he does with most of his other 3D designs, he hit the drawing board to come up with a steampunk-inspired Iron Man hand, one which would be completely unique to anything else that we’ve seen before. Using the design for the e-NABLE Raptor Hand as a reference, he set out to build the entire hand from scratch.

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The steampunk-ish gears on top of his hand actually serve a purpose, as they are the tensioners for the hand. The “skin” on each of the finger joints holds the previous finger joint’s pin in place, with the last piece snapping on, to hide all of the cables from view, while also keeping the entire finger together.

“Each piece is designed specifically to hold the next sequence of pieces together so that it requires no fasteners and no chance of a peg dropping out,” explained Wan. “It all snaps together and no glue is required.”

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Printing of the hand took Wan quite a bit of trial and error, and about a full week to get it right. With the large parts printed at a resolution of 150 microns, and the smaller more detailed parts at between 90 and 120 microns, the hand still remains in the prototyping stage, as he plans to continue working some kinks out and getting the design perfected. Once assembled, Wan primed and painted the hand to give it a more aesthetically pleasing look. The painting process was rather simple since he broke the individual 3D printed pieces down by color. This meant that no piece required more than one paint color.

Currently Wan has made the design files available to download this hand free of charge on YouMagine, where they have already been downloaded more than 500 times.

Let us know what you think of this unique 3D printed prosthetic hand in the Steampunk Iron Man Hand forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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