Tag Archives: prosthetics

Video: Beauty and the Beak; a Bald Eagle’s 3D Printing Story

Bald Eagle 3D Printed Beak

Here’s a great story. Beauty the Bald Eagle gets a second chance with help from 3D printing technology.

A bald eagle was shot and lost her upper beak. A “bionic beak” was fabricated using software designed for the aerospace industry, then 3D printed and affixed to the bald eagle in an elaborate procedure.

Shot and edited by Keith Bubach for Evening Magazine (KING-TV). 2008 Emmy winner.


Bald eagle photo by andrewprice001 used under Creative Commons license.


Toddler Emma Fitted With 3D Printed Magic Arms

Emma Magic Arms 3D Printing

Two-year-old Emma was born with a rare condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita. This disorder greatly limited her muscle movement in her arms. 3D printing technology provided a magic solution.

After researching the disease, Emma’s parents attended a medical conference where they learned about the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX). Emma was able to try out a version of the WREX at the hospital, but she was too small for the bulky metal arms.

In order to design a version for Emma that would both fit her and weigh significantly less, the researchers used the Stratays Dimension 3D printer to build pieces of the arms out of the same type of plastic that’s used in LEGOs. The pieces snap together and resistance bands are used to adjust the tension on the two arms.

Watch the video below for Emma’s story.


Via Digital Trends.

3D Printing is a Game Changer: Feature Published by The Atlantic

3D Printing is a Game Changer

American iconic magazine The Atlantic invited Hugh Evans, vice president at T. Rowe Price Associates to publish an article about a technology or trend changing the markets. His topic: 3D Printing is a Game Changer.

From my vantage point, 3D printing is right up there as one of the most exciting innovations I’ve seen in the 20 years I’ve been around here. I think it’s going to change the way goods are manufactured across many industries.

Evans starts with the back story on 3D printing, how the technology evolved from producing wax-like prototypes to durable goods.

The revolution took place when companies like 3D Systems started designing radically new materials. They came up with nanocomposites, different blends of plastics, and different blends of powdered metals. They were then able to create a part that, if you held it in your hand, you’d think it was steel. You can throw it down on the ground against cement, and it looks and acts just like steel.

Later Evans mentions various industries that are embracing 3D printing.

These new materials allow this 3D printing to be adopted by aerospace, automotive. Jaguar is using the technology for rapid product development. So is the Bell Helicopter division of Textron.

It’s pretty intuitive to apply this technology to the automotive and aerospace industries, and jewelry has always been a big market. But one of the most exciting areas is actually dental fabrication.

One company I’m excited about is using 3D printing to make prostheses. It’s a venture-backed company in San Francisco called Bespoke Innovations. There are a large number of amputees in America and around the world–I believe something like two million people have some sort of prosthetic limb or device.

Finally, Evans talks about falling 3D printer prices, enabling consumer adoption.

Six years ago the cheapest machine out there was $30,000, but most were $100,000. Today you can get a capable 3D printer for around $1,299, which launched at the Consumer Electronics Show this year.

That’s why 3D printing is so interesting. It’s not just tied up in the engineering world anymore. It’s impacting a large number of industries, and becoming more relevant to consumers. I’m seeing that even high schools now have 3D printers. I just ran into a high school teacher the other day who teaches software classes, and he was telling me, “Oh, I just bought my first 3D printer.”

It’s exciting to see this technology begin to reach its full potential. A few years ago it was a little ahead of its time, but not anymore. It’s here today.


Read the full article at The Atlantic.

Deck of cards photo by aftab used under Creative Commons license.

Top 3D Printing Headlines from Last Week: Legs, Bikinis, Disney World

3D Printed Prosthetic Leg

A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from May 7 to May 13.

Monday, May 7

Tuesday, May 8

Wednesday, May 9

Thursday, May 10

3D Printed Bikini Top

Friday, May 11

3D Printed Legs: Giving Amputees the Power of Personal Expression

3D Printed Prosthetic Leg

The mission at San Francisco-based Bespoke Innovations is to bring more humanity to people who have experienced the loss of a limb, simply stated on their website as: “Because Every Body is Different.”

Founded in 2009 by an Industrial Designer and an Orthopedic Surgeon, Bespoke is part of the movement towards individualized and innovative medicine. Again, from their website:

Each of our bodies is unique, as are our tastes and styles. Humans are anything but one-size-fits-all, and we want to recognize that fact. We achieve this by creating products that allow our clients to personalize their prosthetic legs. Our hope is to enable our clients to emotionally connect with their prosthetic limbs, and wear them confidently as a form of personal expression. Our products turn something ordinary into something amazing.

3D Printed Prosthetic Leg


Bespoke shares a case study of a woman named Deborah:

In 2004, Deborah lost her lower leg in a motorcycle accident, changing her life from that moment forward. Initially, Deborah was fitted with a standard prosthetic limb in order to regain some of the basic functionality from her life before. Later, she purchased a ‘running leg’ and resumed competitive running through the Challenged Athletes Foundation. She now swims regularly, runs in marathons and is currently training for her first triathlon.

Although the prosthetic limb returned much of the mobility and activity to her life, the titanium hardware and mechanical fittings comprising the new leg simply could not represent her individuality or uniqueness. In 2010, Deborah met with Bespoke Innovations, who presented her with the opportunity to have a custom ‘Fairing’ made. The Fairing, a product that results from a process developed by Bespoke, recreates Deborah’s unique body shape, while allowing her to express her personal style and fashion sense.

How it Works

Bespoke Fairings™ are custom coverings for an existing prosthetic leg, precisely designed to fit the body through 3D scanning technology, and 3D printed to express personality and individuality never before possible. Fairings typically sell for under $5,000.

The video below shows the 3D printing process.

Bespoke has been featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek and other major publications.

Below is video from Mashable discussing the design and customization process.