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  1. #1

    Very Athletic Amputee needing sports prostheses

    Hi, I'm a young athletic amputee involved in several sports. I'm also a mechanical engineer, so prosthetic design is near and dear to me. My insurance typically doesn't cover sports prosthetics so being able to 3D print them would be a dream. I am however an above knee amputee so I'd be putting considerably more weight and stress on a prosthetic than an arm amp. I'm in need of a better/different snowboarding knee and foot. Given the application, it would need to be strong enough to handle jumps and also be made of a material that won't become brittle in the cold (for instance, all tests with carbon fiber have failed). I haven't done any research, so forgive my ignorance, but is this even possible?
    I'm also in need a rock climbing foot. That should be much simpler.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Roxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megan View Post
    I'm in need of a better/different snowboarding knee and foot. Given the application, it would need to be strong enough to handle jumps and also be made of a material that won't become brittle in the cold (for instance, all tests with carbon fiber have failed). I haven't done any research, so forgive my ignorance, but is this even possible?
    I'm also in need a rock climbing foot. That should be much simpler.
    This is a fascinating project! But I would be scared to design or print something like this. It would be so easy to get somebody really hurt.

    Perhaps I'm over reacting. But in either case this request would be well worth discussing in detail. Can you show us pictures of commercial products that would work for you?

  3. #3
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    first the first, how extensive the damage on your leg is, why im asking this? because you can desing, manufacture and print any great prostheses....and wont work at all. you said you live in cold weather, how cold it gets there? especify exacly the types of activities you want, from there we can help you out to desing whats the best type of protheses you need, and dont wana sound rude but, do you have any 3d printer at the moment? do you know how to do 3d desing? questions.... questions.... questions....

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Roxy View Post
    This is a fascinating project! But I would be scared to design or print something like this. It would be so easy to get somebody really hurt.

    Perhaps I'm over reacting. But in either case this request would be well worth discussing in detail. Can you show us pictures of commercial products that would work for you?
    Below are the bartlett tendons. This knee is considered one of the best for snowboarding and is multi-functional. I also need a foot with some ankle flexion.

    bartlett_tendon.jpg
    bartlett_tendon2.jpeg

    This is my current snowboard knee. It's harder for me to land a jump flat on this vs the bartlett tendon.
    XT9+.jpg


    This is the only climbing foot that I know of. It's cheap enough that I may just buy it.
    ADK climbing foot.jpg

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Roxy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megan View Post
    Below are the bartlett tendons. This knee is considered one of the best for snowboarding and is multi-functional. I also need a foot with some ankle flexion.

    bartlett_tendon.jpg
    bartlett_tendon2.jpeg
    Wow!

    I wonder if a hybrid approach would make sense? I know my 3D-Printer can't do this complexity with the required strength and accuracy. But If I was trying to do this for myself, I might be able to use my 3D-Printer to make molds to cast the parts out of a much higher strength composite material like Fiber-Glass Resin. And in fact, some of these parts are bigger than can really be done by the hobbyist 3D-Printers. But the molds probably could be done in sections for the big parts.

    If that could be made to work, my guess is Fiber-Glass Resin isn't something that your skin is going to like to have in contact with it.

    Note to Self: Stop taking my knees for granted!
    Last edited by Roxy; 09-09-2014 at 07:28 PM.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Geoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxy View Post
    Wow!

    I wonder if a hybrid approach would make sense? I know my 3D-Printer can't do this complexity with the required strength and accuracy. But If I was trying to do this for myself, I might be able to use my 3D-Printer to make molds to cast the parts out of a much higher strength composite material like Fiber-Glass Resin. And in fact, some of these parts are bigger than can really be done by the hobbyist 3D-Printers. But the molds probably could be done in sections for the big parts.

    If that could be made to work, my guess is Fiber-Glass Resin isn't something that your skin is going to like to have in contact with it.

    Note to Self: Stop taking my knees for granted!
    Maybe a cross with some silicone moulding?

    I think the main issue with a leg prosthesis (and boy would I be keen to help) is the size as you said, but considering the weight and torque strength required for the knee joint for example, probably several parts with fixings would be stronger.

    Also, with all this flexible filament experimentation, I think it's about time someone tries to simulate tendons properly, if you could invent a natural feedback prosthesis that works on super tough artificial tendons, you might be able to achieve a more natural feeling prosthesis.

    While I am lucky enough to still have my legs, I have come close once to losing them both in a car accident and have also broken my left Femur (split right down the middle) and knee, so I have some very small experience at least in the inner workings of at least my knee, it would be interesting to see if something totally new and revolutionary could be done here without all the billions of dollars and research grants.
    Last edited by Geoff; 09-24-2014 at 07:46 PM.

  7. #7
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    The rock climbing foot does look like a solid candidate for 3d printing. Do you happen to know what its made out of? It would have to be durable to support weight on something so abrasive. The bartlet looks incredibly stout, but its all metal, and that's a hydraulic piston for the main movement, rather complex but not impossible. Likely made on a CNC w/billet aluminum.
    On the tendon subject, I was reminded of a few projects for leg augmentation/rehab for injured non-amputees, as seen here:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014...ing-to-leaping
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/tech...-war-9#slide-9

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