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  1. #1

    Extension assist glove

    I noticed that this is in the wrong forum and don't know how to delete or move it. If admin, please feel free to remove it from here. Sorry..

    I've got Charcot Marie Tooth disease. If you're not familiar with that, It's a hereditary neuromuscular condition that causes muscles in your extremities to atrophy. Particularly in the hands and feet. I wear Allard Toe-Off braces on my legs for foot drop and they have changed my life. My hands are still a problem though. My fingers want to curl up into a fist and I can't straighten them without touching them with my other hand. That limits me in a great many ways and I have had to get creative. This entire message was typed with my two thumbs for instance since I can't even hunt and peck with my index fingers anymore. Typing by touch was never an option even when I was young. I do have a decent enough grip however. I'm lucky enough to still be able to work, but it would be AMAZING if there were a device that would help me open my hands and straighten my fingers. Something like an articulated glove that I could wear that had some sort of "spring assist" in the joints to give me a little bit of help. Perhaps leaf or torsion springs. Maybe even rubber hands. I don't know. I recently got a 3d printer and it got me thinking. I see that there is a community of people working on stuff like this so I thought I'd ask if someone might be interested in looking into it. I don't have any 3d modeling talent beyond the most basic of designs. Medical devices are just so expensive too... To be able to order some parts, print and assemble what I need. Wow.. Anyway, that's it. Thanks for reading. Feel free to ask any questions that you may have.
    Last edited by mushroombrew; 01-22-2020 at 04:44 PM.

  2. #2
    Staff Engineer
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    There is an organization for which there is a web site:

    I was lucky enough to attend a presentation at our local library by this group. The web site indicates that the efforts are for children, but I suspect that they may be able to assist you, even if it is only to point you in the right direction for additional resources.

    If you find aspects of the project you are undertaking to be problematic, be sure to post your questions here, as I follow this forum and enjoy assisting when I can. I frequently wish I had more design skills, in order to develop models of this nature. My skill set is but a drop in the ocean of 3D printing design.

  3. #3
    Thank you for the reply. They're doing some very advanced work. That's awesome. We live in an exciting time.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    where do you live ?
    I can think of a number of ways to do this.
    But, as with all things customised it's bloody difficult without the person's limbs in attendance :-)

    Something as simple as a basic exo skeletal 'glove' with elastic bands, would probably work. And the beauty of elastic bands is that you can easily adjust tension and they are dirt cheap and simple to change or replace.

    what 3d printer do you have ?

    And have you got someone to do any fine fitting or toolwork when making the 'gloves' ?

  5. #5

  6. #6
    I have a Creality CR-10 v2 and a Qidi X-one2 and I live in Cleveland, Tennessee. I have a E3D V6 hot end that I need to install on the CR-10 v2 along with a steel nozzle. After that upgrade I'll be able to print in carbon fiber fill and polycarbonate. I would probably be able to do any fab work myself. I have a reasonably equipped workshop and my wife gladly joins in whenever I don't have the dexterity to complete a task. My condition isn't so bad that I have lost functionality completely, but I see the muscles in my hand tightening more and more each year and it has me somewhat concerned. Fiddly tasks can be unbelievably frustrating. Let me tell you how embarrassing a handshake can be when your fingers curl up inside the other person's hand. smh... I can certainly see how designing something like that would be difficult without having the patient present though. If it would help, I can take very detailed measurements of my hands with calipers. I've been watching some tutorial videos on Blender but oh boy is it complicated. I have made a few simple things with tinkercad, but it lacks the functionality that I would wind up needing to make something like this (Or maybe I just lack the talent). I've included an image of my hand to better illustrate what's going on. That's as open as I can get it without stretching it repeatedly. It' resume that shape as soon as I let go. Other than that and the atrophied appearance, it's fairly average in all regards. A lot ofpeople ask if I have rheumatoid arthritis since my knuckles appear swollen. I don't. No arthritis of any kind. Hopefully it'll stay that way.

    Last edited by mushroombrew; 02-18-2020 at 07:49 PM.

  7. #7
    Those are some interesting concepts. I love thingiverse but yeah it has been pretty sluggish as of late. I may wind up making one of those or at least a part of one.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator curious aardvark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    well what I was thinking was a leather base, with the exoskeleton attached.

    The easy way to go would be to find some cheap, thin leather gloves and attach the elasticated exoskeleton fingers to the backs of the fingers.
    Yeah it'd look weird.
    But it would be pretty easy to do and and you don't need to go into the whole prosthetic limb aspect.
    Just sprung 'joints' along the bacl of the glove fingers.
    If you cut the tips of the glove fingers off - then you have fingertip feeling.

    Kinda like the 'fingerless' gloves I'm wearing now (it's bloody cold in my workshop this time of year). But longer as you want them to extend most of the way along the final section of the finger. So cutting the tips from normal gloves is a much simpler option.

    The exoskeleton could simply be stitched or glued to the back of the glove fingers.

    Also makes it dead simple to put on and take off - although on reflection, how easily can you put on gloves ?
    You could also apply the same principle to any kind of glove. garden gloves, dog walking gloves etc

    Have a look at openscad - I find it much much easier to work with than all the gui based 'drawing' cad programs.

    It works purely on you telling it what to draw and where.

    A lot of it depends on how your brain works - if you visualise things in 3d but can't draw in 2d (like me) it's soooo much easier to use than a wysiwig based cad package.
    Last edited by curious aardvark; 02-19-2020 at 03:13 PM.

  9. #9
    The gloves are a good idea. I'm not really concerned if it looks weird. I just figure that if I can stand to keep them on for 4-6 hours a day or even while I sleep then maybe the tendons in my hands will relax a bit and restore some dexterity. Thin leather gloves would be fine, but I wanted to throw this out there since you mentioned it: I can get as many pairs of these gloves (see image) as I would ever need for free. We call them "kevlars" since they are cut resistant, but I somewhat doubt that they actually have any kevlar in them. Somewhat stretchy and they have a rubberized underside for better grip. Think that might work? As you suspected, some especially tight gloves are almost impossible for me to get on, but I have to wear the "kevlars" just about every day at work anyway, so they're fine. I'm going to have a look at openscad. The concept of rapid prototyping is extremely exciting to me and I feel as if I am missing out by not being able to actually engineer anythingI'm just curious, but what country do you live in? You said it's "bloody cold" and that has me thinking UK even though they're not the only ones that use that expression. :/ Back in the '90s I watched a British TV show called "The Secret Life of Machines" by Tim Hunkin and Rex Garrod. Still one of my favorites. (And upon looking up Rex to make sure I spelled his name right, I found out that he passed last year. That really sucks. He seemed like a very cool guy.)

  10. #10
    And I forgot to include an image of the glove.


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