Utilizing 3D Printing to Overcome Life-Threatening Sickness and Damage

Our July 2019 Hacker of the Month is Ian Davis from Medford, Oregon, the place he works as a prototype design engineer and metal fabricator. Since changing into an early adopter of 3D printing again in 2012 along with his buy of a MakerBot Replicator, Ian has refined his design, prototyping, and manufacturing expertise to assist him along with his present undertaking; making a prosthetic for the lacking digits on his left hand.

Sadly, Ian needed to undergo a ‘sack of suck’ (his phrases!) that turned him onto the design path he’s presently on. He was identified with a number of myeloma in October 2017 – a blood most cancers that assaults plasma cells, and accumulates in bone marrow, crowding out wholesome blood cells. In 2018 we underwent a 21-day cycle of radiation remedies to stabilize the vertebrae that have been deteriorating from quite a few tumors, adopted by 3 rounds of heavy chemotherapy, in addition to a stem cell transplant. He spent a lot of the 12 months dwelling in a hospital and was extraordinarily unwell. In August, after the crucial 100-day post-transplant not dying interval, he began consolidation therapy; low dose chemotherapy with a six-hour infusion as soon as per week.

After this, Ian was lastly in a position to get out of the hospital and return to work. Sadly, he skilled a piece accident in November of 2018. “I didn’t let go quick sufficient and caught my hand in a machine at my store breaking the proximal bones of my index and center fingers. I discovered a hand specialist to surgically restore my work, however the stem cell transplant had left me with a really compromised immune system. Sadly, an infection set in and I used to be not responding to the antibiotics, bone an infection become blood an infection, then septicemia, then gangrene, adopted by the assertion we have to take your fingers off otherwise you’re going to die.” After a number of weeks of dropping his fingers one after the other to an infection, the medical crew was in a position to get forward of the an infection and saved his thumb and metacarpals.

However Ian is product of stern stuff – he started designing his prosthetic in January – simply weeks after dropping his closing digits. “I went by means of many alternative renditions various from 4 phalanges to 2 phalanges. After a pile of experimentation I settled on a compromise of a two phalange system, it provided significantly extra power than the 4 phalange model and allowed me to position the motors throughout the proximal space. It additionally allowed the entire system to be from wrist ahead, nothing mounted on my forearm.”

Ian articulates his prosthetic by bending my wrist. “I take advantage of a easy lever and teeter totters to distribute and stability the load. I additionally use elastic bands on the again of the fingers and a torsion spring within the distal to return them to ‘house’ place. I even have a torsion spring within the lever that holds it at a midpoint that barely curls the fingers. It is simply the place I’ve the endpoints set at that makes it onerous to see that it’s wrist powered. I push to straighten the fingers all the best way and pull to understand. Using the 15 chain makes the system a compliant mechanism, being that if it meets with resistance within the open place the chains will slack and permit the fingers to bend out of the best way and never break. I’ve been operating with it for a couple of week and a half now with fairly good success. I get a variety of discover and questions on it after I’m out and about.”

Ian designs all his work in AutoCAD and has been since 1989. He additionally has a long time of expertise working in manufacturing and manufacturing of working and prototype fashions in steel and plastic. “Since I’ve began in plastic 3D manufacturing, I’ve made varied enhancements to machines to enhance both wanted job-specific performance or to assist within the manufacturing of different elements. I’ve used 3D printing to make fixturing jigs for my 3-axis CNC milling machine. Generally you simply want a bit extra help to carry a fancy half and a 3D printed anchor is a fast and economical approach to obtain that.”

Ian has used his design expertise for quite a few purposes; “In my enterprise, I’ve made substitute automobile elements which might be now not in manufacturing and onerous to search out, working from the remnant half to create a substitute half. From NylonX I’ve made the adjustable clutch pressure gear set for a mid-‘80’s Ford Bronco; a horrible design that wears and strips, after which your automobile is parked. I’ve additionally made customized vents and lightweight housing.”

He has additionally created many little knick-knacks for round the home, various from mirror brackets and bathe curtain rings to miniatures and collectible figurines.

Total, Ian has designed and created tons of of things for an enormous number of functions, and he sees additive manufacturing as a significant component within the growth of his prosthetic. “Additive manufacturing has allowed me to design and fabricate elements that in any other case can be

tough to supply utilizing different typical manufacturing processes. I’ve additionally tailored the identical course of concept utilized in 3D printing to different CNC machines. As an example, I’ve connected a customized straight MIG gun to my CNC plasma to ‘weld 3D print’, both to automate a manufacturing welding course of or to additive-weld a boss or characteristic to later be milled into dimensional necessities. I’ve additionally used this so as to add weld element to a decorative iron railing, something from particulars on flowers to leaves on flowers.”

Ian presently works along with his OG MakerBot Replicator, in addition to a SeeMeCNC Rostock v2 and a Peopoly Moai 130 for extremely detailed work. He additionally has a big format 3D printer that he designed particularly for his store.

Lots of the designs that Ian creates name for ABS and carbon-fiber infused NylonX filament. He does use post-processing for his useful elements, primarily gentle sanding and acetone wipes to easy out layer traces.

What new developments does Ian hope to see from 3D printing? “Sooner or later, I’d like to see resins and filament high quality and adhesion enhance in order that “actual” elements may be made utilizing this course of relatively than de-rated power elements. The method during which additive manufactured elements are created is inherently the reason for the weak spot; layer by layer creation is the place failure normally happens within the plastic replica elements. You’ll be able to mitigate that to some extent by half orientation and the way the filament is laid all the way down to construct the half, however there’s nonetheless a built-in weak spot within the half.”

However Ian does see that entry to 3D printing and design software program far more open now than prior to now. “With the drop in machine value from the place it was after I began, the accessibility to machines and software program is de facto to the place the place anybody can digitally design. I believe that the true drawback is that the maker tradition and ideally suited is, sadly, a really small market sector in comparison with the straight-up client market. Being contained in the maker tradition you don’t see it as a lot since you are surrounded by like-minded makers, however once you cope with most people you understand that most individuals are pleased with what is obtainable to the market relatively than having the spark to create one thing customized and distinctive.”

Ian’s future plans are to enhance upon his designs for his prosthetic, not only for himself, however for others as properly. “My most important focus presently is to interrupt into the bio-med engineering market to additional prosthetic design and growth. Development within the design of prosthetic fingers hasn’t seen a dramatic enchancment in a long time. Implementing present developments with microprocessors and sensors might actually assist restore performance and sense to a lacking limb.”

We look ahead to seeing the ultimate product of Ian’s efforts, and the way he can modify his prosthetic for varied different purposes.

You’ll be able to comply with Ian’s progress on his new builds and design iterations on his YouTube channel right here:


Are you a 3D printing Hacker or know somebody that’s? We’d like to share their story with the 3D printing neighborhood! Please electronic mail chris.morgan@matterhackers.com with info, and also you or your pal may very well be our featured Hacker of the Month.