Freehand is a project within USC 3D4E, whose mission is to print customizable 3D printed prosthetic hands free of charge for children in need in the Los Angeles area. We work on a case-by case basis, fully evaluating each child’s needs to provide our clients with the prosthetics best suited to them.
We first have a consultation meeting with the client and his or her family to measure the client’s hand dimensions and take note of other important physical characteristics. This allows us to scale and modify the prosthetic design files provided by Enabling the Future to accommodate a patient’s specific needs. We also customize the colors and determine other design parameters for the prosthetic based on the patient’s desires.
In the Lab
Once we finalize the design files, we move on to print out the prosthetic with our 3D printers housed at USC. Each prosthetic requires about 30 individually printed pieces! After the print is complete, the team assembles the hand using other external materials including adjustable straps and padding. We piece them together to allow the prosthetic to comfortably fit on a patient's hand/wrist/arm. We usually update families with photographs of our process during this period!
When the assembly of the prosthetic is finished, we reach out to the patient’s family to arrange a delivery meeting. We ensure that the prosthetic fits, review details of prosthetic ownership and care, and answer any remaining questions.
Enable the Future
The prostheses that we assemble are all based on digital 3D model files created by Enabling the Future, an organization dedicated to promoting the usage and distribution of 3D printed prostheses. If you would like to learn more about them, their website can be found at http://enablingthefuture.org/.