Helping Hands

3D Printed Prosthetics for Children at Norwich Castle

3D printed prosthetics

Additive Manufacturing brings happiness to children at a new exhibition at Norwich Castle, in the form of 3D printed prosthetic hands.

3d printed prostheticsAn exhibition at Norwich Castle called Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing is creating artificial hands for children with missing limbs.

The hand, called the Raptor Reloaded, is made up of 31 parts from polylactic acid (PLA) which is a biodegradable thermoplastic. e-NABLE provided the design for the prosthetic and volunteers are helping to fabricate the prosthetics.

The Raptor Reloaded works whenever the child flexes their wrist downwards, this triggers elastic cords which are attached to the prosthetic fingers to tighten meaning the child can grup and flex.

The benefit of this 3D printed hand is that unlike an advanced medical model, the materials only cost £10.

Hannah Higham is the curator of modern and contemporary art at Norwich Castle. She told the Eastern Daily Press:

“The problem with child prosthetics is that they are expensive and need to be replaced as the child grows. But with these, when the child grows in a year, they can just make another one. The important part is to teach families how to make one themselves.”

What’s Next for these 3D Printed Prosthetics?

norwichThe castle currently has three 3D printers each one cost around £1,800. The hands take around 30 hours to create and once each piece has been printed, the pieces are assembled manually.

Eight families visited the exhibit to find out more. Rob Baker wanted to see how a hand could help his three year old daughter Grace. He said: “We would like to have one printed to see what Grace can do with it. It will be fascinating to see.”

While the project is due to end in December, members of Norwich Hackspace will receive one of the 3D printers. Marion Catlin, one of the founders of Norwich Hackspace, said that if the group had the resources, it could continue making the limbs.

“The guys here are quite curious about what they can do with the hands. They want to know what happens if you add motors or add lights to them. There is an opportunity to embellish them.”

Norwich Castle, a medieval fortification, was originally built by Normans as a royal palace and is now a museum. From October 3rd to January 3rd 2016, the castle will host the Build Your Own exhibit, which is also offering works and displays by numerous makers, artists, and technologists.

Anyone in the Norwich area who’s interested in having a 3D hand printed for their child should contact the castle this week on +44 (0) 1603 493649.