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3D Printing Replacement Hands

3D Printing Replacement Hands

The loss of four fingers on his right hand, prompted Richard Van As to manufacture a replacement set of fingers. Using a 3D printer, the project created working robo-hands and is now producing hands for kids that were born without hands or fingers.

MakerBot and Robohand — 3D Printing Mechanical Hands – [youtube.com]

When Richard Van As, a woodworker in South Africa, decided to make a set of mechanical fingers, it wasn’t just for fun. He’d lost four of the fingers on his right hand in an unfortunate work accident. For a carpenter, a disabled hand is a big professional risk, so Richard decided on the day of the incident that he would use the tools available to him to remedy his situation. Watch the inspiring video above to hear how Richard’s project, Robohand, is changing lives with patience, spirit, and a MakerBot Replicator 2.

Robohand – Customised Mechanical Fingers and Hands – [robohand.blogspot.com]

A Heartfelt “Thanks”
We at Robohand are very humbled by the response we’ve had to the Press Release done by MakerBot. We are in awe that so many people have shared, tweeted and posted all over the internet, our story and our journey.

We have had an overwhelming number of people contact us to offer their help in printing out hands for people. We appreciate the gestures and are tying to co-ordinate a “Helping Hands” database of people around the globe. Our hope is that this database will grow and grow and more people all over the world will be in a position to print hands for people.

For the enthusiast, you don’t need our permission! The files are fee and available so if you know of someone that could use a hand, please extend yours, and offer them the help. This journey was never about making money but if everyone person who owned a 3D printer created one hand for someone, we could make a magnitude of difference in so many lives.

Pay It Forward!

Mechanical Hands From A MakerBot: The Magic Of Robohand – [makerbot.com]

MakerBot heard about the Robohand project in January 2013. Richard had been trading ideas with Ivan Owen, a collaborator in Washington State, for several months. Ivan used his prior experience with mechanical prop hands to make design suggestions, while Richard attempted to replicate the designs in his workshop.

The process was taking weeks and months per cycle. For us here at MakerBot, that was too much wasted time. We knew our 3D printer, the MakerBot Replicator 2, could take this important work to new heights. We saw their collaboration and the work they were doing as groundbreaking, and we asked Ivan and Richard to accept a donation from us: a MakerBot Replicator 2 for each of them, one in Washington, and another in South Africa.

If the tool was useful to them, we hoped they would share their work on Thingiverse.com for the world to download. It turns out the MakerBots were incredibly useful, and the guys have followed through on their promise. Just hours after they received their packages from us here in Brooklyn, the two collaborators were sharing files back and forth, testing the design in one place and doing another iteration on the other side of the world. Richard says it took the prototyping process down from weeks to just 20 minutes.

But that’s only half the story.

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