In May 2016, 3Design New Zealand was approached by a woman who was searching for a company to 3D print a prosthetic arm for her daughter Paige, who was born without her right hand and forearm. We are a 3D printing studio located in Tauranga, New Zealand, and we had never attempted something like this before. The project was ambitious, and despite our uncertainty over whether we could make the prosthetic, the possibility of helping Paige in any way we could was an opportunity we couldn’t turn away.
Two weeks later, Paige and her mother Genevieve travelled down from Auckland to visit our studio. My business partner and technical director of 3Design, Chad Vorwerk, measured and scanned her left arm and duplicated it into a CAD file so he could start designing her an attachment for her missing forearm and hand on her right arm.
designing her an attachment for her missing forearm and hand on her right arm.
Before starting the design, we searched the internet for any files that may be available to download to save time and money. We came across a website called enabling the future that had a number of pre-designed prosthetic limbs ready to download. After spending 80-90 hours printing all the pieces out and assembling it this was the result.
Two weeks ago, we sent Paige’s new arm to her, which was quickly followed by this message from her mother on Facebook.
“My daughter was born without her right hand. After my mother in law was just looking online, Rob from 3Design contacted us to arrange a visit/discussion. They were extremely patient while they took measurements & scans of her arm. Not only did they make an amazing arm, they also made it in her favourite colours and at no cost. She is so excited to experience the use of both arms, we cannot thank Rob and Chad enough. A video of what she can do will follow soon. Thank you so much guys, what an awesome company!!!”
We’d like to thank Paige and her family for giving us the opportunity to attempt something we’d never done before. The smile on her face shows how the advancement of 3D printing technology can be life changing.