Feb.16, 2014

A year ago carpenter Richard van As, together with Ivan Owen in Seattle, developed RoboHand that has helped hundreds of people who can't afford expensive prosthetics. Now van As is back with another invention - RoboBeast - a rugged, ultra robust 3D printer specially designed for taking prosthetic hands into conflict zones and areas of extreme poverty.

Richard Van As, a South African carpenter, lost four fingers from his right hand to a circular saw two years ago. He was unable to afford the tens of thousands of dollars to get a myoelectric hand. After seeing a video posted online of a mechanical hand made for a costume in a theater production, he reached out to its designer, Ivan Owen. The RoboHand is a device that Van As and Owen invented that is made from cables, screws, 3D printing and thermoplastic. Van As has fitted RoboHands on about 170 people, from toddlers to adults, thanks to donations.

When he started making hands for people around the world, van As became frustrated with the limited build bed and minor issues with his 3D printer. He decided to make his own.

His RoboBeast is designed to be a toughened 3D printer. "It requires no set-up software tweaks, or mechanical adjustment of the frame before you print." htxt.africa reported. Designed to help amputees in rough environment of developing countries, it can be moved around during operation and still print if flipped upside down.

Van As and team at House4Hack spent last two and a half months working on the RoboBeast. It is a RepRap-type printer but it uses mostly cut-to-order aluminium struts and a custom milled extruder instead of 3D printed parts to make it more durable and robust. The electronics which drive the printer are all off-the-shelf components.

RoboBeast's first print

The RoboBeast 3D printer is capable of building parts larger than 200x200x200mm. The extruder head uses similar software as Quentin Harley's RepRap Morgan so it will also be able to calibrate itself to compensate for movement regardless of whether or not the machine is level.

The printer also includes a touchscreen and USB port for easy operation. RoboBeast comes with a SD card loaded with preconfigured RoboHand models in a variety of sizes, so users can start printing immediately by only taping the correct size on the touchscreen.

For its final design van As plans to equip the RoboBeast with a battery that will power the machine for up to five hours on a single charge - that's almost the same time it takes to print an adult RoboHand.

The total material cost of the RoboBeast is around R27,000 ($2,500). The 3D printer still needs to go through a few tests before it can be sold on the market. van As is planning its first big test during his excursion to take RoboHand to harsh places where it is sorely needed.


Posted in 3D Printers



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Raphael Kubeka wrote at 4/28/2015 1:05:32 PM:

Price list please!

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