Jun 4, 2015 | By Simon

While we’ve previously been hearing about how 3D printing has helped change the way that prosthetic devices are being made at an extremely low cost and have provided the ability to be customize a prosthetic to the exact needs of a user, the same technology can also be applied to functional leg braces.  

Used commonly after an injury and in some cases due to an illness, leg braces and splints are used to help support limbs that are unable to support a person’s full body weight.  While traditionally-made leg braces and splints have proven to be fully-functional for a wide variety of users, their actual aesthetic value leaves much to be desired.  Aiming to solve this problem once and for all, industrial designer Or Steiner has created a 3D printable design using a Stratasys Objet1000 Multi-material 3D Production System.

Titled the KAFO Splint, Steiner’s fully-customizable and breathable functional leg brace looks more like a fashion accessory than a traditional leg brace - something that many who are in need of a device would surely welcome.  Previously, Steiner spent a significant amount of his time at Israel's Shenkar College of Engineering and Design using 3D printing to develop prototypes for a range of product design concepts, so using the technology to its full advantage was something he knew how to do.   

Although many industrial designers create concept products for their portfolios or to learn more about a product design category, Steiner’s deep-dive into creating a 3D printable leg brace was actually intended as a usable product for an accident victim.  The victim, Ron, has been dependent on a wheelchair or braces in combination with crutches, however the braces were extremely heavy and Ron wasn’t a fan of their aesthetic appearance.  After Steiner was put in touch with Ron, he was able to craft a 3D printed solution that was made especially for Ron but capable of being customized for any other wearer.     

While the KAFO Splint design allows for open airflow and features an overall lightweight design, special consideration was taken to ensure that the leg supports would be able to hold the weight of its user; use of 3D scanning technology allows for the design to be optimized for a person’s specific weight.

After months of iterating through sketches and prototypes, Steiner was finally able to produce a final, working leg brace for Ron that was made in a single print using an Objet1000 Multi-material 3D Production System from Stratasys, which features a one-meter build tray.    

“The main advantages are that it is customized and personalized to the user,” says Steiner. “The 3D print can look like a regular product that was created using injection molding, but it's actually custom made. The design possibilities are great, and the finished product can be very attractive.”

While 3D printed prosthetics are surely among the most exciting developments that are being made these days thanks to additive manufacturing technologies, it’s nice to know that there are people like Steiner looking out for guys like Ron, too.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Sandra D. wrote at 12/28/2018 6:04:09 PM:

I have post polio syndrome. I have a brace now. It’s heavy and I cant put it on by myself. Would like to try these.

Rana roy wrote at 11/22/2018 11:56:58 AM:

Sir kindly told me the price. I need this product

Sandra Bridge wrote at 7/14/2018 2:34:23 PM:

My fiancé had a stroke and I would like to get one of these for him based on this physiotherapist recommendations. How can we get in contact with you to order this.

Mima Jackal wrote at 6/13/2018 3:22:19 PM:

Where can I find Mr Or Steiner, because I’m a polio victim and I could be one of his clients ?

christian lemus wrote at 4/5/2018 5:42:36 PM:

mi email elrotulo@yahoo.es kafos para mi hijo con espina bifida guatemala, guatemala kafos for my son with spina bifida gracias

Javier Del valle wrote at 3/11/2018 1:05:35 AM:

I need a pair just like these.Been using braces all my life ,Just tired of having bruses and red spots all over,I have never had any braces that will make me say wow i feel great in these.Just the most recent ones i had they never fitted the correct way just gave up to the ides of ever having some braces kafo splint that will make me happy .If you can tell me where i can have one of these will be very gladly appreciated.My email is maui00662@gmail.com

Stephen Fletcher, D.O. wrote at 3/10/2018 7:52:12 PM:

my granddaughter has the first diagnosed rare nerve disease called a GARS defect. She is quadriparetic with scoliosis. Can move some and I think with good brace she might could stand. This is all she wants to be able to stand until her gene therapy can help her. I live in Houston and can come to you. I am a pediatric neurosurgeon here at UT in Houston. The typical AFO braces are a joke that the rehab people keep suggesting. Any company that could help would be appreciated Stephen.fletcher@uth.tmc.edu

Brenda Fondon wrote at 2/20/2018 8:38:26 PM:

My daughter is 37 had a car accident 21 years ago. She needs a kfo and I ran across your brace. She has drop foot hasn't been able to bring it up to a 90 degree so cant walk without a brace. She also has problems with her knee hyper extending so she needs a brace that will lock as not to let it extend.

Lonni wrote at 10/22/2017 9:01:32 AM:

These look wonderful! Hello. I am a middle aged woman with Ehlers-Danlos hypermobility/instability and increasing mobility problems (right hip can turn so that my foot can be rotated almost completely around with the toes facing behind me) and my kneecap on the same leg has migrated to face inward due to ligament laxity and osteoarthritis. There is also tibial torsion with lateral ankle instability (valgus) so that the entire(right) leg is becoming very twisted. Favoring this leg and supporting most of my weight on the opposite (left) leg while standing causes the kneed to flex backward. My physical therapist also noticed that the left knee is beginning to migrate inward, as well. He asked if I had considered bracing. Can this type of brace help with lateral and also front-to-back knee/ankle realignment and stablization?

Sue Robinson wrote at 7/11/2017 10:24:58 PM:

I would love more information about this please. I have post polio syndrome and need a good user friendly KAFO

Julie wrote at 3/12/2017 6:56:47 AM:

Are these available? I am in a brace for a fractured kneecap- they are s not made for women! I want one of these!

ANDY wrote at 1/22/2017 2:01:26 AM:

I would like some information on how to buy these my email is andygmz1988@gmail.com

Alexandre Dehout wrote at 7/22/2016 11:52:46 PM:

Hello, I 'm disable myself (walk with crutches). Could you tell my where I could get my hands on the 3D files of these amazing leg braces ? So I could 3D printed them here at home (Belgium) to my exact mesurements. thank you for your work :) Alex

Stacy wrote at 7/13/2016 4:25:42 PM:

I would like info on how to orders this. My mom had a recent surgery on her leg and the traditional leg brace never seems to stay up on her thigh. Thanks Stacy My email is slh023sh@gmail.com

Tara wrote at 6/23/2016 6:29:38 AM:

Please contact me at delhiasdesigns@gmail.com. I would like these for my daughter with lower limb paralysis.

Diana Quezada wrote at 4/27/2016 8:54:53 PM:

My email is jakie.quezadar@gmail.com Please send me information on how do I order these for left leg for my sister . Thanks.

Prem P. Sharma wrote at 4/11/2016 4:29:42 PM:

My email is - prempps@yahoo.co.uk Please send me information on how do I order these. Thanks.

Cece wrote at 3/13/2016 6:20:35 AM:

My email is - cecekc@gmail.com Please send me information on how do I order these. Thanks!

Michail wrote at 2/23/2016 10:18:04 AM:

I live in Haifa and have MD (scapulaperoneal bilateral). I use an AFO but have difficulty walking (balance) and standing straight. Available to be a beta subject for any advances in technology, Please contact me asap michail at mashedpixel dot com

Michael Pecorella wrote at 1/3/2016 11:24:13 PM:

I would like to communicate with Mr.Or Steiner about his design KAFO and talk to him about the work that we are currently doing with body dynamics and 3D printing. Would you please direct him to me if possible. Thank you.

Shyama wrote at 10/27/2015 1:19:07 PM:

My email is -bubblypmch@gmail.com

Shyama wrote at 10/27/2015 12:46:04 PM:

Hi!! My name is Shyama I have post polio residual paralysis in my right leg.use to wear braces initially but they were heavy and I was very uncomfortable wearing so left wearing many yrs back but now I think I really need to wear them so as to prevent other complications I quite like the design and concept . Can I get them for myself..It would be wonderful if I can get something light weight and comfortable..

Helen wrote at 9/20/2015 10:57:06 AM:

Can you please help my husband with these. They would transform our lives.

Tara wrote at 9/7/2015 5:59:17 AM:

I would like to get braces like these made for my 6 year old daughter with corrected club feet and lower limb paralysis. She is currently using standard, heavy KAFO's and I want something lighter and more comfortable for her. Thanks! These look amazing! Tara

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