Nov 4, 2015 | By Alec

3D printing technology has repeatedly proven itself as a fantastic manufacturing option for custom made prosthetics, but it sometimes seems as though that’s a happy coincidence; that you can use your 3D printer for prosthetics with a bit of ingenuity, but that’s certainly not the main purpose. But why not? With the hundreds of thousands of people in the world that could benefit from 3D printed prosthetics, shouldn’t the industry itself specifically include them in their target group too? Well, that’s exactly what Chinese 3D printing giants QingDao Unique Technology must have been thinking. At the Global Conference on Assistive Devices & Technology Industry in China, Unique Technology unveiled the world’s first 3D printer designed specifically for prosthetics production.

QingDao Unique, of course, has been manufacturing and developing a very wide variety of 3D printers over the last few years. Their focus goes all the way from basic educational models (with the MagiCube incidentally unveiled a few days ago), to the development and implementation of 3D printing technology at the forefront of biomedical innovation and digitization. As such they have been actively involved in 3D printing prosthetics for a while, and are now capable of developing prosthetic limbs that mimic the functional technology level of existing limbs. Even the skin properties are similar to human skin, all with the goal of giving people with disabilities more convenience and confidence when living their lives.

And that, essentially, is what this new 3D printer seeks to manufacture. With this large scale, multi-material 3D printer, QingDao Unique is developing a process for creating custom, personalized 3D printed prosthetics. Among their features are full-motion joints – enabling a normal gait comparable to other people, a similar skin, and very tough yet flexible pads that perfectly fit. What’s more, the prototypes have been extensively tested to ensure pressure equalization.

Using lightweight 3D printable materials, these prosthetics even weigh as little as a third of conventional options and are even manufactured very quickly. Data acquisition can be completed in as little as a minute, shortening prosthetic production cycles by up to a third of the time. What’s more, they are cheap – costing as little as half of a traditional prosthetic, which definitely isn’t bad considering the quality.

At the conference, QingDao Unique also showcased a wide variety of 3D printed prosthetics, as well as rehabilitation equipment and even prototypes for wheelchairs capable of climbing stairs. The latter also featured in a conversation between Wang Hong, CEO of QingDao Unique, and Zhang Haidi, Chairperson of China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF). ‘Our goal is to develop the world's first 3D printed super lightweight carbon fiber wheelchair before the end of the year, and as a gift we will provide one to Zhang Haidi,’ the manufacturer’s CEO said.

In short, it seems that QingDao Unique is really serious with their focus on prosthetics and have the hardware to back it up. Perhaps it’s time to rethink the idea that 3D printing technology is only good for low-cost, basic hand prosthetics. The full specifics of the upcoming prosthetics 3D printer from QingDao Unique can be found below.

  •  Forming Process:FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
  • Dimension of Equipment: 1000*1000*1300mm
  • Printing Dimension: 400*600*750mm
  • Thickness of Layer:0.1mm-0.4mm
  • Speed of Motion Axes:90-120mm/s
  • Nozzle Flow Velovity:about 24cc/hour
  • Nozzle Temperature:10-260°C
  • Heating Chassia Temperature:10-120°C
  • Positioning Precision:Z:0.0025mm, XY:0.001mm
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Applicable Materials: PLA / ABS / Wax Filament, Elastic material
  • Software Supports:Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP
  • Voltage:INPUT: 100-240V, 50/60Hz, 4.0A; OUTPUT:221W



Posted in 3D Printer



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