Apr 12, 2017 | By Tess

ARC Hub PNH, Cambodia’s first and only 3D printing company, has been putting the technology to very good use in the South Asian country. Through a recent partnership with the Victoria Hand Project (a Canadian 3D printed prosthetic NGO), ARC Hub PNH has created and deployed a series of twenty-five 3D printed prosthetics, each of which has gone to a survivor of a landmine explosion.

To this day, Cambodia has one of the highest casualty rates from landmines in the world, and an estimated 40,000 people in the country have suffered an amputation from the hidden explosive devices. The harsh situation is the result several decades of war in the nation, which has left a lasting legacy in the form of millions of explosives hidden in rural areas.

Of course, while 25 3D printed prosthetics may seem a bit far off from helping the 40,000 in need, the initiative is at least a good start. According to ARC Hub PNH, which was founded by American-Cambodian brothers Ki How and Ki Chong Tran, the collaboration with the Victoria Hand Project is a pilot for the creation of more 3D printed medical devices.

“When I started ARC Hub PNH, it was difficult figuring out the best way to utilize 3D printing,” explained Tran. “You have this technology that can create countless things, but what do you create? What’s something that will show people the potential of 3D printing and help them understand how beneficial it can be? As time went on, I saw news about kids 3D printing prosthetics for kids, and it became clear to me what we should focus on: prosthetics and education.”

The 3D printed hand prosthetics, which were designed by the Victoria Hand Project, were 3D printed out of a biodegradable plastic and assembled at ARC Hub PNH’s headquarters, a process which took roughly 40 hours and cost only $320 per hand. Once complete, the 3D printed devices were dispatched to 25 recipients, one of whom was 51-year-old Bun Vibol, who lost his right hand during the Cambodian Civil War.

51-year-old Bun Vibol is being fitted with his new 3D printed hand prosthetic

Vibol, who is featured in this video, can be seen operating the 3D printed prosthetic by using his shoulder, as he is even able to grab and pick up simple objects. “It’s the first time I’ve had a hand like this. I feel like I was born again,” he says in the video.

ARC Hub PNH was founded in 2013 by the Tran brothers, who packed up their lives in L.A. and moved to their motherland Cambodia to start a 3D printing business. The decision was inspired by both the potential they saw in the technology and their want to introduce it to Cambodia and the Cambodian people. To this day, the startup remains the only established 3D printing company in the country, though it has seen success and has grown substantially.

One of ARC Hub PNH’s biggest achievements is its education initiative, through which it has set up a 3D printing curriculum to help teach children about the technology and encourage STEM subjects. This project is being realized in collaboration with the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF).

“We’re working with the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) on this,” said Ki How Tran. “I taught my assistant how to use the 3D design software and how to continue teaching the curriculum. Today, he has his own 3D printing/3D design classroom in a new high-tech school created for the Cambodian Children’s Fund.”

Additionally, the company has provided an important resource to the country by offering not only 3D printing services, but also consulting and training in the areas of CAD design and additive manufacturing. For the Tran brothers, it has been an amazing experience watching their small startup grow into a movement of sorts.

The 3D printed hand initiative is just the next step for the Cambodian 3D printing startup.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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