Jan.25, 2014

3D printing and open-sourced design process is enabling motivated individuals to collaborate in new and exciting ways. Two men living on opposite sides of the planet have teamed up to design and build prosthetic hands for growing children through the combination of low-cost 3D printing and designs that grow with them.

Mechanical special effects artist Ivan Owen is based in Bellingham, Washington. Born in a small town in Alaska and raised in Redmond, he is a life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest. He operates MechMadness Designs, a costume and special effects company where he creates a wide range of art, but is particularly fond of re-purposing items into post-apocalyptic armor and creating unusual mechanical gadgets and musical instruments.

However, his focus now is based primarily around 3D printing and the positive effect that it can have on our future. Teamed up with Richard van As of South Africa, which lost four of his fingers in a sawing accident, the duo made a mechanical replacement for Richard and also build a 3D-printed prosthetic hand for a five-year old named Liam, who was born with no fingers on his right hand. Van As have published the design on Makerbot's Thingiverse site as a digital file that can be used to produce the parts in a 3D printer. They have intentionally made the design public domain.

In addition to this Owen has worked with the University of Washington MESA Foundation to give their teachers basic knowledge in the area of 3D printing and design and how to carry it over to their sixth to twelfth grade students. Watch below Owen's speech "Life enhancing prosthetics - 3D printed and open sourced" at TEDxRainier in Seattle on November 9, 2013.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Colleen von Stein wrote at 3/12/2018 3:18:19 AM:

HI I am writing to ask on behalf of a 15 year old girl who recently had both feet amputated due to complications from illness. Can you make prosthetic feet & lower legs on your 3D printer? This beautiful girl nearly died several times, was placed into induced comas and wasn't expected to live. She has endured many operations and invasive treatments and now faces a future without her lower legs. I have heard that you make funky fun limb attachments for kids in all different colours. Is this something you can help with? I love what uou are doing. You are inspirational! If you can help, I am happy to share more information and more details. kind regards Colleen von Stein Australia

Nancy Larsen wrote at 4/27/2015 11:45:42 PM:

Hello: My name is Nancy Larsen and I would like to have Owen speak at my Kiwanis Club in Bellingham. We meet on Tuesdays at the Bellingham Golf and Country Club. Would that be possible? My email is nancy@whatcomskagithousing.com. Thanks, Nancy

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