Jan 21, 2015 | By Simon

It’s no secret that 3D printing has revolutionized the prosthetics industry.  When combined with state-of-the-art 3D scanners and 3D modeling software, the ability to accurately create custom-fitted prosthetics digitally and then produce them on-site for a fraction of the cost of pre-existing prosthetics has been nothing short of amazing for both patients and their doctors.

Among other healthcare professionals who are expanding their practice to include 3D printed prosthetics are Tyler Manee and Tyler Dunham of Frederick, Maryland, USA... and they have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help spur the 3D printed prosthetic revolution in hopes that backers will help them purchase their first 3D printer.

While Manee received a bachelors degree in physics from SUNY and Dunham received a bachelors degree in biomechanical engineering from The University of Iowa, both met at Georgia Tech when they were studying for their Masters of Science degrees.  After graduating, the two have established a business as board-certified prosthetists and orthotists.  

Although they are ABC board-certified orthotists and prosthetists with a world-class education, they are quick to admit that their education and training taught them nothing about 3D modeling and additive manufacturing.  Over the past two years, the medical team has been teaching themselves how to become proficient in producing high quality, anatomically accurate and custom orthotic and prosthetic devices.  

“3D printing has been around for a while, and we've all seen stories here and there about someone receiving a 3D printed prosthesis,” writes Manee. “Tyler and I think it's time for 3D printed prostheses to stop being a novelty, and become the standard of care, accessible to anyone.”

When it comes to converting 3D printed prosthesis from a novelty into the standard of care, it’s hard to disagree with Manee and Dunham.  

Up until now, the team has been fortunate to have access to a friend’s Ultimaker 2 3D printer in order to practice their craft and further develop their prosthetic and orthotic prototypes.  They are quick to admit that they have never had to do the 3D printing process alone and that they still have to learn some new skills in order to get to the level of proficiency that they want to be at with 3D printing.   

“With new territory comes new challenges,” writes Manee.  “We will have to learn how to use the new printer, and learn how to make it produce high quality, safe devices. Challenges will be met with support from the printer manufacturer, and our determination to overcome any obstacle between 3D printed devices and our patients.”

In order to revolutionize 3D printed prosthetics, the team wants to not have to rely on industrial-sized printers that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce the prosthetics.  Their goal is to be able to design high-quality prosthetics that can be made on more affordable printers, such as the $9,000 3D printer that they need.

Currently, their only hurdle is the size of the printer that they have access to, which has restricted them to an 8” x 8” x 8” build volume... however almost all of the sockets that they need for their practice are larger than that.  

“We have printed scaled down models to test our methods, but have been unable to produce a life-size device for someone to actually walk on.  The printer we want to buy has a 12"x12"x18" print volume, which would fit roughly 90% of the devices we want to print.  Once we have this printer, we can start the revolution.”

To help inspire the Kickstarter community to  support their 3D printed prosthetic and orthotic revolution, Manee and Dunham are offering some 3D printed goods as a part of the reward packages for their backers.  Among them include a 3D printed prosthetic key chain and a custom 3D printed face mask.  You can head over to their Kickstarter page to find out more.  

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive