Sep 6, 2016 | By Benedict

Marco Avaro of WASPmedical has produced 3D printed prostheses for two Italian athletes with disabilities, canoeist Veronica Yoko Plebani, who received a 3D printed handbrace, and surfer Fabrizio Passetti who was given a carbon fiber prosthesis.

Surfer Fabrizio Passetti

While Veronica Yoko Plebani prepares for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, Fabrizio Passetti finalizes his plans for the ISA World Adaptive Surfing Championship in La Jolla, California. Both decorated Italian athletes have a shot at glory, and both will use 3D printed prostheses from WASPmedical when they enter their respective competitions.

Marco Avaro, the WASPmedical engineer behind the two 3D printed prostheses, has worked hard to create customized, high-strength prostheses for both Plebani and Passetti. To carry out the project, the engineer used two different kinds of 3D printers from WASP, the company behind the large-scale Big Delta 3D printer.

Paralympic canoeist Veronica Yoko Plebani

While Avaro has not needed to use a large-scale printer for his watersport-ready prostheses, he has made use of two other WASP machines: the DeltaWASP 40 70, and the DeltaWASP 20 40, of which he had three. Using the four WASP 3D printers, Avaro produced two customized prostheses for the two athletes. “I’ve made a hand brace for Veronica,” Avaro said. “Fabrizio instead needs a carbon fiber prosthesis for high-level performance in extreme conditions.”

The 3D printed arm brace and leg prosthesis were produced at Del Bene Fabio, an orthopedic lab in Trieste, Italy. Not only did Avaro use high-quality WASP 3D printers, but he also chose specialist 3D printing materials out of which he could create durable, resistant prostheses. “This work is based on using high-quality filaments, produced by TreeD Filaments, and fast and accurate printers manufactured by WASP,” Avaro explained. “Today, 3D printing has become extremely accurate and sophisticated. We’re printing objects with tolerances of 0.2 mm.”

Both recipient athletes have experience in their respective sports, but Avaro and WASP hope that the new prostheses will help them achieve their fullest sporting potential. Plebani, a 20-year-old canoeist and snowboarder, was born in Brescia in 1996 and competed at the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. Rio 2016 will be her first summer Paralympics. Passetti, a surfer, had his leg amputated at the age of 18 after a motorcycle accident, and has been competing in adaptive surfing events ever since.

The 3D printed prostheses

Both of the 3D printed medical devices have undergone thorough testing in order to meet the strict regulations demanded of such a product. All 3D printing materials used have been certified for medical use, and WASPmedical is now writing specifications for the devices. Avaro is currently experimenting with a new extrusion system, the Full Metal Extruder. “Its peculiarity is to homogenize prints, making a strong and tenacious product,” the engineer said. “I’m very satisfied–it’s a bulldog.”

The paracanoe events at the 2016 Paralympics take place on September 14 and 15. The 2016 World Adaptive Surfing Championship takes place December 8-11. We'll be sure to tune in to see how the two Italian athletes do. 

Digitally modelling the 3D printed prostheses



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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