Functional evaluation of a non-assembly 3D-printed hand prosthesis

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In developing countries, the access of amputees to prosthetic devices is very limited. In a way to increase accessibility of prosthetic hands, we have recently developed a new approach for the design and 3D printing of non-assembly active hand prostheses using inexpensive 3D printers working on the basis of material extrusion technology. This article describes the design of our novel 3D-printed hand prosthesis and also shows the mechanical and functional evaluation in view of its future use in developing countries. We have fabricated a hand prosthesis using 3D printing technology and a non-assembly design approach that reaches certain level of functionality. The mechanical resistance of critical parts, the mechanical performance, and the functionality of a non-assembly 3D-printed hand prosthesis were assessed. The mechanical configuration used in the hand prosthesis is able to withstand typical actuation forces delivered by prosthetic users. Moreover, the activation forces and the energy required for a closing cycle are considerably lower as compared to other body-powered prostheses. The non-assembly design achieved a comparable level of functionality with respect to other body-powered alternatives. We consider this prosthetic hand a valuable option for people with arm defects in developing countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1122-1131
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • 3D printing
  • biomechanical testing/analysis
  • biomedical devices
  • limb prosthetics
  • mechanical design


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