My 4th match was for a young boy called Sam, his mam Josie had registered with e-NABLE, Sam is 8 and from Hertfordshire. As usual the build started with measurements from photo's his mam and dad had taken and them confirming the sizings I had made. Sam had a small palm area, so this build was going to be quite challenging, for this reason I chose to use a Thermo-palm, this is when a plastic mesh is used to hold the residual palm and it is heat shaped to fit the recipient.
Sam's theme was to be "Blue" his favourite colour, I started by creating him a few designs :-
Sam liked the 3rd one, so with this information I ordered up some light plastic and began printing.
It was at this point that a video of Robert Downey, Jr presenting a boy with his Ironman themed arm was being reported in the news. This arm, made by the Limbitless Solutions is a motorised arm that is open source as well known as The Limitless Arm. The video of this amazing device delivery to its recipient, Alex can be viewed below.
One thing of note is this arm design uses a Flexy-hand as the hand, which was developed and created by fellow English 3D Printing master and CAD Guru Steve Wood AKA Gyrobot. I hope to get Steve to co-author some articles on this blog in the future so watch this space.
Anyway, back to Sam's build, both Sam and his Mam had seen this video covered on the news and so I offered to Make a Flexy-hand for Sam as well as a Raptor Reloaded. I had never printed or built a Flexy-hand, and was a little daunted by this, but needed to try !
One problem I would have with the Flexy-hand is it makes use of a flexible filament for the finger joints that are 3D printed using a rubber like material called Filaflex. Unfortunately my 3D printer would not print flexible material without modification. So in the 1st instance I dropped a message to Gyrobot to see if he could help or advise; he not only offered to advise but also to print Sam's flexible hinges at no cost and even offered to help construct his hand if I wanted to pop over to meet him. (not to far at an hour and a half drive for me)
So it was decided I would build Sam a Raptor Reloaded in his own selected colour scheme and have a go at my first Flexy-hand with help from the Flexy-hand creator himself.
As I printed and created the Raptor Reloaded I got a message from Gyrobot that the hinges were ready.
I followed my normal printing and production line construction and within a few days Sam's Raptor Reloaded was ready.
Next I headed off to see Gyrobot in his secret construction lab (or dining room to you and me) to get his help on constructing Sam's Flexy-hand, he showed me how the various finger parts went together and helped me get all the flexible hinges fitted; this hand looked so cool !
The final form of the arm gauntlet would need to be done with Sam as it to is heat shaped to fit him, so this is as far as I could get with the build without the recipient.
So off I set with 2 hands for Sam, he was excited to see me and even more excited to try on his new hand.
We spent some time forming his Flexy-hand and shaping the palm area for him to fit. Unfortunately despite the good apparent fit Sam was not able to get much grip use with his Flexy-hand, I think I need more practise with this design or perhaps his residual wrist is just not suited to the Flexy-hand design, he did however look cool when he wore it regardless !
Since doing this Flexy-hand build I think I have learned several things I can improve when building this hand, I must find time and a recipient to try again !
Here we can see Sam rocking his Raptor Reloaded with Thermo-palm !