3D printing – also known as additive manufacturing, - has existed since the 80s. This technology makes use of multiple layers of different materials to produce three-dimensional products from 3D digital files. Due to the fact that commercial printer patents are expiring, there is a higher demand for moderately cost-effective home printers for personal design and use. Those people who need access to printers that are currently unavailable to them can contact big web-based printer communities that print designs or objects and ship them directly to their customers.

Due to this approach, the printing costs are kept low because the material and equipment costs are shared among a large group and, usually, a wide variety of plastics are used. The current acclaimed partial-hand designs are meant for young adults and children with an amputation or congenital condition whose outcome is a partial hand.  With this technology, the fingers are ‘powered’ by flexing the wrist. Since the strings act as actual muscles, the individual is able to close the fingers around a specific object. Colors can vary from wild to mild, depending on imagination, image, or the super hero each person wants to portray.Though these fingers’ overall strength is limited, the creativity of the young wearer is set free in a very compelling way, thus showing to their peers a spark of creativity and a new image that can produce a creative outlet for upcoming refinement and designs.

The 3D printing technology is not limited solely to upper extremities. Currently, products include custom designed socket covers, custom printed prosthetic sockets, as well as sculpted leg fairing covers made by UNYQ. See https://www.axisproto.com/fused-deposition-modeling-FDM.php  for an example.Whereas prosthetic covers have been available since a little while ago, prosthetic sockets designs are just beginning to emerge. So far, the impact durability seems to be good for these sockets; wear issues and long-term use are still being examined in terms of long-term durability. Undoubtedly, the 3D printing prosthetics technology is rapidly emerging and will continue to develop not only in designs, but even more in material choices, thus allowing accelerated prosthetic assimilation.

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