IAmA the father who 3D printed his son's a prosthetic arm, AMA!
[EDIT "I AM HAPPY TO TAKE QUESTIONS ALL WEEKEND BUT WILL DISAPPEAR BACK INTO MY MAN CAVE ON MONDAY MORNING"
Hi, my name is Ben Ryan. Three years ago my son had a complicated birth that resulted in his left arm being amputated.
A few weeks ago I was blown away by the response a short film by /u/born_to_engineer which documented how I taught myself how to use Fusion 360 CAD design software to create a cheap prosthetic arm from a 3D scan got on /r/videos.
As a former Psychology teacher, I honestly believed that it was vital to intervene early to allow any child to adapt to life with an artificial arm but there was no help to get Sol a prosthetic arm until he was a year old. Even then, this would have been purely cosmetic - it wouldn't have been able to grab of hold anything
Instead of waiting I retrained myself as a design engineer. I combined relatively cheap 3D scanning and printing technology with a mish-mash of DIY store parts to create a prototype of an arm and hand that can grip and had a moveable thumb.
I have learned about Computer-aided design (CAD) 3D printing and post-processing techniques, molding, casting and 3D scanning and how all these technologies might prove life-changing for very young children right from the start.
I will be online until 3pm GMT but will try to respond to everyone.
Here is my proof.
Here is a link to the original video
A few images of me and Sol.
You can also find out more about my company ambionics which is seeking grants/funding/investment to further research applications for this type of technology
For anyone interested in teaching themselves to become a design engineer, I highly recommend Autodesk Fusion 360 which is free to use (with conditions) and has a thriving community of engineers and designers who are happy to help you on your way – you can get started here instructions for hobbyists