Last year, a teacher at Hudson High School in Hudson, Massachusetts, named Ryan Dailey, got some students together to 3D print a prosthetic hand for a middle school girl. While talking with this girl’s parents, the topic of sports and most specifically softball came up. Softball, for those of you who are unaware, is virtually the same sport at baseball, except with a bigger ball, slightly modified bat, and a smaller playing field. This girl desired to have a device made for her that would allow her to swing a softball bat, even though she was missing one of her hands.
“I told her we would try to design something for her,” Dailey explains to 3DPrint.com. “This year I assembled a group of students and we have been working since the fall on designing a device that we could 3D print that would allow the user to take a full swing while batting. We met once a week from the beginning of January, and each week we tried to get a little further. First we focused on basic functions, then closure system, then aesthetics and finally how to blend it with any existing designs. As we pushed along, the students involved modified things and made changes and edits.”
The device really looks unlike anything we have seen before. It includes 8-9 different 3D printed parts, depending on the extension pieces needed for the forearm. It also features some non-3D-printed parts such as springs, bolts, and screws.
Dailey has been a teacher for 12 years. He’s been teaching CAD design for 9 years, and design engineering for the past 5. He also has been coaching high school sports for that past 16 years, so the design and fabrication of a sport-based prosthetic hand came quite naturally to him, especially after 3D printing the original e-NABLE prosthetic hand last year.
“The main thing this year was getting students involved, which has made it a really fun process,” says Dailey. “We use PTC Creo Parametric and Autodesk Inventor for CAD software. As far as this project goes, creating the mechanism of opening and closing was really interesting and the discussions that took place as we worked through things was great as well.”