Introduction: Prosthetic Arm Windsurfing


For our collage experimental class, we got the challenge to help people who got different limitations in life which can make that they are not able to do everything as someone else. The main idea behind this project is to help finding a solution using the modern production techniques of today. Such as 3D printing, which now even gets used in different hospitals for helping people. By able printing support pieces which can help those ones in daily life. And you can find it also now in every makerspace around the world

This was a groups project, together with my teammate Kim Jolie and myself Jesse Blondeel. For our case, we came in contact with a very enthusiast man. His name is Patrick. In the past he got in a very bad accident what made lose his right hand.

Now in his daily life he wears a prosthetic arm to help himself out. Besides this Patrick always dreamed about one day being able to windsurf on the waves. He has tried this in the past at a club where could try it for the first time. There were immediately different problems.

None of the prosthetic arms that he already have may get near water or useable. To solve this in beginning he took a shell of prosthetic and clued a metal arm on that he duck taped later onto the bar of sail to able controlling direction of board.

After two minutes he had to stop because of strong pains in his arm muscles. Also it was to dangerous what he did because when falling in water. The board got onto him cuz of being stuck to the bar. A professional surfer moves his hand a lot from position controlling the wind sail. What Patrick couldn’t do.

Main problems,

- Not a good prosthetic arm for in water

- Couldn’t move his arm, being stuck

- The type of Material was very heavy for him to lift

- When falling board fell on him and could drown

- Not being able to adjust the sail

So after meeting with Patrick and about his goal, windsurfing.
We immediately took this challenge personal and went for it!

The project existed in two parts that in the end connect together. You have the main piece, prosthetic arm shell what Patrick will wear around his arm. And as second piece you have the attachment part what connects with the shell and makes him able grabbing bar of windsurfing board.

Step 1: Start Project Attachment


For attachment piece we went exploring different shapes with all kinds of Materials. Such as worbla, clay, foam, polyester. What made it possible to make quick and good prototypes that could be tried out.

This resulted we could exam all our explore pieces, then with only keeping the good ones over. By this we started with a good basis for translating into digital drawing files so it could be produced by 3D printers

By doing try and error until all the default were gone until we stayed with a finished piece that resulted into this.

Step 2: Prosthetic Arm Shell


For the prosthetic arm shell, we started by scanning Patrick his arm in 3D by using a scanner. That let us use his exact arm measurements that we translated into an outside shell. So he could fit his arm comfortable into it without any pressure or pain.

This itself is a prototype we are working and made specific only for Patrick. When attaching it to the arm we still used tape so it would hold well even getting into touch with water.

At the beginning there’s a connection point where you can fit a tube, what makes it possible to attach the attachment piece to shell.

Step 3: Printing Files

These are the printing files of attachments