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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2017

Miguel Fernandez-Vicente, Ana Escario Chust and Andres Conejero

The purpose of this paper is to describe a novel design workflow for the digital fabrication of custom-made orthoses (CMIO). It is intended to provide an easier process…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to describe a novel design workflow for the digital fabrication of custom-made orthoses (CMIO). It is intended to provide an easier process for clinical practitioners and orthotic technicians alike. It further functions to reduce the dependency of the operators’ abilities and skills.

Design/methodology/approach

The technical assessment covers low-cost three-dimensional (3D) scanning, free computer-aided design (CAD) software, and desktop 3D printing and acetone vapour finishing. To analyse its viability, a cost comparison was carried out between the proposed workflow and the traditional CMIO manufacture method.

Findings

The results show that the proposed workflow is a technically feasible and cost-effective solution to improve upon the traditional process of design and manufacture of custom-made static trapeziometacarpal (TMC) orthoses. Further studies are needed for ensuring a clinically feasible approach and for estimating the efficacy of the method for the recovery process in patients.

Social implications

The feasibility of the process increases the impact of the study, as the great accessibility to this type of 3D printers makes the digital fabrication method easier to be adopted by operators.

Originality/value

Although some research has been conducted on digital fabrication of CMIO, few studies have investigated the use of desktop 3D printing in any systematic way. This study provides a first step in the exploration of a new design workflow using low-cost digital fabrication tools combined with non-manual finishing.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 23 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

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