Finger amputee shares 3D printed partial finger replacement device 'Knick Finger' (2023)

May 3, 2016 | By Benedict

Nick Brookins, a media services engineer at Akamai Technologies, has designed a 3D printable partial finger prosthesis called the “Knick Finger”. Brookins, whose design was recently shared by eNABLE, lost his own finger in 2014 after a motorcycle accident.

Finger amputee shares 3D printed partial finger replacement device 'Knick Finger' (1)

3D printed prosthesis specialist eNABLE is best known for designing, sharing, and distributing its own 3D printed prosthesic hand, a design based on the centuries-old Corporal Coles hand, but the nonprofit organization is gradually broadening its horizons beyond that design. Now a large international community, eNABLE is using its growing reputation to promote new 3D printed innovations for the limb different community, the most recent example being the Knick Finger, a partial finger replacement device designed by engineer Nick Brookins over the last two years as a solution to his own finger amputation.

The story of the Knick Finger goes back to the moment Brookins found himself in hospital in 2014 after a motorcycle accident. The severity of the crash required Brookins to have his right index finger amputated, but the engineer reacted to the setback with optimism and steely determination. Being a self-proclaimed “tinkerer”, the amputee began thinking about designing and 3D printing his own prosthesis before he had even left the hospital.

Finger amputee shares 3D printed partial finger replacement device 'Knick Finger' (2)

Finger amputee shares 3D printed partial finger replacement device 'Knick Finger' (3)

Finger amputee shares 3D printed partial finger replacement device 'Knick Finger' (4)

(Video) My Friend Lost His Finger so I Printed Him a New One

After dismissing the “silly silicone contraptions” offered to him by doctors, Brookins fired up 3D design software OpenSCAD and began work on his own device, taking inspiration from the Owen Replacement Finger, another 3D printed prosthetic device shared by eNABLE in 2013. When Brookins had added the finishing touches to version 1.0 of the Knick Finger, a “mashup” of the Owen Finger and the Flexy Hand, he printed it off on a Printrbot Simple 3D printer, before sharing the design online under a Creative Commons license.

The Knick Finger 1.0 was relatively successful, but Brookins was unhappy with various elements of the design, prompting him to start over—this time using 3D modeling software SketchUp. The Knick Finger 2.0, however, turned out to be more difficult to print and build than the first version, as well as being harder to tailor to individual hands. Brookins attempted another design, version 3.0, before finally getting it right with version 3.5, which can be assembled in about 30 minutes.

Finger amputee shares 3D printed partial finger replacement device 'Knick Finger' (5)

“I am super happy with version 3.5,” Brookins said. “It’s been easy enough to build that I can build a fun collection of different variations and I’m seeing that others are having more success with building their own. I think my device benefits greatly from me being both the designer and the consumer as I am able to address a lot of the little annoyances that would be hard for a designer that didn’t wear one to understand.”

Brookins uses the Knick Finger himself, putting it on first thing in the morning and only removing it before bed. Wearing the device out and about has brought a number of inquisitive glances and conversations, with many observers mistaking the prosthesis for a finger brace. The designer hopes to share his design with as many finger amputees as possible, and has even been able to rework the design into a prosthetic thumb.

Finger amputee shares 3D printed partial finger replacement device 'Knick Finger' (6)

The 3D printable Knick Finger is available to download for free via Thingiverse. Brookins recommends printing at the finest possible resolution, with supports and an infill of 80%. PLA is recommended for the knuckles, middle section, and linkage, while a flexible material such as elastic TPU is best for the socket, tip cover, hinge plugs, and bumper.

Finger amputee shares 3D printed partial finger replacement device 'Knick Finger' (7)

Posted in 3D Printing Application

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Eddie Cortes wrote at 4/22/2019 5:34:03 PM:

Please give me info on this my wife lost part of her index finger and I would like to buy her one of these can you please email me with details and cost thanks . My names eddie Cortes . Daddy21605@yahoo.com

evan wrote at 10/3/2018 9:32:17 PM:

nice boces i have a unplated (cutoff) fingertip

Randy zonna wrote at 8/25/2018 10:42:31 AM:

My dad just lost his left index finger at the same knuckle really looking to see what I need to do the get in contact with you thanks email zonna77@yahoo.com

Anthony wrote at 6/14/2018 9:16:22 AM:

One of my best mate recently lost most to all of his pinky finger in a work accident. I decided to do a bit of research for him and came across your story a few times.I am interested in knowing if a finger can be purchased directly from you or I will seek out alternative solutions.Thank you for your reply in advance. My email is tonyc@topstar.com.au

Robert Coyne wrote at 3/3/2018 6:16:45 PM:

Lost left small pinky finger U.S.Army 1981. Lost right index finger building bridges 2002. Still able to use power tools and accomplish every thing yet would like to learn how to play bagpipes and figure that it might be easier with having some type of prosthetics to help in the learning of this musical instrument. I'm just starting to do research in area and I have yet to start looking for a 3D printer. any advice would be appreciated. Robert Coyne craftsmancoyne@gmail.com

Yvon wrote at 2/10/2018 12:36:55 AM:

(Video) Moving Fingers, Rotating Wrists: Advances in Prosthetics Improve US Veterans' Lives

This is the worst video. You have to watch it over and over to finally get that the assembly is not as complicated as this video somehow makes it seem. The guys hands are always in the way you can't see half of what is being done. It speeds up at weird points. I had to slow it down to 1/4 speed and even then I had to keep stopping to try and see what was going on because of hands always being in the way. Great finger. The video sucks.

Tom Potts wrote at 9/22/2017 4:28:38 PM:

I see a lot of requests above but no responses, so I hope they are being answered somewhere else?I am a police officer and a national guardsman. One month ago I had a table saw accident while working on an anniversary gift for my wife. I lost part of my thumb down to the first knuckle, my index finger down to the second knuckle, and severed my middle finger below the second knuckle. The middle finger was able to be reattached, but yet to be determined how well it will work as it still has a pin in it.I don't have access to a 3D printer and don't know anyone who does. Where can I go to get help measuring out what I need and making what I need? My email is tompotts74@hotmail.com. Thank you in advanced for any guidance or assistance you may be able to provide.

Todd bierscon@yahoo.com wrote at 9/20/2017 3:46:15 AM:

Hi,This is great! Recent saw injury left me with about the same situation as yours...index finger lost to mid knuckle. I'm a Gen Contractor and think this could really help. I've got a guy who's agreed to make me one! He want's measurements and I'm not sure what to do next. I've got fat fingers and a pretty fat stub so seems critical. Can you lead me to the link on how to measure?Thank you so much!

Travis Maxwell wrote at 8/28/2017 4:51:23 AM:

Hello! I just recently lost my index finger at the second knuckle and my thumb also at the second knuckle! I was wondering how much you would charge to build me and send me one of these fingers! I would love nothing more than to be able to have a working finger again so please contact me asap! tmax0397@hotmail.com

Estuardo Alvarado wrote at 3/6/2017 4:31:01 PM:

Im am very interested in getting a couple of your prosthetic fingers, my father lost the index & middle finger from the first knuckle up on a carpentry accident, ive downloaded the printing files, but i dont have a printer so i was wondering if you could send me the cost of the prosthetic finger and information on how to buy it directly from you.email: ea.alvaradoradio@gmail.comThank You

Quentin Remsburg wrote at 1/9/2017 3:04:51 PM:

How am I able to get one of these fingers I lost my index finger below the second knuckle back in august in 2016 due to a rattlesnake bite my email is quentinremsburg7@gmail.com Thanks.

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Louise wrote at 12/18/2016 4:29:10 PM:

My husband lost his index finger from the first knuckle up. Is it possible to get a prosthetic finger for him as he's always dropping things. And would it be the same configuration of the finger shown here or a smaller version. Please contact me at lhuot@ripnet.com

amanjot@ifmglobal.in wrote at 7/10/2016 3:35:36 PM:

how do we get in touch for such a finger

Kevin wrote at 7/7/2016 7:05:31 AM:

I recently lost my index finger, where can I get one of those prosthesis?(kevmaza4@gmail.com)

Amber wrote at 6/9/2016 5:58:43 PM:

Where can I buy one!? I'm missing an important digit. I would love to have use of my finger again! Amber.elve@gmail.com

mick wrote at 5/5/2016 5:59:17 PM:

did he just give the world the finger?

Wayne Renardson wrote at 5/3/2016 7:44:34 PM:

(Video) Mobilimb finger attachment for phone

Reposted to AMP-L@u.washington.edu. Thank you for advancing prosthetics for amputees.


FAQs

Can you 3D print prosthetic hand? ›

Nowadays, there are many companies placing their bets on 3D printed prosthetics and working to make them accessible to everyone who needs them. Even home 3D printers are much more affordable than a traditional prosthetic limb, and you can find DIY prosthetics that are free to print yourself.

How long does it take to 3D print a prosthetic hand? ›

3D Print Object – Prosthetic hand

It can take 14 hours and 5 minutes to do a 3D printing of a prosthetic hand. The time can differ depending on the settings such as the printing speed, infill, height, and more. The height of the layer has the most significant impact. Bigger layer heights lead to lower quality.

How long does it take to print a prosthetic hand? ›

Once the research is done, it takes approximately six to eight hours to print the hand parts on the 3D printer.

Are prosthetic fingers functional? ›

Finger prostheses function in many ways in your activities of daily life (ADLs). They restore the ability to hold and position objects. With the restored finger length and natural flexed position, you can grasp and hold a can for instance without it slipping out of your hand.

How much is a 3D printed hand? ›

One industry that is starting to see significant benefits from the technology is prosthetics. 3D-printed prosthetic hands can cost as little as $50.

How do 3D printed prosthetic hands work? ›

The 3D printed prosthetic

The prosthetic works through sensors that are placed on the wearer's muscles. These send out an electric signal that allows the hand to move when specific muscles are flexed.

Are 3D printed prosthetics better? ›

No minimum of order, no need to build an expensive mold, you only need a 3D file to print your project. Prosthetics are better, and more efficient while custom-made. However, customization is quite expensive with traditional manufacturing.

Is 3D printing expensive? ›

3D printing can cost anywhere from $3 up to thousands of dollars. It's hard to get the exact cost of a 3D print without a 3D model. Factors such as material, model complexity, and labor affect the price of 3D printing. 3D printing services can sometimes cost more than an entry level 3D printer.

What does a 3D printer cost? ›

How much does a 3D printer cost? Low-cost 3D printer prices start from $100 to $400. Then hobbyist 3D printers will set you back by up to $1,000. The next level of enthusiast and professional 3D printer prices range between $1,000 to $10,000.

How long does a prosthetic finger last? ›

With proper care a silicone prosthesis may last 3-5 years. Creation of your prosthesis usually begins three months after you are completely healed from surgery.

How does a prosthetic finger stay on? ›

The colors in the silicone are carefully matched to your skin tones to give the prosthesis the life-like look and texture of real skin. It is usually held on by suction, and the flexibility of the silicone permits good range of motion of the remaining body parts.

How do prosthetic fingers move? ›

In some prosthetic hands, the movements of the different fingers are performed by using several contractions of the same muscle (quick contractions of the same muscle) or by alternating both muscle contractions to control different joint movements.

What are 3D printed prosthetics made of? ›

3D printed prosthetics use materials such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastics or for s stronger material, Bridge nylon. 3D printers are becoming compatible with other materials like lightweight titanium to increase durability and strength.

What is 3D printing prosthetics? ›

3D-printable prosthetics are changing the face of medicine, as engineers and physicians are able to develop prosthetics that are fully customized to the wearer. Consumer 3D printing is leading to an even bigger revolution: "DIY" assistive devices that can be printed by virtually anyone, anywhere.

How are 3D printed hands different from other artificial hands? ›

Answer: Explanation: 3d pen is different from the artificial one as they are made from 3d printing coil which is specially designed for 3d pens and about artificial one they are made from different types of processesers,transistors,resistor,switch,wires.

Why are 3D printed prosthetics cheap? ›

3-D printing can make prosthetics more affordable because the production method is inherently less costly than traditional machining. 3-D printers use a computer-aided design (CAD) program to apply layers of material to create a highly precise finished part.

Why is 3D printing so expensive? ›

For example, 3D printing is a fast-growing but still niche market. This means that there aren't many filament manufacturers, especially ones who would sell high-quality products. The demand is increasing, but the production is expensive and low in volume – think of Tesla cars as another example.

How much do prosthetic hands cost? ›

How much does a prosthetic arm or hand cost? Without insurance, you can expect to pay around $5,000 for a cosmetic prosthetic, up to $10,000 for a functional prosthetic with a hook, and between $20,000 to $100,000 for the latest myoelectric arm technology.

What are the advantages of 3D printed prosthetic limbs? ›

Challenges of traditional prosthetic design

3D printing is also an attractive option because it can help patients regain their mobility faster. This is because a prosthetist can print a limb in the fraction of the time it takes to complete the design of a prosthetic the traditional way.

How much does a bionic limb cost? ›

A basic bionic leg can cost anywhere from $8,000 – $10,000, and an advanced computerized model can cost anywhere from $50,000 – $70,000 or more. If you have health insurance, you will receive coverage for 10%-50% of the total cost.

How much is a 3D printed prosthetic arm? ›

It costs $8,000, which is far cheaper than the latest myoelectric prosthetics that can run upward of $80,000. The company is able to cut costs by simplifying the buying and fitting processes. When a customer buys a TrueLimb, the company sends them a tablet-compatible 3D-scanner to take images of their residual limb.

Can prosthetics be made with 3D printer? ›

3D-printable prosthetics are changing the face of medicine, as engineers and physicians are able to develop prosthetics that are fully customized to the wearer. Consumer 3D printing is leading to an even bigger revolution: "DIY" assistive devices that can be printed by virtually anyone, anywhere.

What advantages are there to 3D printing a prosthetic arm? ›

Reduced cost – 3D printed prosthetics are much more affordable than regular ones and this makes them more easily accessible to everyone. Much quicker to produce – Regular prosthetics can take weeks or even months to be created but a 3D printed one can usually be created in just one day.

What are 3D printed prosthetics made out of? ›

Like traditional prosthetics, 3D printed prosthetics are composed mainly of plastic. Traditional prosthetics use polypropylene, polyethylene, acrylics, and polyurethane. There is also an internal structure called a pylon that is composed of a lightweight materials such as titanium, aluminum, or carbon fiber.

How are 3D printed hands different from artificial hands? ›

Answer. Explanation: 3d pen is different from the artificial one as they are made from 3d printing coil which is specially designed for 3d pens and about artificial one they are made from different types of processesers,transistors,resistor,switch,wires.

Are 3D printed prosthetics better? ›

No minimum of order, no need to build an expensive mold, you only need a 3D file to print your project. Prosthetics are better, and more efficient while custom-made. However, customization is quite expensive with traditional manufacturing.

What medical devices can be 3D printed? ›

Directly 3D Printing Patient-Specific Medical Devices

Surgical guides, splints, temporary and permanent restorations, and dentures can all be directly 3D printed. Permanent crowns manufactured using a ceramic-filled resin material.

What is 3D printed implants? ›

These implants are designed, according to the company, for maximum cortical contact and stability and designing a part that is as close to the patient's original anatomy (thanks to a CT scan which will allow for a 3D representation of the original bone structure and 3D printing using a titanium alloy) as possible, ...

What are the pros and cons of 3D printing? ›

Pros: allows you to make new shapes, it's eco-friendly and it saves time. Cons: doesn't always work well for large projects, appropriate materials aren't always available and it has regulatory challenges.

How does 3D printing work for prosthetics? ›

Scientists from the Israel Institute of Technology have developed an automated production line for 3D printing low-cost customized prosthetic limbs. Within the team's streamlined design process, amputees' unaffected hands are scanned, tailored using CAD software and converted straight into an STL file ready to print.

How much does it cost to make a prosthetic leg? ›

The cost of a prosthetic leg depends on two primary factors, including the type of prosthetic and how much the patient's insurance covers. More basic prosthetics can cost around $5,000, while more advanced, computerized prosthetic legs may reach $70,000.

Can you 3D print prosthetic leg? ›

Instalimb's prosthetic leg, made from polylactic acid carbon—a reinforced material consisting of plastic mixed with carbon—is both lightweight and comfortable to wear. 3D printers have significantly shortened the time needed to complete a prosthetic leg tailored to each person.

How can prosthetics be made cheaper? ›

To tie in with the concept of research, one of the key areas that has helped to make prosthetic limbs viable has been 3D printing. This is an ingenious system that allows for the mass-production of pieces that might otherwise be exceedingly difficult to manufacture.

How do prosthetic hands work? ›

Body powered prosthetic hand mechanisms are actuated by human body movement through wires or cables. Usually, these types of devices are simple devices with grasping movement and are relatively lightweight. Moreover, body powered prosthetic hands require harnessing.

How are prosthetic hands made? ›

Fabrication of a prosthetic arm or prosthetic hand relies on two plastic manufacturing methods: injection molding and vacuum forming. Prosthetic limbs are made from plastic polymers, which bond fabric-based layers together to make a prosthesis that is strong yet lightweight.

How does bio printing work? ›

Bioprinting is an additive manufacturing process similar to 3D printing – it uses a digital file as a blueprint to print an object layer by layer. But unlike 3D printing, bioprinters print with cells and biomaterials, creating organ-like structures that let living cells multiply.

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