Ultimaker 3D Printer Progress

The primary purpose of our 3D printer will be to build prosthetic hands for children in need through e-NABLE, a charity linking children and families to makers. The Ultimaker Original Plus is complete, and we are awaiting further information from our Service Learning Team giving the exact measurements of a child’s wrist to begin printing a customized hand. The amount of hands we plan on printing is still undecided, as it takes a group of about 3-5 students to stay in constant communication with a family and ultimately print a hand. This September we will likely be working on four hands.

Unassembled Frame

Additionally, we are working to get as many students involved with this project as possible, so we can make a real difference. In addition, the printer will also be used to create prosthetics for animals through the CAP (Computer Aided Pets) project. We have already been paired with the first dog we will be providing providing a prosthetic for. Here’s what we know:

Sita, she’s a dog who was shot in the leg with a 9mm. She is getting [her leg] amputated next week and will need a prosthetic. I will send you more details once I know how much of her leg is being amputated. She is currently in a shelter in San Francisco, I believe. You may want to do a little research into some prosthesis for dogs, I can point you in the right direction if you’d like. Let me know if you would like to be paired with her.

We will be using our Ultimaker to help dogs like Sita walk again.

Assembled Frame

About 30 Sage Hill students are active on the Robotics Team. We compete in two annual robotics competitions: the FIRST Tech Challenge and the FIRST Robotics Competition. The club meets most days throughout the week with the help of advisor Dr. Chris Vivo. For more information about the team, please visit the Our Team page.

While building the Ultimaker printer, we encountered a few minor problems. We would have preferred more text in the instructions to supplement the photos. In addition, we found it would have been very helpful if the bag numbers were included in the directions. Finally, it would have been helpful if screws in the tiny blocks had been tightened beforehand and if all the screws hadn’t been put in the square blocks. With the vagueness of the instructions, we installed the base plate underneath the heater and glass without having realized the base plate was slightly asymmetrical. Having done this, we proceeded to assemble the printer incorrectly. Also, while building, we found it was unclear which side the holes should be in the base plate’s metal panels for the wire clip. The default temperature of the 3D printer did not melt the silver PLA and we had to increase it to properly extrude the plastic. Finally, we found that the power cuts if the cable moves and we are still working to repair this.

Overall, despite a few minor problems, we are well on our way to printing prosthetics on our Ultimaker Original Plus 3D printer.