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CAD orthoses software

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by gto_ds, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. gto_ds

    gto_ds Welcome New Poster

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    Looking to invest in a CAD software system for the modeling carbon fiber and plastic individual orthoses (AFO, KAFO).

    Any advice on reliable, proven CAD software are pretty appreciated.
  2. Kursh Mohammed

    Kursh Mohammed Active Member

    We use the Omega Tracer, and we have been using this for 10 years. We have been generating very good results from this.
    I am a podiatrist and I work with a vastly experienced Orthotist who I think you should contact to discuss. Please feel free to email me your details and I will get him to contact you.


  3. joejared

    joejared Active Member

    OreTek is capable of producing positives, soft accommodative devices and hard shell orthoses. It has been in commercial use since early 2001 and development of this product has never stopped.

    Carbon Fiber orthotics aren't machined. They are thermoformed over a positive cast. More often than not, Delrin, also known as acetal by some plastics vendors, can replace a carbon fiber device and be machined directly. The client systems (units without a router) can be used to design orthotics from scanned casts or feet and transmitted to many production facilities (Client/Servers) worldwide, as an individual pair, or as an entire plate to be machined, usually 4 1/2 pairs per job. More often than not, a client system is used to replace shipping of casts, but it's not normally crippled to just scanning. The newest mechanical revisions to RadScan makes it possible to switch between cast scanning and foot scanning in seconds, although most practitioners use it purely for foot scanning.
  4. MartinJ

    MartinJ Member

    Hi Jared,

    I'm glad to see you qualified your "crippled" quote to "not normally", but it would be in the UK.

    Is that still true?


  5. joejared

    joejared Active Member

    Every feature, except for machining is available to any client system at no charge. In fact, at least 2 labs with clients have sliding scale fees that are entirely dependent on what the user is willing to learn and do on their side. When a lab purchases a scanner for one of their customers, however, they have a bit more say about what they want from it, but then again, if they buy a scanner direct , it is by default a full featured system .

    The 3 basic stages are

    1) Scan and Xmit, replacing couriers for casts
    2) Corrected and Xmit, ready to machine.
    3) Scheduled plate of about 4 1/2 pairs, ready to machine.

    In the real world, practitioners rarely have interest in anything beyond shipping their scans.

    Many labs, however, prefer it if the scanners they purchase are limited to scan and transmit. If a client asks for all options to be available, I give it to them, at no charge, along with my skype nickname and a stern suggestion to take advantage of free technical support.
  6. gto_ds

    gto_ds Welcome New Poster

    Thank you guys indeed for the information.

    There are three main stages for making carbon fibre orthosis:
    1) Scan (feet, synthetic bandages cast, plaster cast or plaster mold);
    2) CAD (producing positives: Omega Tracer, OreTek, Rodin 4D);
    3) CAM (5 axis Balestrini milling machine).

    As I said we are looking for a pretty good CAD system for making possitives. We already bought a 3D Artec MH scanner and have a CNC Balestrini machine.

    I'm thinking about Rodin 4D CAD system, for me it looks one of the best at the moment.

    Please write some comments about Rodin 4D software system. Many thanks.
  7. joejared

    joejared Active Member

    In terms of OreTek and G-code based machines, I have written convertors for 3 and 4 axis machines, Haus, Herco, Fadal, WinCNC, and Techno-ISEL models, as well as a direct interface to all of TechnoCNC's servo based machines and Acroloop ACR2000 based machines. There are many videos on Youtube of my manufacturing processes that vary from my prototype Techno-ISEL machine to the more modern tabletop machines.

    The up side to your machine is that it's a heck of a machine. In fact, it'd be great if you were doing AeroSpace work or perhaps, direct milling AFOs or braces, in which case I'd be inclined to agree with your selection of machine. A 3 axis machine will do just as good of a job machining EVA, MDF, polypropylene, or Delrin with lower power requirements and a substantially lower loan payment. One customer in 2009 started with a used techno that cost approximately $7500, and is now producing more than 700 pair/month with that machine. A 4 axis machine can be used to flip the plate and while I have written convertors for 2 types, (pnuematic and servo), few would buy a machine like that when they can get a machine that does the job for 1/4 of the cost.

    One disadvantage of G-code based machines is that they're more difficult to set up, whereas the machines I sell are turnkey, whether they are client (Scanner only systems) or client/server (Scanner/Router) systems. Also, and unlike OreTek machines, a G-code machine is a dumb terminal, designed to run a single program. OreTek MicroMill systems are designed to the task of manufacturing foot orthoses with a single keystroke and are easily scalable when production demand increases.

    My successful experiments with engraving also confirmed a theory that polyproylene bends and stress relieves as it's cut, which means no matter how accurate your machine is, it's really spacing between devices and target plastic thickness that has the largest effect on thickness tolerances. If you space the orders so close that there's no rib to support them, the plastic will bend more, and the thinner you cut them, the more they'll bend as well. Typically, devices aren't cut less than 3mm and when they are, tolerances suffer.

    In terms of software on the CAD side, be very observant and thoughtful of how they are using their system to make your product. If something seems wrong, you're probably right. There is at least one system out there that claims to make a prescription device when in fact, at least one specific geometry does not vary from device to device, suggesting that less of the scan is used than you might expect. Another system started out by not actually using any foot data what-so-ever, other than measurements from a ruler. Question the accuracy of the scans, methods used to input data, and thought processes involved in automating the skilled craft of manufacturing an orthosis. The manufacturing process itself should have some actual connection to the original handmade process of making a device.
  8. lusnanlaogh

    lusnanlaogh Active Member

    I'm interested in this CAD thread as, in my experience, in prosthetics CAD/CAM isn't as effective as hand casting.

    I know it's slightly different, but I'd still like to hear what other pods thought of CAD.

    Is CAD superior (in the production of orthotics) to hand casting? ... or vice versa?
  9. joejared

    joejared Active Member

    The capabilities of each cad/cam system varies, but what they all have in common superior to hand crafting is repeatability and quantity. Each machine used to machine orthoses has its strengths and weaknesses. Material thickness tolerances for polypropylene are relatively constant depending on how much material is left uncut around the device and not really machine dependent, unless there are gross errors in the machine.

    Where hand crafting is superior is where the inclines of the device to be made approach vertical, such as in a UCBL type of device. Usually, a cad/cam user will generate a cast positive in cases like this, or alternatively, will use wet lab facilities and pour it themselves.

    To the degree that a cad/cam system can emulate hand crafting, the limiting factor then becomes the skill of the technician.
  10. lusnanlaogh

    lusnanlaogh Active Member

    Your answer was pretty much as I thought - thanks Joe!
  11. lcp

    lcp Active Member

    sorry to change the topic a little, but when you say flip the plate, is this how they mill both sides of an orthotic? That was one of the things that always confused me with routers etc, how do you mill both sides? I just figured you would have to manually turn the plate over and go from there, but how would it line up accurately?
  12. joejared

    joejared Active Member

    Locator pins and bushings provide the necessary alignment. The OreTek MicroMill itself has adjustments internally, whereas the g-code converters act as virtual machines and the adjustment takes place there. I've made my own jigs for the past couple years now, actually and it's not nearly as complicated as it used to be to maintain tolerances. On some occasions, I've matched jigs to each other via flycutting, but even that was no real big deal.

    For a rotary table, simply finding 0 and rotating precisely 180 degrees is all it takes. Misalignment, as long as it's not gross error is not too critical as long as the flip is precisely 180 degrees.

    Lastly, and from a rotary table perspective, make sure the spindle is out of the way when flipping, lest you call the technicians in to fix what got broke.

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