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MakerBot - could this be the future for orthotics

Discussion in 'Biomechanics, Sports and Foot orthoses' started by BEN-HUR, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

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    I have just seen a news article on Australian TV, which came from the US CBS network. I only caught the end bit (whilst channel surfing), but what I saw gave me a light bulb moment.

    There is a gadget called a MakerBot which is a 3D printer... meaning (from what I understand) that it can create a 3D image from a digital image/file. Being that I have been pondering on issues such as in this post (Laser Scanning vs Casting thread) I thought this could provide some answers/solutions... if not now - certainly in the future.

    The CBS video doesn't appear to be released yet, however, here is a video from the makers of this affordable gizmo. You can build one yourself (from a kit) for US$750 or buy assembled for US$2500.

    It uses plastic, I think the guy said ABS plastic which seems could be suitable as an orthotic material... probably more so if coupled with a desired EVA density for ILA (MLA) fill to control rigidity (which is how I usually have my orthotics).

    Here is the MakerBot website... here... & it also has a reference to the CBS news item I mentioned earlier... video here. This video is more informative than the YouTube one.

    This machine is making far more complex items than an orthotic shell, so surely this could be a solution. I can see so many potential benefits to this i.e. limited waste, mess, time etc. etc...

    Coupled with this thingy...

    ... one could have greater control of their orthotics in regard to their patients & experimenting with ideas they may come across with either a patient or research.

    I feel the field of Podiatry needs to regain its standing at the forefront of orthotic therapy. There have been recent discussions as to how/why we have lost this standing. I feel there are various reasons for this which I won't get into but the direction/opportunity the above technology provides will help combine our knowledge as Podiatrists (& of our patients) with the orthotics we can personally have control over.

    I'm excited by this!

    What do others think?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  2. As I said many times before, additive modelling and 3d printing are the way forward. However, at the moment the process is slow. I have a few devices manufactured by high end commercial 3d printers- they take about 5 hours each to grow.

    If you like these kind of ideas Matthew you should google "reprap" and "david laser scanner"
  3. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Hi Simon,

    I never knew these things (3D printers) existed before this evening. It's fascinating. As the claims made by those involved... the implications are potentially enormous.

    It seems you can have one RepRap machine make another RepRap machine... & the software appears to be free (I think).

    I wonder which is best... MakerBot or RepRap... i.e. which is faster??

    The DAVID - laser scanner also looks very interesting as well & would seem a cheaper option to the iQube.

    It's strange how this is now the second topic to which I have thought to be on a new thing to have you reveal that you had already travelled past the post (so to speak). I probably should hang round here more often.
  4. Admin2

    Admin2 Administrator Staff Member

    Related threads:
    Mass Customisation of Foot Orthoses

    CP posted this in the above thread:

    Simon linked to this page:

    3D printing

    A three-dimensional printer

    The 3D printing process builds a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model, usually by successively adding material layer by layer, which is why it is also called additive manufacturing,[1] unlike conventional machining, casting and forging processes, where material is removed from a stock item (subtractive manufacturing) or poured into a mold and shaped by means of dies, presses and hammers.[2][3]

    The term "3D printing" covers a variety of processes in which material is joined or solidified under computer control to create a three-dimensional object,[4] with material being added together (such as liquid molecules or powder grains being fused together), typically layer by layer. In the 1990s, 3D-printing techniques were considered suitable only for the production of functional or aesthetic prototypes and a more appropriate term for it was rapid prototyping.[5] As of 2019 the precision, repeatability and material range have increased to the point that some 3D-printing processes are considered viable as an industrial-production technology, whereby the term additive manufacturing can be used synonymously with "3D printing". One of the key advantages of 3D printing is the ability to produce very complex shapes or geometries, and a prerequisite for producing any 3D printed part is a digital 3D model or a CAD file.

    The most-commonly used 3D-printing process (46% as of 2018) is a material extrusion technique called fused deposition modeling (FDM).[6] While FDM technology was invented after the other two most popular technologies, stereolithography (SLA), and selective laser sintering (SLS); FDM is typically the most inexpensive of the three by a large margin, which lends to the popularity of the process.

    The term "3D printing" originally referred to a process that deposits a binder material onto a powder bed with inkjet printer heads layer by layer. More recently, the popular vernacular has started using the term to encompass a wider variety of additive-manufacturing techniques such as electron-beam additive manufacturing and selective laser melting. The United States and global technical standards use the official term additive manufacturing for this broader sense.[citation needed]

    1. ^ "3D printing scales up". The Economist. 5 September 2013.
    2. ^ Taufik, Mohammad; Jain, Prashant K. (12 January 2014). "Role of build orientation in layered manufacturing: a review". International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management. 27 (1/2/3): 47–73. doi:10.1504/IJMTM.2013.058637.
    3. ^ Bin Hamzah, Hairul Hisham; Keattch, Oliver; Covill, Derek; Patel, Bhavik Anil (2018). "The effects of printing orientation on the electrochemical behaviour of 3D printed acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)/carbon black electrodes". Scientific Reports. 8 (1): 9135. Bibcode:2018NatSR...8.9135B. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-27188-5. PMC 6002470. PMID 29904165.
    4. ^ Cite error: The named reference engineer was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
    5. ^ "Learning Course: Additive Manufacturing – Additive Fertigung". tmg-muenchen.de.
    6. ^ "Most used 3D printing technologies 2017–2018 | Statistic". Statista. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  5. Sammo

    Sammo Active Member

    We've had a look at this as a possible solution but the main negative point (apart from the excessive length of time it takes) is that the 3d model is built up with many very thin layers of plastic which is glued together.

    Thickness gives the device stability but it doesn't have very good flex return properties (or i should say it has NO flex/return properties) and also the layers start to peel apart and the device kinda fails after just a few minutes of bending it..

    A very exciting technology and I think something to watch in the future.. but from my experience still a long way from being a viable solution.

    I've only seen one device though, so I can't comment for the entire market.


  6. Phil Wells

    Phil Wells Active Member

    There are systems available that can 'print' 2 different materials at once - i.e. include a soft top cover on top of the insole at the same time as building a plastic shell.
    They cost about £25K and are too slow but every year brings us closer!

  7. Rosso

    Rosso Member

    Nobody has explained that it takes about 5 minutes for teh Iqube to take a scan and it is no better for laboratory use that a good quality 3D photographic imager like Precisions units and it takes about 30 seconds all up including saving the file. The Maker Bot has about 5 -10 years and a lot of money to be poured in to it. Technology is here now which is fast and efficient but not economical to use in a normal Podiatry Clinic and probably will never be.
  8. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    I think it most definitely will be a viable option for the future. Technology is growing at an impressive rate... one just need to remember 10 years ago to see how far mobile phones, lap tops, software etc... have come.
  9. Phil Wells

    Phil Wells Active Member


    Not sure where you get the info about the IQube from but it can scan in under 10 secs, gives a far superior image to line of sight photogrammetry based scanners and cost between £4K-6K.

    As soon as a clinician based design system becomes affordable the manufacture of orthoses will change - clinician deigns, sends the file to a lab, they mill and either return it unfinished or finish to the clinician specs.

    We are not a million miles away from this already.


  10. CraigT

    CraigT Well-Known Member

    We should have it here this year...:D
  11. Lab Guy

    Lab Guy Well-Known Member

    :Not sure where you get the info about the IQube from but it can scan in under 10 secs, gives a far superior image to line of sight photogrammetry based scanners and cost between £4K-6K."

    Joe Jared with Oretek.com (who contributes here) also has a great 3D laser for only $1300 and his complete turn key system complete with Techno CNC router and full training is $17,500. Very affordable, especially the awesome 3D laser scanner.

  12. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    Keeping in line with the company "MakerBot", the following will soon be released (around mid October '13). Along with their 3D desktop printer (which has been developed further since the start of this thread), MakerBot will soon have a 3D desktop scanner - known as: MakerBot Digitizer Desktop 3D Scanner...

    Reports have stated costing around $1400 - $1550... more info: here & here.

    Whilst the scanner doesn't look foot friendly... there could well be options in the future... an exciting future within this field (& thus for Podiatry/Orthotic Therapy).
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016
  13. BEN-HUR

    BEN-HUR Well-Known Member

    It's not MakerBot - but still about 3D printed orthotics...

    Gyrobot and Filaflex Introduce 3D Printed Insoles that Podiatrists Can Customize and Print:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2016

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