RSL creates 3D printed prosthetic hands

The Bodleian Libraries Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) has recently been involved in an exciting and innovative project with the Department for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at Churchill Hospital. Ed Choi, a researcher in the department has been using the RSL’s 3D printers to create 3D prosthetic hands, downloaded from Enabling the Future, to show to charities in Sierra Leone for potential use for people who have lost limbs due to the civil war and the blood diamonds trade.

Two plastic hands were printed and taken on show to the Makambo Amputee Camp in Sierra Leone where a ‘fitting ceremony’ was held. 3D printing of plastic hands is a very cost-effective way to produce hands to a custom fit; the plastic hands cost £30-50 to make, a fraction of the cost of traditional prosthetic hands, and can be assembled relatively quickly.

Thanks to generous funding from the Helen Roll Charity the Radcliffe Science Library houses two 3D printers and two 3D scanners. The 3D printers have proved immensely popular and have been used by various students and researchers on different projects, including making a 3D 1:1 scale size model of a human brain, a knitted periodic table and 3D Bronchi Model.