Deakin University

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Design optimisation of a thermoplastic splint

conference contribution
posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by Angus Fitzpatrick, Mazher Mohammed, Paul Collins, Ian GibsonIan Gibson
Following partial hand amputation, a post-surgery orthosis is required to hold the
remaining ligaments and appendages of the patient in a fixed position to aid recovery. This
type of orthosis is traditionally handmade and fabricated using laborious and qualitative
techniques, which would benefit from the enhancements offered by modern 3D technologies.
This study investigated the use of optical laser scanning, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and
Material Extrusion (ME) additive manufacturing to manufacture a polymeric splint for use in
post-surgical hand amputation. To examine the efficacy of our techniques, we take an existing
splint from a patient and use this as the template data for production. We found this approach
to be a highly effective means of rapidly reproducing the major surface contours of the orthosis
while allowing for the introduction of advanced design features for improved aesthetics,
alongside reduced material consumption. Our demonstrated techniques resulted in a more
lightweight and lower cost device, while the design and manufacturing elements afford greater
flexibility for orthosis customisation. Ultimately, this approach provides an optimized and
complete methodology for orthosis production.



Mechanical Engineering Department/Lab for Freeform Fabrication. Symposium (28th : 2017 : Austin, Tex.)


Mechanical Engineering Department/Lab for Freeform Fabrication Symposium


2409 - 2418


University of Austin Texas


Austin, Tex.

Place of publication

Austin, Tex.

Start date


End date




Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed; E Conference publication

Copyright notice

2017, Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication and University of Texas at Austin



Title of proceedings

SFF 2017 : Proceedings of the 28th Annual International 2409 Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium – An Additive Manufacturing Conference

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