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3D Printing Certification

Welsh engineers create custom made light-weight wheelchair head supports making use of 3D printing


A workforce of researchers from Swansea University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, and Morriston Hospital have proposed a strategy of 3D printing certification extremely-customizable lightweight head supports for wheelchair consumers. The engineers pitted their style in opposition to a popular commercially accessible head support in a fight of mechanical power screening and the benefits suggest the usefulness of AM for individualized add-ons.

3D printed nylon head support. Image via Swansea University.
3D printed nylon head help. Graphic via Swansea College.

3D printing certification head supports

The the vast majority of wheelchair consumers see their seating requires met by most off-the-shelf backrest cushions and headrests. For a compact proportion, even so, a additional bespoke possibility may well be important. Those with a lot more unique anatomies will need remarkably customized contouring to deliver comfort and ease and usability. In the scenario of headrests, a postural head aid fitting the curve of the neck is needed to reduce overextension, muscle stiffness, and exhaustion.

With this in head, the Welsh scientists 3D scanned a volunteer’s head and created a template STL to foundation their get the job done all over. Autodesk Fusion 360 was utilised to model a head assist that would present left-sided lateral assistance whilst averting ear contact. Holes were minimize in the model to enable the assist to interface with United kingdom regular wheelchair bracketry. The scientists utilized a Markforged Mark Two 3D printer to fabricate a few similar nylon head supports and fitted them with ball joints.

Strength testing the customized structure

The 3D printed nylon parts were being tested from a commercially offered Style-G (strength features previously are recognised) head guidance in two strategies. The initial noticed a posterior drive is utilized to the inner rear surface of the 3D printed head supports and the next included making use of a lateral drive to the internal floor of the remaining lateral support arm (in close proximity to the ear). The researchers recorded the power and displacement of the loading pad every .5s.

Type-G head support (top), posterior force test (left), lateral force test (right). Photos by Swansea University.
Style-G head help (top), posterior force test (remaining), lateral force check (proper). Pics by Swansea University.

The optimum pressure achieved in advance of fracture in the course of the posterior drive exam was 3188N, with a greatest displacement of 71.7mm. On inspection of the hurt, it was concluded that the issue of failure was in the aluminum stem of the ball joints, not in the 3D printed head guidance. The nylon AM part experienced no everlasting plastic deformation and no cracks visible, which means the United kingdom normal bracketry would give out prior to the 3D printed head assist would.

Posterior force test. Photos via Swansea University.
Posterior drive examination. Pics by using Swansea University.

Through the lateral force take a look at, the scientists managed to displace the still left arm of the 3D printed aid up to a maximum of 143.7mm with a drive of 93N. At that place, the take a look at rig was at its most displacement and could not influence the head support any longer. The test was stopped and the head support returned to its authentic contour with no noticeable everlasting plastic deformation. The success demonstrate that by the use of 3D scanning, some clever CAD modeling, and a 3D printer, the scientists were equipped to develop a light-weight personalized wheelchair accent with the mechanical energy and malleability to rival an proven off-the-shelf head aid.

Lateral force test. Photos by Swansea University.
Lateral power test. Photographs by Swansea University.

Additional particulars of the analyze can be uncovered in the paper titled ‘Evaluating additive production certification for the production of personalized head supports: A comparison in opposition to a commercial head support less than static loading problems’. It is co-authored by Jonathan Howard, Dominic Eggbeer, Peter Dorrington, Feras Korkees, and Lorna Tasker.

The head aid in this research is a primary instance of the strength of 3D printing certification, enabling a value-effective method of catering to an individual’s seating needs. Before this calendar year, Porsche, regarded for its large-effectiveness sporting activities vehicles, had a similar notion with the advancement of its new 3D printed individualized bucket seats. The bucket seats will originally be constrained to 40 prototypes for use on European race tracks. Somewhere else, Triple Eight Race Engineering is utilizing HP MJF 3D printing certification technological know-how to generate personalized steering wheels for race cars and trucks. The wheels are designed according to the hands of the driver, with lower fat and minimal production expenditures.

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing certification Market Awards are now open. Who do you assume ought to make the shortlists for this year’s exhibit? Have your say now. 

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Highlighted image displays a posterior drive check. Shots through Swansea College.