3D-printed orthosis: “With our new 3D printer, specifically designed for creating unique wearables, we aim to produce lightweight, well-fitting 3D-printed orthoses.”

The Idea: 3D-Printed Orthoses Made with a Special 3D Printer

What is an orthosis?

An orthosis is an externally worn body support, available as a ready-made product but also custom-made by a specialist, such as a medical instrument maker. Our work on CoffeeGrip pointed us to the possibilities of 3D printing orthoses in 2013, and since then, we at ABID have been working on developing this idea/concept.

Why a 3D-printed orthosis?

The handmade orthoses made by a medical instrument maker take time to make, require a lot of craftsmanship that can sometimes be difficult to find, have a limited number of materials that work or are workable, and often need to be tried on and adjusted multiple times. With smart 3D printing and a newly developed process, we may be able to improve this process, reduce turnaround time, reduce costs, and alleviate the shortage of skilled workers.

Why not print these orthoses on an existing 3D printer?

We have certainly tried that, but existing 3D printers, no matter how good, always have weaknesses in one direction. Additionally, printing multiple materials together is more difficult because it involves many changes per layer. Our 5-axis machine builds the product in a very different way and can therefore provide more strength because it has 360-degree strength. Through tool changes, we can print up to 8 different materials together, creating very special products.

What is your ambition?

Our ambition is first and foremost to have a well-functioning machine. At the moment, there are still some hurdles to overcome with our own software, but slowly but surely, we will get there.

Are you interested in our idea, or do you think you can help us? Please contact us!

From 3D scan, through our software, to our machine, to your own custom-made 3D printed orthosis. Perfectly fitting, comfortable, and supportive.

With an iPad and a 3D scanner attached, we are able to create a 3D scan of a hand, foot, leg, or head. We then load this scan into our software package, where we digitally “fit” the splint.

Using the 3D model created, we can generate machine code within the same software package and use it to control our wearable 3D printer. Everything is in-house and developed by ABID.

Because we can print in multiple materials, with different structures, and are free in design, we can steer functionality, comfort, and strength, ensuring that our orthoses, splints, helmets, and prostheses bring innovation to orthopedics. We are also working on a concept orthosis that is adjustable and can therefore last longer and be adjusted during wear.

Due to fewer people studying technical subjects, medical instrument makers are difficult to find. These specialists can better apply their expertise to difficult products within the instrument-making industry, while our machine simplifies the process. We can develop and manufacture these orthoses | splints = wearables in our future 3D 5-axis factory, deliver them to orthopedics, who then fit them to the patient with any necessary adjustments.


Idea: “3D Printed Multi-material Orthoses with Longer Lifespan and Enhanced Comfort Compared to Current Custom-made Orthoses”

Year: 2012- present

Client: Intern ABID project