LifeNabled created a reusable digital workflow to 3D print prosthetics
See how LifeNabled used nTop’s reusable workflows and topology optimization to produce custom 3D-printed prosthetic sockets with flexible inner liners.
Key Software Capabilities
- Lattice structures
- Design automation
- Topology optimization
With nTop’s reusable workflows and topology optimization capabilities, LifeNabled created a fully digital workflow to produce custom 3D-printed prosthetic sockets with flexible inner liners. Now, 35 patients in the jungle of Guatemala are walking on the most advanced prosthetic and orthotic devices in the world.
About: Brent Wright is a Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist. He and his wife Meredith co-founded LifeNabled, a non-profit provider of prosthetic solutions for the developing world.
- Industry: Medical devices
- Size: 1-100 employees
- Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
- Product: Custom 3D-printed prosthetic sockets with flexible inner liners
Creating custom 3D-printed sockets
LifeNabled hosts biannual clinics in northern Guatemala where they have treated hundreds of patients who would otherwise be unable to access prosthetic care.
Unfortunately, the traditional fabrication of prostheses took a physical toll on Wright’s team. To minimize labor and improve efficiency, LifeNabled decided to develop a digital workflow and create custom, 3D-printed prosthetic sockets based on patient data.
Automating and streamlining design
To ensure their prostheses were comfortable, breathable, and cost-effective to make, LifeNabled needed advanced topology optimization capabilities. The team also had to find a way to rapidly apply their chosen design parameters to 30+ custom socket designs. To achieve this, they had to leverage intelligent design automation features.
nTop was the only design software that offered all the features necessary for LifeNabled to meet its design objectives and conquer these challenges.
Next-generation design software
With the help of nTop’s advanced capabilities, the team created a fully digital process that saved time, improved fit, and reduced manual labor. They implemented a semi-automated workflow and replaced the traditional inner liners with 3D-printed foams for flexibility and comfort.
2-3 days saved
More than 1 day saved
during the design phase
35 amputees evaluated
in 2 days, thanks to the speed of 3D scanning
To digitize the traditional fabrication process, facilitate rapid customization, and introduce advanced topology into their prostheses, the team needed a powerful tool. Without nTop, it would not have been possible for LifeNabled to create these advanced prosthetics.
With nTop’s reusable design processes, LIfeNabled’s team automated repetitive design tasks. This made customization quicker and saved more than a day of error-prone computational processing during the design phase.
3D scan data
LifeNabled used 3D scanning to create custom devices at scale. They took a 3D scan of each patient, then brought that patient-specific data into the reusable design process for a tailored fit on each device.
LifeNabled transformed the essential inner liners of the prostheses by designing flexible lattice structures with custom properties that imitate the properties of traditional foams while eliminating the need for the usual costly, uncomfortable gel-like liners typically used.
Lightning-fast lattice generation
nTop’s advanced engineering design software allowed LifeNabled to rapidly generate lattices with closely controlled design input parameters, such as beam thickness and porosity, to create flexible inner socket liners that were tuned to the physiology and preferences of the patient.
Thanks to nTop in combination with digital manufacturing, LifeNabled took an important step toward their goal of creating a global network of prosthetic device providers for the developing world.
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