While I have been waiting on supplies to come in, I have been printing hand parts like crazy. I have a printer set-up in my bedroom so I can print all night long and I've pretty much been printing things around the clock. I'm obsessed with printing as many different hands as we can for Shea and then would like to get her feedback on them. I also want to have extra hands as examples as I have just started co-teaching a course on Universal Design with Adream Blair. We have decided to have our students tackle the subject of prosthetic hands. As some of you know, I am on sabbatical...but I have "come out of retirement" so I can get a class involved in building hands for other children. Our students are conducting research on prosthetics and we plan on having them publish a book with their research, ideas, designs, process, prototypes, resources, and information on the participating children and their hands that were created. We are currently looking for five children to participate in this besides Shea, so if anyone out there knows of someone in the midwest looking for a hand, then please let me know. We will cover the cost of materials etc, so we just need some parents/children who would be comfortable participating.
Since I received my chicago screws, I have been able to begin putting the Beast Hands together. I began by drilling the holes in the various pieces that would correspond with the size of the chicago screws. With my background in Jewerlry and Metalsmithing, we most frequently use numbered drill bits (1-60 and 61-80). The steps between bits are very gradual and this allows you to create holes that correspond with tubing and wire sizes that we commonly use and the fit is always exact. I might add that you can get a cheap set of numbered bits from harbor freight for under $20 that will be fine for drilling plastic parts. I used my drill bit gauge to select the correct size drill bit (using the chicago screw sleeve as a guide for selecting the correct size) and then got to work drilling the plastic parts. I have everything drilled and still need to do just a bit of clean-up on the plastic and then I can cut padding and velcro. I still need to print some fingers for a couple of the Beast Hands, but I should be able to get three of these put together shortly. Ivan Owen sent me a file for a new Beast gauntlet that he has modified to use the tensioner that he designed, so I'll have to print those parts to replace the gauntlets you see here. I think his tensioning device will work really well for these.
We should be able to meet with Shea soon, so she can try out her new Beast Hand and at that time we'll cast a copy of her arm as well as fit some thermoplastic to her arm so we can create some other style hands for her. It is our hope that the students in our class will be able to research other things that Shea does and how we might better adapt a hand to her needs or specific uses.