I had the pleasure of meeting and introducing Mr. Conor as a panel speaker during the recent AM Strategies conference in Washington DC. By day he works as a software engineer at General Electric. By night, he builds 3D printed custom prosthetic hands for his Handsmith project. With a small facility of four desktop 3D printers, Lyman has just fit his first patient and moved into production.
The Handsmith low-cost prosthetics project was established in Roanoke, Virginia in 2016. First, it seeks to raise money to acquire affordable 3D printed bionic prosthetics and enabling devices. Finally, its ultimate goal is to provide them to people in need who cannot otherwise afford them. Or to those whose insurance would not cover enough of the costs.
Enter the Mano-matic Handsmith
Lyman would like to price his prosthetics at no more than $4-5,000 to cover costs. However, the high costs of marketing and distribution make it hard to reach out to enough people who would benefit from them.
“Major prosthetics manufacturers would happily distribute my products. The issue is that they would apply a huge mark-up in order to bring the price in line with their standard products. That is not acceptable, as the goal of this project is to provide more prosthetics to people who could not otherwise afford them.”
The Mano-matic Handsmith prosthetics are extremely advanced and versatile. They are built using low-cost Form 2 3D printers and Tough Resin materials by Formlabs. Initially, Lyman was going to use 3D printing just for the prototypes. Instead, with a Formlab production cell, he found he could set up a lean plant for serial manufacturing at optimized costs. Now all he needs is people to find out that they can get custom prosthetics for just a tenth of the cost of standard ones.