Prosthetics and orthosis products by Space Shapers January 08 2021
Abizer Shihorwala is a co-founder of Space Shapers Enterprises Pvt Ltd based in Mumbai, India. The focus of this newly founded company quickly became non-invasive medical 3D printing.
"We started diverting our resources towards developing a special skill-set in the field of Prosthetics and orthosis (P&O). It turns out that this specific field can immensely benefit from what 3D printing has to offer," says Abizer. As Space Shapers kept developing more and more P&O products, a club foot brace became one of their leading products.
Congenital talipes equinovarus (CTEV), often known as 'club-foot, is a condition by birth, where feet are inclined inwards, axially rotated outwards and pointing downwards. It's one of the most common birth defects affecting the legs. Initial treatment is most often with the Ponseti method. This involves moving the foot into an improved position followed by casting, which is repeated at weekly intervals. Once the inward bending is improved, braces like the kind by Space Shapers are worn until the age of four. "It took us around three months at the designing stage to create this product before we gave it our first print. And it turned out beautifully well. All the doctors started loving the brace due to it being light-weight in nature and the freedom of customization associated with 3D printing," Abizer tells us. Space Shapers are working on some minor changes but nothing major that would make them unhappy about their first version. Their key to success is to spend more time digitally correcting the product better in order to reduce the wastage of material and time.
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There were several determinants to choosing the right material for the job for Space Shapers. The material's quality played a major role since any error rate would cost them time and waste the material. The excessive color palette of PLA nicely caters to the young children for whom the braces are meant for. "A while back, we came across a spool of Fillamentum filament and we were amazed by its printing quality. So we went ahead and ordered a bunch of spools, and we never regretted that decision. Top of that, the wide range of colors gives us more room to cater to young children as we majorly work in the pediatrics field. Thus using Fillamentum filaments was a no-brainer for us," Abizertells us. "Secondly, PLA Extrafill was an easy choice for us because we are going to use this brace for three months old children. They cannot apply a force that will exceed the breaking point of PLA."
Currently, the model is not yet available for downloading as it's still in its testing phase. However, once the model would be fully finished, Space Shapers plan on releasing the model for free.