UK design and manufacturing company LIMB-Art creates what it calls “cool” prosthetic leg covers using 3D printing. The company, headquartered in North Wales, was founded last year by Mark Williams, a former Paralympic swimmer and medalist, and his wife Rachael. They wanted to help others who wore prosthetic legs gain more confidence in their appearance, and have a little fun with it as well.
Really, this story starts in 1982, when Williams was riding his bike home from school. On that fateful day in June, he was involved in a car accident that ended with the loss of his left leg. But rather than spend the rest of his childhood wallowing in sorrow, the next eight years were, in his words, “a whirlwind.”
“I was transformed from a shy 10 year old boy, who couldn’t swim, into a super-confident athlete winning medals in the pool at the 1988 Seoul Paralympics and 1989 Miami World Championships. The whole experience taught me to look at what you “can do”, not what you can’t, to always drive for perfection and, above all, be proud,” Williams writes on the LIMB-Art website.
“One day in 2017 a small child approached me in a local supermarket wanting to tell me how “cool” my leg looked… I had made a bright green cover with flashing LED lights! At this point I decided it was time to “give something back.” I pulled together a team of experts to make the ultimate covers on a bigger scale, with a choice for everyone to help them Stand Out and Stand Proud.”
In an alliance with 3D printing service bureau Design Reality, LIMB-Art is using HP’s 3D printing technology to produce its eye-catching covers, designed for all users of above and below knee prostheses. Utilizing the HP Jet Fusion 3D 4200, the company can easily make its prosthetic covers more stylish than ever, and the solution will scale along with its business. The end-to-end process provided by HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology provides LIMB-Art with more design freedom, and allows for quick delivery of the 3D printed prosthetic leg covers in a cost-effective manner.
“Working with HP and Design Reality means that we can move away from traditional production methods, where we’d typically use an injection mould one design at a time, limiting our customer base and available styles. We can now uniquely print any shape or pattern we want with HP Jet Fusion technology, which enables endless customisation and limitless creativity,” said Williams, who is also the Director of LIMB-Art. “HP Jet Fusion technology really sets us apart from the competition and has enabled us to sell into the NHS and gain support from leading prosthetic manufacturers like Otto-Bock.”
LIMB-Art wants to make its 3D printed prosthetic leg covers affordable and accessible for those in need of them, which we know from experience is definitely a job that 3D printing can handle. The covers are durable – enough so that the company offers a 1-year breakage warranty – and affordable, as well as lightweight and easy to fit over the prosthetic leg.
The company aims to generate enough profit from the sales of its adult prosthetic leg covers that it can then turn around and offer the same thing to children at no cost. Thanks to HP’s Jet Fusion 3D 4200, LIMB-Art is able to provide its customers with reliable, robust covers so they can, as its mission dictates, “Stand Out and Stand Proud.”
“LIMB-Art leg covers combine superior quality material and construction with cutting edge design and technology to provide robust, affordable and above all… cool… leg covers,” the LIMB-Art website states.
“Our covers restore balance to the silhouette, without trying to blend in or hide, and can be instrumental in raising confidence and self-esteem.”
- The Core, starting at £199
- The Wave, starting at £229
- The Vent, starting at £229
- The Ultralight, starting at £229
Each option comes in eight different colors, with a variety of finishes available – including one each for the Welsh flag, the British flag, and the American flag.
Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Images: LIMB-Art]
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