artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)
I'm looking for a London-based 3D modeller who is willing to help me with a project which has the potential to make life better for a lot of people.

I have EDS type 3, which means my ligaments is more stretchy, and my joints are much more flexible and bendy than they should be. For most of my body, this means lots of physio training to keep muscles strong so they can support the joints instead. For my hands, this doesn't work so well: hands don't have a lot of muscle in them, so exercise to increase stability isn't really practical.

One partial solution to this is to wear ring splints. The splints stop the joints bending backward, meaning less pain and more strength.

Unfortunately, ring splints are kind of a specialist item.
Currently available splint options )

I recognise that some stuff is just never going to work off-the-shelf. I will probably have to have custom jewellery made if I want thumb splints that aren't thermoplastic.

But for fingers, things are a bit simpler. Fingers are basically just tapers with joints in them. 3D printing is an ideal way to make finger splints: prototypes can be printed quite easily, rather than needing injection moulding equipment. But it should be possible to create ring splints in a variety of sizes and styles, which are both more comfortable than the plastic Oval-8 splints and cheaper than the custom-made ones. Shapeways offers printing in a wide variety of materials, including plastic, brass, steel, silver and gold. So it would be quite feasible to get plastic splints printed to test fit, then order the ones I like in steel or brass for everyday, and eventually silver or gold for "best". If one got lost it would be easy to replace. Shapeways probably aren't going out of business for a long time yet, because 3D printers are still niche items.

And using Shapeways, we could a) share the design with others, who could make their own modifications if they wanted to b) offer people-who-aren't-me the opportunity to buy splints the same way, and charge say 5% or 10% extra which would then be split with whoever is working on this project with me. We wouldn't have to do order fulfilment and stuff because Shapeways already has all of that in hand; the work would be in the development and the advertising, but once it gained momentum it would just sit there making a bit of money now and then, and making a lot of people's lives easier. If it got to the point where we had to do serious amounts of customer service we could re-distribute prices/profits such that we could pay someone to do that. I'm not really interested in making huge amounts of money from this, though, I'm interested in helping people who are in my position of not being able to access appropriate metal splints without paying large amounts of money.

I don't know how much development work is involved, but I'd be willing to try and do some kind of crowdfundy thing so that whoever is doing the actual 3D modelling work can get paid. But first, I need to find someone to work with. I'm based in London, and I'll want to meet regularly in person.

If you're interested in getting involved in this project, comment here or e-mail me at artsyhonker at gmail dot com.


artsyhonker: a girl with glasses and purple shoulder-length hair (Default)

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