The 3D Printed ARM Cast – Thomas Salverson

Every year, the Extreme Redesign Challenge calls upon tomorrow’s engineers, artists and entrepreneurs to design a better future. It is a test to see who can come up with the most creative, mechanically sound, and realistically achievable design using 3D printing. Seven winners were selected and received scholarships for their efforts as well as features on our website and blog.

Thomas Salverson is not a doctor, but he may have just discovered a new way to care for broken arms.

Salverson, an undergraduate student attending University of Alabama-Huntsville, first discovered 3D printing while participating on his high school rocket team when his teacher suggested he give it a try.  Salverson thought ‘why not?’ and proceeded to make his first 3D print, a little Lego block.  He soon realized that whatever he could dream up he could bring to reality just by 3D printing it.   He observed how 3D printing could be applied to rocketry, which ultimately fueled him to continue to use 3D printing to rapid prototype elements of his rockets.

Continuing to refine his 3D printing skills, Salverson started seeking out different challenges he could compete in.  The first one he found was a medical based challenge for astronauts.  This is when he came up with his idea for the Adjustable, Reusable, and Modular (ARM) cast.  With 3D Printing, astronauts could both print the parts in space and apply the cast themselves.  The ARM cast innovates the traditional fiberglass model by making it alterable, lighter, and reusable.  Unfortunately, Salverson found out he wasn’t able to submit his project due to age restrictions.  That didn’t stop him from continuing to work on it though.  Soon after, he found the Extreme Redesign Challenge and entered his project in the Engineering: Post-Secondary Education category.

Salverson says 3D printing has altered his entire mindset.  He’s changed the way he thinks about the design and structure of objects and finds himself paying closer attention to the dimensions, thickness, functionality, and more.  Although he hasn’t gotten around to it yet, Salverson has considered adding to his ARM cast design by including a section for the hand and would like to get the opinion of a medical minded person to see what else he can do to innovate it.

To learn more about Thomas’s project, click here.

To learn more about the Extreme Redesign Challenge, click here.

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