Thursday, June 18, 2015

Do-It-Yourself Assistive Technology in the 21st Century: 3D Printers and AT

very exciting tool for do-it-yourself assistive technology is a 3D printer. 3D printing is a process of building three dimensional objects from drawings such as blueprints or CAD (computer aided drafting) files or from a three dimensional scan of an object. When printing, a 3D printer creates layers of plastics, paper, or metals that are placed on top of each other and fused or fastened together by the printer to create an object. Currently, 3D printing is being used to create a wide range of assistive technology, including wheelchair ramps, adapted spoons, prosthetics, and tactile objects for people who are blind or visually impaired. The printer itself can be expensive, about $1,000 for smaller desktop models to more than $10,000 for larger printers, but once the printer is purchased, objects can be made for just a few cents or dollars. There are also online instructions to build 3D printers (though we have not tried any of these out). With ingenuity and a bit of training in computer drafting, the sky is the limit for those creating assistive technology with 3D printers. More About AT and 3D Printers:

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