3D Printing Introduction for Occupational Therapists and Students

The goals of this article are to inform occupational therapists and students of the uses of 3D printing in everyday practice and to teach beginners steps for operating 3D printers and creating custom print designs to help your patients.

Learning objectives of the article –
1) Explain the rationale for using 3D printing technology in OT education and clinical practice
2) Learn the tips for getting started with a 3D printing project, name at least two 3D printers and web resources used, and understand the 3D printing process and common materials used in desktop 3D printing.

Overview of 3D printing in clinical practice

Occupational therapists, like many other professions in the medical field, do their best to keep up with the ever changing and advancing ways of technology. The new trend of 3D printing is no exception and has therapists working to understand the complex printing process and how it can be used to benefit clients in everyday practice.

Occupational therapists want nothing more than to help their clients become independent as quickly as possible and 3D printing technology can provide clients with assistive devices that will increase their independence at a faster rate. However, before a therapist begins printing and designing custom pieces for clients, they should fully understand the 3D printing process themselves. This includes knowing how the printer is setup, properly cared for, safety precautions, printing parameters and understanding the characteristics of the printing filament. Fully understanding the machine and its working parts will ensure the therapist’s success while creating custom designs for clients.

For an occupational therapist to best use 3D printing, one should understand how the process aligns with our OT Practice Framework. For oneself, having the insight to the sequencing and timing patterns of a 3D printer will greatly increase productivity and the quality of the print job. For clients, it is important that the therapist understand how the custom prints will impact daily living along with body functions and body structure. One should also know how the client’s skin will react to the plastic filament used in printing and to also be able to predict how durable the printed product will be for everyday use.

Any skilled therapist considering undertaking the task of 3D printing should be aware of its advantages and disadvantages, the time constructs required and have a knowledge of what assistive devices are best created via 3D printing. A good place to begin is www.3dprintingforbeginners.com and www.3ders.org. Both of these websites include a basic beginners guide to 3D printing along with the history of printing, its applications, costs and overall types of printing. Two of the most common 3D printers, Markforged Mark two and Leapfrog Creatr HS which are often used to create custom devices. 3D printed devices have been found to be lightweight, simple to reproduce if required, easy to repair and designs are continuously updated online. However, there are disadvantages that should be known as well. The filament that is used in 3D printing is a form of plastic that is molded by using heat. There are different types of filament including nylon, carbon, and plastic commonly referred to as PLA or ABS. Unfortunately, products created with the plastic filament cannot stand up to high temperatures in cars or dishwashers. The plastic filament is also known to be lightweight, but because of this it can become damaged easier than a device made of casting materials or metal. Carbon and nylon are stronger and able to withstand higher temperatures but are more expensive to purchase. 3D printing can also be quite time-consuming. Prints with a complex design and numerous details can take 18 hours or more. Therapists should be able to predict the amount of time required for a print so that the client is able to use the device as soon as possible.

Description of the 3D printing class in OT education

While many therapists are attempting to learn the concepts of 3D printing on their personal time, a practicing clinician and instructor at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas, Texas has incorporated 3D printing into his coursework for occupational therapy students. The primary author chose to create a hands on assignment for his students which required them to create practical assist devices using 3D printing technology.

To begin the students were asked to choose an assistive device file from online public domains such as thingyverse.com or shapeways.com. This file would contain all of the information that a 3D printer requires such as size, shape and printing parameters. Students were asked to choose a file that met all criteria from the assignment including print time, layer height, material cost, and infill percentage. Students were also asked to provide a written explanation of how the device could be used in clinical practice.

After a file was selected, students uploaded it onto a flashdrive and connect it to the printer with the help of the primary author. The students then learned how to correctly setup the printer, upload the file and monitor progress to make sure the process goes according to plan. Once the projects were completed, students participated in a small presentation to other students and faculty from the university.

Upon completion of the project, students were involved in a class discussion about why they chose particular adaptive devices to print and how those devices can be used in clinical practice. Student answers were largely influenced by family, friends or patients they have met while on fieldwork who would benefit from the device. Answers varied from family members with arthritis to patients with debilitating hemiparesis. Reflections from students about how their devices will be applicable in clinical practice demonstrated their understanding of how the technology of 3D printing is able to improve the lives of their patients and family.

Case 1: Adapted Key Turner
Case 1
This adapted key turner allows for individuals with arthritis, missing fingers, and poor dexterity and/or grip strength to use keys more efficiently. This device can be used in a variety of ways to accommodate different conditions. The adapted key turner will make it easier for these individuals to grip, insert, and turn keys.
Instructions for Use:
This key turner can be used with or without inserting fingers into the hole, depending on the user’s condition. The hole can fit up to 3 fingers. Keys can be attached to the key turning by securing them with a nut, a bolt, and a washer.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 1h 24m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 5m
Additional Materials Required One 4mm bolt, two 4mm nuts, one 4mm washer
Product Cost Filament= $1.18
Other materials= $2 (nuts/bolt)
Total cost=$3.18
Demonstration of Object Use https://youtu.be/Nxmy-vxhEf8
Client Conditions Arthritis, amputated/missing digits, poor dexterity and/or grip strength
Test Notes If they key turner is not strong enough, it could be made with a higher infill or with a different material, such as carbon. If the object is not large enough for our client’s hands, we can increase its size.
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality Two sizes of nuts are recommended for this key turner, as different keys may require different sized nuts. This key holder can be modified with a key loop to connect it to a lanyard or keychain.
Reflective Summary This device is simple, portable, and efficient. It can be used for individuals with several conditions interfering with grip strength and dexterity. The key turner will work well with house keys, mailbox keys, etc. The key turner may also work for some car keys. This device is small enough to fit into a pocket and can also be connected to a keychain or lanyard with a small modification. This device is cost-efficient and prints quickly in the 3D printer.

Case 1 Group Reflection: The members of Group 1 chose to print an adapted key turner for a member’s grandmother who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis. The grandmother is no longer able to properly grip or turn a key without a considerable amount of pain. This device will allow her, and others with arthritis, to better manipulate a key in order to access their homes, post office boxes, or vehicles. Group 1 also decided that assistance to assemble the device may be required. Assembly includes placing the individual’s key into the printed part, then securing them together with a screw which may prove difficult to complete for those with arthritis.

Case 2: Box Wine Spout Adapter
Spout adaptor for boxed wine. This product would be ideal for individuals with arthritis, amputations, generalized muscle weakness or decreased fine motor coordination. This spout allows the individual to simply press down on the lever instead of twisting or turning with the fingers.
Instructions for Use:

  1. Place box of wine on a flat, firm surface.
  2. Place the base of the adaptor under the bottom of the box and around the spout.
  3. Attach the lever to the base using the pin.
  4. Push to dispense wine.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Partial PLA
Print Time: 2h 30m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 0m
Additional Materials Required N/A
Product Cost Filament = $15.71 (part A) + $37.39 (part B) + %15.71 (part C)
Total cost = $68.81
Demonstration of Object Use https://youtu.be/2x-QPtFjalc
Client Conditions Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, increased tone in the hand, fine motor deficits, sensory loss in fingers, other hand deformities.
Test Notes Requires good strength and coordination to assemble parts. Does not work on all sizes of box wine depending on spout location. Many box wines are now using a twist nozzle, which this device would not work with.
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality To make the device more client-centered, the therapist should test the client’s ROM and hand strength to ensure the device will be effective for the client. A longer base to slide under the box would add more stability. In order to accommodate the front button spouts that are more common than top button spouts, the shape of the lever would need to be changed
Reflective Summary Although 3D printing takes a while to form the desired device, it provides a wonderful opportunity for OTs to really flex their creative muscle and expand options to clients when it comes to adapting items. This spout adaptor is so simple, yet you would have a very difficult time finding one available for purchase. Being able to print our ideas enables us to help our clients resume or continue their most valued occupations in an effective and, sometimes, affordable method.

Case 2 Group Reflection: Group 2 chose a box wine adapter based on the difficulties of a member’s friend with arthritis. The friend was unable to press the tab found on many popular brands of boxed wine but was able to manipulate a lever such as the one on the printed device. However, the group did report that wine boxes produced in the United States are different from those in Europe, therefore there must be a design to accommodate both types. The group expressed that while drinking wine in moderation is not considered an ADL or IADL, it is quite important in leisure and mental health for relaxation. This device will allow individuals to continue living life as independently as possible in order to pursue meaningful activities.

Case 3: Sink Water Diverter
This small, portable device can be attached to a sink head to turn a faucet into a drinking fountain. This adaptive object is geared toward a person with limited neck extension and would offer an alternative to drinking water from a cup.
Instructions for Use:

  1. Place faucet attachment over faucet head. Ensure there is a secure connection.
  2. Place finger under the bottom hole to divert water flow to spicket opening.
  3. Turn water on.
  4. Drink water from the spout.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 3h 21m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 3h 40m
Additional Materials Required Sink
Product Cost Filament= $2.01 Other materials= $0
Total cost= $2.01
Demonstration of Object Use https://youtu.be/S9hiJF92DW8
Client Conditions Any patient wearing a c-collar: post-spinal surgery, spinal fracture, osteoarthritis. Patients who cannot hold a cup: Rheumatoid arthritis, wrist amputation, burns, post hand surgery (carpel tunnel, tendon repair)
Test Notes N/A
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality The product should offer a means to adjust the circumference to fit a variety of faucet heads. Increase the length of spicket to increase arch of water for ease of drinking. The device leaks a bit unless pressure is covering entire end, but is still functional even for a user with smaller fingers. It does not require extremely firm pressure. The user would have to be aware of body mechanics if this was used as the main way of drinking water.
Reflective Summary This device is easy to print and cost efficient. Our printed example was functional and easy to connect to sink. This could be used by patients wearing a c-collar, post-spinal surgery, post spinal fracture, and patients with osteoarthritis. Additionally, this can be used by patients with a variety of different diagnoses who have difficulty holding a cup.

Case 3 Group Reflection: Group 3 chose this device with individuals in mind who are unable to hold a cup or bottle for drinking. In past clinical experiences, the students had come across patients who were unable to utilize their grip strength due to muscle weakness or arthritis and felt that they would benefit from this device. The also discovered that this device is not a “one size fits all” when it comes to the circumference of the sink faucet. The group decided that the ratio would need to be adjusted to accommodate, or a new design would need to be considered.

Case 4: Water Bottle Opener
Bottle opener for standard water bottle caps. It is lightweight and easy to use.
Instructions for Use:
Place bottle opener over the cap of a water bottle to fit snugly, grip the sides of the opener with hand, and twist to open.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 5h 9m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 0m
Additional Materials Required N/A
Product Cost Filament= $15.22 (31.05g; 23.90cm3)
Total cost= $15.22
Demonstration of Object Use https://youtu.be/oQb-UkDbmiY
Client Conditions Arthritis, generalized hand weakness and fatigue
Test Notes Thicker infill may be needed because it seems a little weak. Additionally, the carbon material had to be used. Different colors may be used for customization.
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality One recommendation is to make larger sizes scaled up for bigger bottles.
Another recommendation is to wrap a padded material around the handle to make it more comfortable to grip.
Reflective Summary This project showed us how the 3D printing process works. For simple, low tech adaptive equipment like the bottle opener, 3D printing is a great option for clients if products on the market are too expensive or if they need a custom item to fit their needs. It does take time and planning to figure out what materials are needed and to allow the printer time to print the item, but the potential benefit to the client is worth the time.

Case 4 Group Reflection: Group 4 simply felt like this device would be of use to many different patient populations. They reported that they would consider this device to be a universal design and could prove useful for individuals of all abilities and ages. The group also made note that grip strength is required in order to hold the device which may cause individuals with arthritis or muscle weakness to experience difficulties utilizing it.

Case 5: Toothbrush Holder
The adaptive toothbrush holder allows the brush to maintain an upright position. It has a flat base with two raised sides to secure the toothbrush from moving. The brush can easily be placed into and retrieved from the holder. This allows the individual to apply toothpaste one handed without the brush falling over.
Instructions for Use:

  1. Place the 3D printed toothbrush holder on the counter.
  2. Position the head of the toothbrush (bristle end up) between the vertical grooves of the holder.
  3. Apply toothpaste to the toothbrush-the holder will prevent the toothbrush from falling over.
  4. Brush teeth.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 1h 43m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 0m
Additional Materials Required N/A
Product Cost Filament= $1.27
Total cost= $1.27
Demonstration of Object Use https://youtu.be/X5EF-WbOwmk
Client Conditions Hemiparesis, amputation, TBI, congenital hand deformity and orthopedic injury
Test Notes Nylon is not strong enough to withstand force. The product could break easily, thus it is recommended to use a stronger material.
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality Different size holders that could accommodate different types of brushes including electrical. The bottom could have an adhesive added so that it does not slide across a slick or wet counter.
Reflective Summary This project was a good way to start thinking of low-cost adaptive equipment that can be provided to the client. It was informative to see the process of 3D printing and see how the product is created. 3D printing can be an easy, low cost, and creative way to assist clients in becoming more independent.

Case 5 Group Reflection: Group 5 chose to print the toothbrush holder after seeing a patient with severe hemiparesis struggle to apply toothpaste to his brush during grooming. The students recalled that the patient knocked over his toothbrush repeatedly trying to apply paste before finally asking for help. The students believed that if the patient had access to this device then he could have completed the task via modified independence. The group members believed that this device would be of great use to patients, but could use a few modifications including a way to stick the device to a countertop.

Case 6: Cock-Up Wrist Splint
This wrist splint is designed to hold the wrist in a neutral position for healing. It is not a custom design and it ideal for a mild wrist sprain or when movement needs to be prevented due to swelling or even arthritis. It was made for anyone to go online and print for use so it is not prescribed or fitted by a physician or therapist.
Instructions for Use:
The splint is initially printed flat and must be shaped to the individual’s hands. To do this, heat water in a plan (not boiling, but hot to touch) and insert flat splint. After 30 seconds in the hot water take splint out, dry, and mold to hand. Once molded, apply the splint onto the affected wrist by inserting the thumb into the slot and fastening the three Velcro straps around the arm. Adjust straps for comfort. Hand wash only, not dishwasher safe.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 2h 0m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 10m
Additional Materials Required Velcro straps
Product Cost Filament= $5
Other materials= $10
Total cost= $15
Demonstration of Object Use https://youtu.be/mOrIBUTgX6E
Client Conditions Wrist sprain, swelling or arthritis
Test Notes A higher percentage of infill will create a stronger overall splint. Additional shell layers will create added protection for the splint against damage or external wear and tear. This splint is printed out flat and must be heated with warm water in order to achieve the correct shape. The print ratio can be altered to either increase or decrease the size of the splint to better suit the individual.
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality Padding may be required to prevent skin breakdown over bony prominences. More appealing color scheme for long-term wear. Print from a more heat resistant plastic that is dishwasher safe.
Reflective Summary This project was a great way to introduce the idea of 3D printing to occupational therapy students. It was an excellent way to show the adaptive equipment items that can be 3D printed for a lower cost. While 3D printing is not yet user-friendly, this project showed students the possibilities for the future of OT and printing.

Case 6 Group Reflection: Group 6 chose to 3D print the cock-up wrist splint based on photos the students had seen during a class presentation from a guest speaker. The students reported that while the splint is useful for mild sprains and swelling, the design is not verified by a therapist or physician and is not meant to replace a prescribed splint for injuries. The splint chose by the students is meant for anyone to print from the internet for their own use. The group also noted that this print is more complex and should not be a therapist’s first 3D printed device.

Case 7: Ball-Grip Pen Adapter
This device is a round ball with a thumb groove to stabilize and grasp a pencil if someone does not have full flexion in fingers. It has an opening to insert a short writing utensil, such as a pencil or paintbrush.
Instructions for Use:
Place a short writing utensil in the small hole. Grab the ball with your thumb placed in the groove and the flat side facing the palm.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 15h 53m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 0m
Additional Materials Required A short writing utensil
Product Cost Filament= $20.44
Other materials= Cost of writing utensil
Total cost= $20.44 + cost of writing utensil
Demonstration of Object Use https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhXOVAUn_gE&feature=youtu.be
Client Conditions Arthritis, CP, SCI, TBI, CVA, congenital hand deformities
Test Notes Higher percentages for the infill of the sphere will create a stronger product.
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality Adjust the size of the hole to fit different sized writing utensils. Another option could be to add additional grooves for fingers.
Reflective Summary 3D printing is very helpful to easily make adaptive equipment at a reasonable cost. It can be generalized to a variety of populations to help many clients participate in daily activities with ease. It was easier to find free 3D files than we originally thought. We can see ourselves using 3D technology in the future.

Case 7 Group Reflection: Group 7 chose the ball-grip pen adapter based upon a group member’s aunt with arthritis. The aunt is unable to hold writing utensils due to lack of grip strength and excessive pain with fine motor tasks. While doing research the group discovered that the adaptive pen could be useful for many different populations. 3D printing has an option to make objects weightless or more with the percentage of infill in the design. If this device were heavier it would be ideal for individuals with Parkinson’s disease. If the device were to be lighter, it would work well for individuals with arthritis or muscle weakness. The students concluded that a therapist should fully evaluate the needs of their patients before 3D printing custom devices.

Case 8: Right Angle Utensil Holder
The right-angled utensil holder is a simple and effective design that allows patients with limited dexterity and ROM throughout their hands and upper extremity to engage in various activities. The tool allows for a number of utensils to be used without the need for meticulous fine motor manipulation that may be burdensome or painful. Offering a built-up handle at an appropriate angle, this tool minimizes the effort as well as excess time and frustration often incurred by patients who struggle with self-feeding.
Instructions for Use:
To use the right-angled utensil holder, the patient must insert the tool of choice into the slot, for example, the spoon pictured above. Once, placed firmly into the holder, the patient can use the built-up end of the utensil to easily grasp and lift the spoon using larger muscles. When finished, the utensil can be easily removed from the holder so that it can be cleaned or changed out for another utensil. The utensil holder can be routinely washed with soap and water to prevent any build-up or excess residue which will maintain the longevity of the product.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 5h 55m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 0m
Additional Materials Required N/A
Product Cost Filament= $5.94
Other materials= $0.00
Total cost= $5.94
Demonstration of Object Use https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHH-FvCc4sA
Client Conditions Arthritis, spinal cord injury, stroke, amputations of the fingers, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, carpal tunnel syndrome
Test Notes Higher infill percentage creates a stronger product; additional outer shells make the print sturdier and able to withstand damage.
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality Cloth or comfort grip. Increased infill for strength, adjust ratio for size, padding for comfort if necessary, more appealing print color for long-term use. Redesign with the ability to grip a flat/wide-end spoon or fork. Also added 2 slits to add rubber bands for additional grip if required.
Reflective Summary This was a great learning experience and it is amazing at the endless possibilities that 3D printing can create.

Case 8 Group Reflection: Group 8 chose the right angle utensil holder with patients who had suffered spinal cord injuries in mind. The students explained that this device would work well with a mobile arm sling for self-feeding. The spoon can be exchanged for both forks and knives for cutting and feeding. The students felt that the utensil holder was not comfortable while sitting in one’s hand. The group members agreed that padding would have to be considered for additional comfort and to prevent potential skin breakdown in the palm of the hands.

Case 9: Page Holder
The page holder is designed to easily hold the pages open while you are reading. It also allows you to read with one hand, which may make reading more comfortable. It is ideal for reading in bed, in the bath, or at the beach.
Instructions for Use:

  1. Pick up a book.
  2. Open book to a bookmarked page.
  3. Place page holder on the thumb.
  4. Place two wings of page holder at bottom and center of the book.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 2h 46m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.): 0m
Additional Materials Required N/A
Product Cost Filament= Filament= $2.25
Other materials= $0.00
Total cost= $2.25
Demonstration of Object Use https://youtu.be/mHqOxlWgIW0?t=3s
Client Conditions Arthritis, stroke, hemiplegia, amputations, and generalized weakness
Test Notes Thumb circumference will need to be adjusted to individual clients
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality The usability and comfort of this device depends on the appropriate sizing for each client. We recommend measuring the thumb circumference for each client and then smoothing out the edges for comfort. Another recommendation for using this device is reading a lighter book. The weight of a book being held in one hand may cause strain. However, the durability of the page holder can be adjusted to accommodate heavier books by using different 3D printing materials.
Reflective Summary The page holder was a great choice for the 3D printing project because it printing in just over three hours and was printed without issue. The edges are smooth and it is a good size for a standard reading book or magazine. It allows an individual to easily read and view with one hand, as well as stabilize the book. The page holder can be used while lying down, standing, or sitting.

Case 9 Group Reflection: Group 9 decided to print a book page holder after meeting with a teacher who expressed difficulty holding a book in one hand and writing on the dry erase board in front of the class with the other. The group expressed that this can also be considered universal designs that could benefit any user. For therapy purposes, the students were thinking of patients, or people independent in the community with upper extremity amputations. The group members explained that this device would make book reading of all sorts, whether for leisure or perhaps work purposes, much easier. Overall, the group was pleased with their device and felt that this would a good device for a novice 3D printer.

Case 10: Shopping Bag Handle
The shopping bag handle may be used to comfortably carry one or more plastic shopping bags. The handle will allow users to get a better grip so that bags do not cut into hands, possibly preventing any type of pain or discomfort on the finger joints, preserving skin integrity, and decrease subjecting the fingers to compressional force. Additionally, the bag handle is compact and able to fit into a pocket or purse for easy transport. Using more than one bag at a time with the shopping bag handle may decrease the number of trips retrieving groceries which may alleviate additional fatigue.
Instructions for Use:
To load grocery bags onto the shopping bag handle, slide the plastic bag handles into the slot one at a time. Once loaded, grip on to the shopping bag handle and transport the bags to their designated place. To unload, simply pull off the shopping bag handle from the plastic bag bundle.
Material (Nylon, fiberglass or PLA)
Print Time: 6h 47m
Finishing Time (sanding, etc.):1hr 0m
Additional Materials Required N/A
Product Cost Filament= $8.06
Other materials= $2.07
Total cost= $10.13
Demonstration of Object Use https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3vzAR-P9Z0
Client Conditions Arthritis, decreased ROM in hand or fingers, decreased skin integrity, and decreased strength in upper extremity
Test Notes Care needs to be taken when sanding the object. Rounded corner design may prevent tearing of grocery bags. Preloading considerations may provide better ergonomic support.
Further Recommendations to Improve Device Functionality Adding foam adhesive for padding may make the bag handler more comfortable for finger joints. Using a colored material would have made the handler more aesthetically appealing. Ridges or finger slots around the center of the handle may improve comfort.
Reflective Summary 3D printers enable healthcare professionals the ability to customize, design, and modify assistive devices for clients with disabilities, whose needs are not being met with existing equipment. Through 3D printing, occupational therapists could assist clients in becoming as functional as possible with their activities of daily living.

Case 10 Group Reflection: Group 10 chose to print a shopping bag handle after coming across the file in the online 3D printing database. The students believed that anyone could utilize this device and find it easier to manage carrying heavy grocery bags, especially those with upper extremity injuries or arthritis. The group warned that the bags should not be too heavy and that if the user has any sort of physical limitation, caution should be used to prevent future injury.

Conclusion- How this presentation will advance the practice or professional development of participants and/or the profession.

The evolving 3D industry will have an impact on occupational therapy, but the amount of effort future therapists want to invest in learning this new material will decide how closely OT and printing will work together. Exposing new OT students and young therapists to 3D printing dynamics may be the key to bridging this technology into everyday life for patients through OT practice. This presentation is a brief introduction to 3D printing possibilities as well as an example of the opportunities that new technology can help advance occupational therapy.

The students at Texas Woman’s University in Dallas chose adaptive devices for their assignment based on family, friends, and patients who would find such a device beneficial. The overall takeaway for the students, and for all practitioners, should be that 3D printing is appropriate for all people in our everyday life, not just those who understand the technology.


Salinas, S.& Porco, K. (2017). Applying 3D printing to occupational practice. OT Practice., 22(14), 17-19.

Janson, J. R. (2015). 3D Printing: Shaping the Future of OT Practice. Technology Special Interest Section Quarterly. Bethesda, MD, American Occupational Therapy Association. 25(4), 1-4.

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