Trying to make arms more functional. Ideas?


Please Login to Comment

I’m trying to learn 3D design, but I know it’s going to take a while before I gain any proficiency. So I’ve been looking at various prosthetic designs for ideas.
I just got diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis (turning 40 was not a good move). My hands have been basically useless since mid-August so I’ve had to rely in my husband for all those little things…. Picking up the coffee pot, cutting up my food, opening containers, etc. Sometimes I can’t even touch a screen to scroll.
I’m trying to figure out something I could wear that would allow me to do something. I’ve considered a multi tool style gauntlet with pop out hooks to carry grocery bags or maybe convert a closet broom holder into a way for me to actually hold a broom to sweep.
The elbow controlled flexing fingers might be nice. I’m a printmaker and can’t carve or roll out ink anymore. Really any functionality would be better than now.

Any thoughts on how to piece together some sort of prosthetic for a person with hands would be greatly appreciated,

Others Makers to reach out to: @MakersMakingChange @HumanLabSP @ALTYLab @Rehab-Lab Kerpape @AccessWoodWorx

Some inspirational starting points, in addition to what I've previously posted, addressing challenges you listed in your original post:

Coffee pot:

Perhaps also a cup holder to hod your cup while you're pouring the coffee:

Cutting up food:

Opening containers:

Scrolling touch screen:

Carry grocery bags:

Hold broom to sweep:
Work off something like this concept to hook in your elbow (

Flexing fingers: and optional

Other common tasks that are well represented include zipper pulls, turning keys, plug and cord grips, can openers, button aids, every type of door and appliance knob out there. Saw a few good ideas for seat belt buckles ( and some mechanisms for light switches that might come in useful if you have any gangs with multiple switches in a row (

Tools to trick out your utility gauntlet
Brushing teeth:
Pen holder:
Being a badass: (hey, why not?)

Keep in mind that items designed for a function might be lacking in the fit and fashion departments. For your wrist idea, I would look at various wrist brace designzs, since they're made with long term wear in mind - you won't want to use something with sharp edges or bad ergonomics that gets uncomfortable after a minute of using it.

Big thing is to be open minded and think outside the box, what other situations do people with hands need to do something without being able to use their hands?
SCUBA drivers
Pokemon players
Cooks and medical professionals come to mind, and I'd suspect there's lots of things for winter folks wearing gloves out there too!

Pandemic also brought about a lot of "no-touch" and "hands-free" innovation, mostly using your forearm instead, like to pump soap ( water coolers ( drawers ( ) and, of course, to open doors (

A few other things that caught my eye:
Pill grabber:
Fridge door assist:
Handle for square things:
Dressing tool:
Hands-free memo holder:

Also, pro tip for using Thingiverse (or any of the 3D file repositories): keep your search queries simple, one word if possible. It means a lot of search results, but it also means LOTS of results! Some terms I'd suggest starting with:
dexterity, arthritis, assistive, adaptive, mobility, grip, grasp, prosthetic, accessibility, occupational (as in occupational therapy), OT, eNABLE

And don't forget, Thingiverse isn't the only one out there!

Coffee pot Handle
by Trehan
Coffee pot handle
by mikesar
Coffee Maker on a Mug
by t3ab4g
Bulbasaur Cup Holder
by TynkoJp
Arthritis Kitchen Knife Adapter
Wrist Bracelet
Container opener
Pop-top Can and Bottle Opener
Suitable can opener 01 / Ouvre boite adapté 01
Suitable travel can opener / Ouvre boite adapté de voyage
Ball Stylus Rev 4
Tabletop Mouthstick Holder
touchscreen typing cuff stylus rev 2
Open Assistive Technology - Bag Holder
by Shira
Side handle for snow shovel
by jsc
Prosthetic Hand for designers to experience
e-NABLE decoration (various themes)
Unbuckle Tool for Car Seats
Decora light switch extension
by danmar
Affordable Prosthetic for people without Fingers
Customizable Palm Pen Holder
by scruss
Wrist Mounted Crossbow Toy (Reupload)
Wrist Brace for Assistive Technology Challenge
Dive torch handle (MARES EOS 7 RZ)
by jindraj
Mini-Maglite AA wrist holder thing!
Liquid soap/hand sanitizer dispenser for single hand/forearm use.
Hands-free Water Cooler Adapter v3.0
by dvan
Armie - Hands-Free Handle
Hands Free Door Opener - Foot Operated Door Opener
Doorknob Lever Adapter
Hands-Free Door Opener
Clean Tool, Door handle and button pusher with Quick Holster
Hands-free Round Doorknob Arm Attachment 1.0
Pill Grabber
by jerrod
open the refrigerator-Kitchen accessibility
Handle for brick for food products / Poignée de préhension de briques alimentaires
Hook to help you get dressed/Gancho para ayudar a vestirse
by ceapat
Hands-free memo holder

Check out @Volksswitch, they focus on adaptive/assistive 3D printing!

Their Cuff Stylus (, 6th Finger Stylus ( and Cuff Tool Holder ( immediately come to mind, and they've got a slew of other Things as well.

Best of all, they have absolutely AMAZING step-by-step instructions with pictures, explanations, suggestions, modification ideas, tips, the works - they put a lot of effort into making sure anyone can build their designs. Afterall, what good is an assistive tool if you can't figure out how to put it together?

Customizable Universal Cuff Stylus
Customizable 6th Finger/Toe Stylus
Customizable Universal Cuff Utensil/Tool Holder

There are also some prototype designs that were uploaded last spring ( by a user facing similar challenges with less-than-functional hands. That group isn't active, unfortunately, but it might be worth trying to message @DarkRubyMoon directly.

You should check out Sonoko's designs: She might have something that could help you.

Those are really cool. Thanks. A couple might be useful. Unfortunately I have the type where my hands get swollen and burn so I can’t move them at all or it makes it way worse. I need to bypass my hands completely.

The Mandalorian Beskar Armor - FULL ARM - Pauldron Vambrace Gauntlet
by Mr_Corn