Flexy-Hand 2 - Filaflex Remix

by Gyrobot, published

Flexy-Hand 2 - Filaflex Remix by Gyrobot Jan 23, 2015


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My most advanced Flexy-Hand to date.

This was designed for Jack via e-NABLE. The result of a collaboration between myself and Jeff Erenstone, Prosthetist and CPO of Performance Orthopedic Design.

Optimised to be printed with flexible filaments. This version was printed with Skin I Filaflex, Skin II also available.

Key Features :

  • Thermoformed Gauntlet, dual material, lower layers PLA, upper layers Filaflex, great strength.
  • Palm socket integral to hand. Can also be filled with mouldable medium, eg, Oogoo, Sugru, Silicone, Latex or foam etc.
  • Each finger and thumb printed in one piece. Using CraftWare customisable supports.
  • Silent articulation.
  • Recipient's scanned limb printed with internal "bone" and wrist articulation. Using variable density "Modifier Meshes" in Slic3r.

Video here : http://youtu.be/dEQs-HXZj60
Video of the fitting to Jack on location at Mountain Orthotic and Prosthetic Services, I was privileged to be able to watch the live fitting via Google Hangouts : http://youtu.be/9EocIKpdPyw




Print fully in PLA or pause partway to change filaments to the same skin tone Filaflex that you printed the hand with. Once printed in flat mode, gently heat either in boiling water or with lighter/blowtorch, hot air gun etc. to soften, then bend over the gauntlet's arms to 90 deg. A good idea is to place a towel/cloth over the recipients arm before forming the gauntlet to suit. In this case, I printed off a scan of the recipients arm first. Match the hinge pitch to the printed hand width. Obviously be careful when using heat.

Hand Body

This can be printed without support, but I have found a little under the 45 thumb angle can give better surface finish to the surface quality when printed with flexible filaments. YMMV.


You can either print them on their side with support as orientated in the original Flexy-Fingers thing. However I would recommend to print them as orientated (45 deg) in this collection with support. The fingers have much better surface quality and the nail areas look great. CraftWare is again perfect in this regard, because you can place the supports exactly where you want them, at the same time, keeping them out of those tendon channels.


Print 5 off.
I did try and print this in Filaflex too but there is too much stretch in the tendon for my liking, so it is best to print in rigid filament.


Print 2 off in Filalfex filament.

Scanned Arm

I offset the outer scanned surface mesh in Meshmixer by about 6mm and then waisted in the offset mesh to create a thinner zone in the wrist area. The inner zone was printed at 45% infill and the outer zone was printed at 10%, this allowed a soft feel initially and then the feeling of bone if pressed firmer. The internal thinner zone near the wrist created a hinge which help the arm articulate in the correct place. See images and video for this example.

I see great potential printing "bones" internally inside the model.

Whilst this model is not actually part of this thing it is an interesting concept to show. There has been a lot of talk of about multi-material flexible parts, I think an easier workflow and less technical is this type of variable infill parts. No need to dual extrude, purge material from mixing nozzles, ooze problems. It maybe an option for you.


Please follow the original instructions where applicable.

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My 7th and 8th-grade students have two children who need prosthetic arms. we need to know if there are any help tips to build the best hands. One is a full hand and partial arm the arm is off about six inches from the elbow and the other child has a thumb and small finger that are partially articulate. Also can you tell us what hardware we need and just where to get it?

very nice design! Could someone make a version without thumb?

I wanted to ask you: which model did you use for to design the prototype? child? man?

Hi, if you watch the second video you will see :)

Thanks :-)

great job.

I'm new to this world of 3D printers. I bought a couple of months ago. I would like to create this hand for a friend of mine. I was wondering I can stamap everything with my wrist, fingers and support with PLA?

The glove we say does not work. I'll put his arm straight in

How many filament did you use?


Does anyone have experience with priting this hand in NGEN or TPU instead of FilaFlex

I have seen and held this hand printed with nGen_FLEX and although it is flexible, the joints are not elastic, and is tougher to actuate. Over time, I expect this co-polyester to fatigue and stress fracture across the joints. TPU filaments (and I call for Filaflex) is recommended where elastic flexibility is required.

Sorry but I have another question: If a scale this hand to let's say 70 mm in width of the hand palm, is it than still strong enough or does the thickness of the palm become too thin?

Depending on your slicer, you can reduce the extrusion width to force more paths into the thin sections and still keep it quite tough. You will have to experiment and try it.

So you would suggest to print the finger in TPU? And the hand (palm) could be printed in nGen, right?

That should work also

Hi Gyrobot,

I'm trying to create a nice print with Filaflex but I don't manage to find the ideal Slic3r parameters, after more than 8 iterations I whether have it too soft and spongy finish full of small gaps or straight walls but filled up with thin wires all along the inner walls when I try the hand. By the way I'm using a bq Witbox printer.

Thanks in advance,

Can you post Right Palm?

I can't find here


Can you not mirror it yourself either in your slicing (or CAD) software?

Excelente trabajo y que importante es que lo compartas

This is amazing and it looks great!
Incredible being able to print out augmentations,
replacement parts and prostheses for one self~~~

First of all, great design you have here. I'm sure a great deal of time and effort went into creating this, so thank you for sharing.

I printed out the flexy-hand 2 and would like to demonstrate it, but I feel that it would be more impressive if the scanned arm was used. Would you be able to share the scanned arm file?

Thank you

Can a normal hand fit in this?

Only if you scale it up massively. It is meant for those without fingers.

okay, I see now

Dear @Gyrobot! Will you release an opposable thumb version?


Maybe, not in the immediate future.

My daughter has been working on this model for a while now... doing it as part of a Science Fair project with her school. I'll post the "Made" if/when we get it done. Sadly, we have not been able to get through many long prints (like the hand). The Filaflex Skin I that I bought from Recreus (in those lovely 250gr reels) is pure crap. On one roll alone I measure filament diameter variations from 1.91mm to 1.37mm! The 1.91mm jams in my thermal tube and the 1.37mm under-extrudes (if it manages to engage the drive wheel).

I'd complain to Recreus... but there web site has been taken down for "renovation".

I've got some "Blush" Ninjaflex coming in later this week, and I have had good luck with the Fenner filament before. I'll post my results using that alternate TPE.

Kudos to Recreus. Based on my negative comments they reached out to me directly.... took full responsibility for some QA problems with their filament, and are going through the process to "make this right".

They have impressed me with their business ethic and rapid response to my issues.

That's great news Scottbee, I hope you are happy with the resolution, they are a kind, family company who want to do right for their customers. Maybe you would like to re-adjust your comment when the issue is resolved?

do you think that someone could make a plate with all the parts on it?

I would like to have one for my daughther, she doesn't have wrist and finger on her right hand. How do i approach you people

Please join e-NABLE in the first instance : http://enablingthefuture.org/get-involved/

I only see one set of tension cords, the ones that close the hand. How does it open back up? In any case this is great and I see it being a major use case with e-nable. Thank you for designing and sharing.

It uses magic sky hooks.

The natural elasticity of the Flexy Fingers return them to the straight position.

This would be perfect for the baby boomers retirement and the war vets , i like your merit you have see , I have family members who are baby boomers and I think this would be useful as a back up also share it with the war amps and other similar campaigns , I think you should have a merit metal , but idk where ur from and what metals are avaliable there that fit that Citeria

Very impressive model/print.
flexible filament is something I have not seriously considered until seeing your results.
I will have to reconsider it as as part of the kit.

In my humble opinion, this is the coolest thing I have ever seen come off of a 3D printer. Well done!

Very Cool.

Why are the fingers printed at that angle?

They can be printed horizontallly too, you can download this orientation from my original Flexy-Fingers page :http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:387072

My opinion though, the 45 degree method is easier and gives a better final appearance. YMMV though.

by Gyrobot

Welcome to the uncanny valley!
Seriously, this is an amazingly good setup.

I always thought skin colored prosthetics looked creepy. If some guy sticks out a skin colored rubber hand you kinda automatically back away. Skin color does not make the prosthetic limb blend in, it just creeps people out. Could never understand why such things were made in skin color.

Fantastic, then I have achieved my goal, my job is here is done. No wait!!! Look out for the next iteration, the uncanny valley is going to get deeper ;-)

I thought the same thing! Uncanny Valley indeed... kinda creepy. :)

Now I am delighted ;-)