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Locations

U of I College of Engineering

Mailing Address:

Janssen Engineering (JEB) Room 125
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1011
Moscow, ID 83844-1011

Phone: 208-885-6470

Fax: 208-885-6645

Email: engr-sss@uidaho.edu

Web: College of Engineering

U of I Boise Engineering

Mailing Address:

Idaho Water Center 
322 E. Front Street 
Boise, ID 83702

Phone: 208-364-6123

Fax: 208-364-3160

Email: denisee@uidaho.edu

Web: Boise Engineering

U of I Idaho Falls Engineering

Physical Address:

1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402

Phone: 208-757-5400

Fax: 208-282-7929

Email: ui-if@uidaho.edu

Web: Idaho Falls Engineering

U of I CDA Computer Science

Physical Address:
1031 N. Academic Way, Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Phone: 208-292-2509

Email: cmmorrison@uidaho.edu

Web: U of I Coeur d'Alene

Engineering Outreach

Physical Address:

Engineering Physics (EP) Building, Room 312
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1014
Moscow, ID 83844-1014

Phone: 208-885-6373

Fax: 208-885-9249

Email: outreach@uidaho.edu

Web: Engineering Outreach

Friendship and Finding Solutions

Masters student Jacob Miller pulls together team of engineering graduates to build prosthetic arm for a childhood friend

Alex & Cesar Montes, and Jacob Miller
Alex Montes (left to right), Jacob Miller and Marshall Townsend pose for a photo with Alex's new 3D printed prosthetic arm.

Mechanical engineering master’s student Jacob Miller was on a summer fishing trip in Coeur d’Alene when he ran into a high school friend he hadn’t seen in years.

“I know Jacob has the potential to help people, right now it’s just him and his friends with a 3D printer, but with some support and awareness Jacob is really going to change the world.” Cesar Montes

“I hadn’t seen Cesar Montes since I was like 12,” he said. “He told me his brother had recently lost his arm in a car accident, and they were starting a fundraising site to pay for medical bills.”

Montes’ brother, Alex, had to have his arm amputated just below the elbow, and getting a prosthesis was going to be expensive, some $5,000 for the down payment alone. Miller said the story stuck with him.

Alex's New Arm

While camping few weekends later, Miller told U of I biological engineering graduate Jessica Darney ’18 the story. Darney, who is currently in graduate school working to become a prosthetics practitioner, mentioned e-NABLE, a community offering open source 3D printable designs for prosthetic hands and arms.

“It kind of blew my mind,” Miller said. “The designs are super easy to look at and use. It’s something people can use to start teaching their brains to use their limbs again. It’s a place to start.”

Working with fellow U of I engineering graduate Marshall Townsend ’18 and his recently purchased 3D printer, Miller said it only took a couple tweaks in the computer-aided design program SOLIDWORKS and about a week to get the designs printed and assembled.

“We added some foam padding and another strap below his elbow,” Miller said. “After a little work and like $40, Alex had a functional arm again.”

Designs provided through E-NABLE are meant to be easily 3D printed and lightweight.
Designs provided through E-NABLE are meant to be easily 3D printed and lightweight.

Montes is a chef in McCall, Idaho, and said cooking has always been his preferred hobby.

“Now I can us my arm to stabilize things as I’m cutting up food, to hold onto the steering wheel, all sorts of simple things we often take for granted,” Montes said.

Miller said the experience made it more apparent the potential uses and benefit for open-source, 3D printable materials like those from E-NABLE.

“I know Jacob has the potential to help people,” Montes said. “Right now it’s just him and his friends with a 3D printer, but with some support and awareness Jacob is really going to change the world.”

Pieces are held together using 3D printed pins.
Pieces are held together using 3D printed pins.
The prosthetic is elbow-driven. The fingers of the hand close when the user bends at the elbow.
The prosthetic is elbow-driven. The fingers of the hand close when the user bends at the elbow.
The prosthetic is thermoformable, meaning heat and pressure can be used to form the arm specifically to the user for comfort and fit.
The prosthetic is thermoformable, meaning heat and pressure can be used to form the arm specifically to the user for comfort and fit.
Micro gel fingertips give this prosthetic extra grip.
Micro gel fingertips give this prosthetic extra grip.

Article by Alexiss Turner, College of Engineering

Published in November 2019

Locations

U of I College of Engineering

Mailing Address:

Janssen Engineering (JEB) Room 125
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1011
Moscow, ID 83844-1011

Phone: 208-885-6470

Fax: 208-885-6645

Email: engr-sss@uidaho.edu

Web: College of Engineering

U of I Boise Engineering

Mailing Address:

Idaho Water Center 
322 E. Front Street 
Boise, ID 83702

Phone: 208-364-6123

Fax: 208-364-3160

Email: denisee@uidaho.edu

Web: Boise Engineering

U of I Idaho Falls Engineering

Physical Address:

1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402

Phone: 208-757-5400

Fax: 208-282-7929

Email: ui-if@uidaho.edu

Web: Idaho Falls Engineering

U of I CDA Computer Science

Physical Address:
1031 N. Academic Way, Suite 242
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Phone: 208-292-2509

Email: cmmorrison@uidaho.edu

Web: U of I Coeur d'Alene

Engineering Outreach

Physical Address:

Engineering Physics (EP) Building, Room 312
875 Perimeter Drive MS 1014
Moscow, ID 83844-1014

Phone: 208-885-6373

Fax: 208-885-9249

Email: outreach@uidaho.edu

Web: Engineering Outreach