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Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Wrist brace

by piuLAB Jul 22, 2014
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I work at FedEx in a warehouse and this has saved my hands and fingers from getting crushed between two boxes, it is strong and durable, i used it to help with my wrist pain and heavy boxes. thanks

Maybe a hair dryer can be used to fit the brace or for minor adjustments? It may be a bit uncomfortable but people do use them on their heads...
Googling showed that they're marginal re glass transition temp. And the hairy lion model uses that...

i'm printinng on a ultimaker 2+, but cannot get the print to work.
Do you use special settings or default settings?

I used a size adjusted version of this design for a cast after my wrist got fractured, my doctors approved it and did the fitment. It works amazing and looks absolutely great, thank you!

Wow. Cheap mass produceable arm braces. Durable? Perhaps not. They are certainly useful though in a pinch.

The sound during the print was VERY annoying. If you know how hexagon sounds like.. yeah, now imagine the 3D printer doing only that for 4.5 hours.

3D print was not 100% fitting everywhere. I'll edit that later, because this is the most awesome print I've done so far. I printed with flex

LMAO! You printed a brace with flex?

This idea is awesome! I used for a while, after some time it gets a little uncomfortable, though.
However, I think if we mix the design with flexible filament and insert this PLA plates it would be much better!

How much plastic is required to make one of these braces? Trying to figure out how many braces could be produced off of one spool of plastic. Thanks

It takes about 34 grams per brace according to Cura

Cura is estimating 9.35 meters without rafts for this print.

How much plastic is required to make one of these braces? Trying to figure out how many braces could be produced off of one spool of plastic. Thanks

Sooo Incredible! i will just let you know what i experienced after many days of wearing. there are two spots that hurt a bit after a while. The back of the thumb where its connected to the arm and the tendon runs along. And the bone of the index finger rubbing against the plastic when moving the hand a bit . Maybe this helped a bit if you ever plan on improving it! Keep up the great work mate! :D

Now to make an ankle brace... possibly knee or elbow too?

Hey buddy, i see it good, thanks for the files and i try make.


Firstly, good job and great idea!

Secondly, I have some doubts. How do you do the hexagonal pattern in de desing geometry? What is the program used to add this hexagonal pattern? It is possible to change hexagonal pattern to a voronoi triangulation pattern?

Help! Trying to print this on a Makerbot Replicator +. Tried to print without raft but its not sticking to the build plate. Any suggestions? It is set at 30% infill and 2 shells, maybe some other combination of settings has worked for someone out there? Thanks for any tips.

Printing more slowly usually helps my prints in this scenario.

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What ways to I measure my hand in?

am i the only one who wants it just for the cool design? lmao

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Hi there, i printed this and showed to a surgeon specialized in hands.

He said its a good starting point but not as good as a standard hand made brace.

  1. it has to be more embracing, a big part of the hand is still not supported
  2. need to have some soft material on the inside to protect the skin.

hope this was useful for further development

here in Milan a hand made brace by hospital experts cost €80

You not think 100 is much utlizado materials or deve to preoceso that to and soak it in hot water thanks . excellent contribution

Awesome work! This was perfect for my sprained wrist!

Can you bend ABS for this brace?

ABS has a higher glass transition temperature, so the hot water trick won't work.

Maybe a heat gun? Sounds painful though. lol.

Whats the best way to size the print for your hand?

Hi the design is good. but i have few doubts as i am one of the guy who had first hand experience of fractures in hand & leg multiple times. i am also a tool maker with exp in plastic & molding

  1. movement is restricted in one axis, but still i think they can move the wrist up & down
  2. we don't know exactly where the fracture will be. ? & there is no time to do custom design for the patients. hence i think some general design should be done which will cover more of fore arm , wrist , palm & fingers. there should be some method where in the doctor can cut off the unwanted portion of the braces with his power saw ( used to cut fiber cast ) after assessing the patient requirement
  3. I think there should be one method where in brace is pressed as per the contour of the hand & cooled. if it covers 3/4 of the nad in diameter there is no need for fastening
  4. I think fastening with Velcro may not be tightening the whole brace equally in all places. hence there may be chance of patient moving his hand. if anybody has experience about that please share.
  5. some general sizes of l, m, x & xl has to be made for different size people.

It might also be possible to make different versions for different movement restrictions, perhaps?

I am a kid and so I have small wrists. How should I properly scale this to fit my wrist?

I want to print thermoformable version of wrist. I need to know when I just need to bend it over the recipient hand, how would I know the actual sizes of fingers,palm and gauntlet? How can I scale up or down? I understand that the thermoformable version is to replicate the original palm, but I am unable to understand its measurements.

Hey piuLAB - I'm putting together a small display of 3D printed prosthetics/medical devices at work. I was wondering if I could use your photo of the hand in the brace for one of my panels. I will credit you however you wished to be credited. Let me know! Thanks.

Hi piuLab, we are 3 medical doctors (M.D.) very interested in evaluating the viability of 3D-printed prosthetics and DIY personalized medicine. Just wanted to let you know that your project looks really interesting and we will be printing one out and having our orthopedic surgeon evaluate the brace! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would like to hear some of his feedback! Keep up the great work and keep on making!


What'd your ortho think about the brace?

cant wait to print this in tpu, printer warming up. will post some pics if i can

Hello! So I just torn a ligament and tendon in my wrist on the right hand on the right hand side. Just curious if anyone has a file that maybe Velcros on the top of the brace and wraps the whole arm. I need to find something that supports both sides of the wrist. I have a friend who has a printer but does not have a file like this to help me. Would anyone have such a file?

Awesome idea! I paid a lot for commercial left&right hand braces when I had both my wrists broken. Unfortunately I didn't owned a 3d printer last year! I will definitely give it a try. Thanks!

I used a toaster to mould mine, just hovered it over the toaster and then put a cloth over my arm as it cooled to mould it to my arm, very quick and easy and makes remodelling for the right fit very easy.

Fantastic just paid to have it printed for me! Can i suggest from someone who wears wrist braces all the time but is an inept novice so not good enough to adapt the design. a wider design on the under side of the brace, along the forearm. so where it goes in curved it should be either straight or flair out slightly to allow for the forearm width. if you do adapt the design, ill be printing more for myself for summer. Much cooler than the hard shell wrist braces like exoform you can buy . I am not allowed to have any movement in my wrist so these are beyond amazing! Thanks so much!

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Could this work with ABS?

ABS doesn't have a discrete glass temperature, it doesn't really become soft and pliable the way PLA does, it just... melts.

please help, witch software would be the one to make or create this project ?

I used a hairdryer to heat up the plastic, it´s faster and easier than with water

if you use a iron (like what you use for ironing) you can mold it safer and quicker. you just have to use the steam function.
i like the model but could you have it customizable pattern and stuff.

I have tested the mark 2 version and I have three modification suggestions for the mark 3 but I have not yet mastered blender
My suggestions are
1 the stiffener around the thumb hole should be oval cross section instead of square to prevent edges digging into the skin
2 the profile of the leading edge of the palm section should be lowered down to the top of the brace bar to allow greater free movement of the knuckles
3 the lower section that wraps around the forearm should be widened and lengthened to increase forearm support , widen by 2 cm and lengthen by at least 5 cm this will also allow a fourth Velcro strap if needed

See ya

I am in the process of adding an Aluminum insert into the palm-wrist support. Also, I am thinking about creating an investment mold, so I can cast a more thermostable plastic. (After all, I like to take hot showers!) Thank you for the design and the wonderful idea.

keep us up to date!
If i got it right your are going to print the brace flat, shape it, add wax runners and inserts, make a mold in plaster, fire it to evacuate PLA and wax, inject the new plastic.
It seems awesome! :)

I have a suggestion for piuLAB about scaling the brace to fit specific hands
Have the patient wrap a string around his hand above the thumb and mark the lines where they cross , then use the following formula to calculate the X.Y. scaling to size the brace to the patients hand , A= hand diameter measured from string marks in mm B= distance between brace stiffener bars in mm measured above thumb hole , FORMULA IS ((A/2)/B)
this will allow the maker to resize the brace prior to printing
Also it would be useful to include materials suggestions and softening temperatures for material prior to wrapping the brace around the patients hand

Ok thank you for feedback!
the formula is a nice idea, we'll try it and we'll add it to our instructions!
For the material we just tried PLA, because we knew about it's glass transition temperature wich is about 60°C.
PLA is also more suitable among others material because is more secure for skin compatibility (is also used for surgery implant).
We didn't provided lot more sizes and models because we intended to initiate a re-design movement here on thingiverse. As we see that people just print our design as they are we'll provide more models and sizes :)

Do you have files for left hands?

We just mirror in Cura for left hand!
We don't know if in the makerbot software there is this function, if not let us know and we'll update the files with mirrored version!

I have a Cubify printer and I cannot find a mirror function in the Cubify slicer.

The simplest way to make a left hand brace is to use a mirror command in your modeling software , align the mirror parallel to the stiffening bars in the brace
there you go

Excellent! This is really useful.

Anybody found out why it hanges on 69% ?
I have tried several times now, both v1 and v2, but no luck :(

I wonder if this thing would provide enough support for carpal tunnel. I wear a brace at work to alleviate strain on my wrist and this could be very cost effective vs buying new braces every month.

we suggest you to just try!
print it solid (100% infill), and if you feel that is not rigid enough you can make it thickier just scaling up the Z dimension.
Our design is just a test, the ideal is if you design your own!
We suggest to use a paper model (or textile) to find the right dimension and shape for your need.
You can mimic the brace you use, then modify for improvement!

Yesterday, my orthopedist OK'd my using this design (yay!), which is mesmerizingly beautiful. I'm 1.5 yrs. & 4 surgeries out from a bad fall, radius break; my arm is not healing properly so will need to wear a brace for 1 yr. Surely I don't need to state the obvious: current designs are clunky, not waterproof (or even water-resistant) and -- most important -- not optimally customizable to specific support.

Anyone have tips on finding someone to print a brace for me? (I'm from Austin but am temporarily living in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.) I'll appreciate any guidance from the Maker community or anyone from ANYwhere who can help. Thanks muchly!

Thanks, man! Sure do appreciate your interest, offer; I followed Kert's 3dhubs lead and found the help I need for now.

As I post this, an Austin Maker is printing both brace files for this thing, and in the next couple of days we're gonna' measure, size and reprint as necessary. (I'm gonna' ask the Maker-dude to post photos here, in case others may find them useful.)

Among the many wonders of 3d printing is that there's seemingly no waste: I plan to donate any printed brace that I cannot use.

With all my heart, I cannot thank you, Kert, and the Austin Maker-dude enough. This brace is poised to change my life. MAKERS ARE THE GREATEST SMARTYPANTS IN THE WORLD!

Hi, i'm a print hub based in France, I'm using 3dhubs to get orders from people just like you!
I checked and there are print hubs in dallas where you are.
Go check it there : http://www.3dhubs.com/3dprint?hf[data][location][search]=Dallas&hf[data][location][lat]=32.8998091&hf[data][location][lon]=-97.04033520000002&hf[data][location][radius]=50
you just need to upload the .stl file and order to the print hub of your choice ;)

Wish you luck :)

Thank you, Kert! I'll check out the Dallas hub. And, as a neophyte to the universe of 3D printing, I didn't even know that the technology was *invented by Carl Deckard at the University of Texas -- yes, in my home town of Austin. Sheesh! Carl's picture reflects a good ol' hippie; seems about right.

If you -- or anyone who reads this -- wishes to contact me, here's my email address: msmartgal@gmail.com

  • (... at least that's what the UT College of Engineering's Laboratory for Freeform Fabrication claims on their website; y'all know what braggarts we Texans are, so my statement could be wrong)

Carl Deckard did not come up with FDM (Fused deposition modeling) printing. This is what most of the models available at Thingiverse and other sites are well suited for.

Deackard came up with the initial idea for SLS (Selective laser sintering), which is an entirely different process. This is the process service bureaus like Shapeways use a lot. they call the material created with SLS "Strong and Flexible"

You're welcome ;)
Well... I didn't know it either ^^, not an history digger in general :)

Would be great to see it as a full cast

Works really well. Could use a little less on the part between the thumb and index finger. Mine sticks out some and can't be molded well because the excess has to go somewhere.

+LAB -stress!! Great idea.

Make sure you don't take hot baths with your from-the-future bracelet :)

This is a great idea!
When I try and convert the file or "Make it" it for my Makerbot and it keeps getting hung up at the 59% mark - tried both files.
Let me know if you think its something on my end.
Looking forward to seeing this design move forward!

I am having a similar problem. When I go to export the print file in Makerbot, it keeps getting stuck. Did you ever fix this problem?

The problem is most likely not with the STL file, but with your slicer. The Makerbot slicer is not very good.

Use the Cura slicer by Ultimaker. (You should really use an Ultimaker printer too ;-) )Not the latest Cura version 15.06.03 (this is still a beta version), but the latest legacy version 15.04.2.

I've got the same problem, wont export the file even after exporting through Netfabb

I did get v1 to render but v2 still baffles me, it goes threw netfabb cloud but in basic it comes up with the second warning on export,,,, waiting on a free machine.

I am in know way knocking your work, I need 2 of these and appreciate the help.... damn sure the gov/obumacare won't


ps,when I explode it it takes ~

netfabb basic fixed it, nf cloud made it worse.....

junk model will not render , 11 mb's? will try in netfabb but in all honesty I will just design my own

we'll check the model soon for errors, but the basic idea is just design your own according to your needs :)
we suggest paper/fabric templates to get the right shape and measures

Congrats on being featured after 2 days.

How long do you put it in water to soften it enough? Almost boiling water I guess?

Right, just a minute in almost boiling water :)
Just give enough time to heat up the material to the core of the object, so if the object is thicker leave it more time in the water.
The temperature have to stay above 70-80 °C while forming the object, don't try to force the deformation if it cools down, just heat up again the part you need to form.
For our brace we made around 10 dip and form steps.
Flat and solid parts work the best.
Shake the parts to avoid hot water droplets before forming the parts on your skins, they hurts!

This is awesome! I suffer from a chronic wrist injury from work years ago and I buy the braces once a month or so cause the velcro wears out. Gonna try this ASAP

yeah we were thinking about someone in your situation, cause everyone of us got some injury in the past and had to try this kind of braces for some weeks, but if you have to wear it for more time you will need something more personal and well designed.
We got the idea looking around the E-Nable comunity (http://enablingthefuture.org/), someone was making the wrist part forming the PLA with this method, and we tough it was just perfect to make any kind of orthopedic stuff.
We are not doctors or physiotherapist so the shape we made are a bit "random", we suggest you to make your own flat template using a piece of paper or fabric, then to modify/redesign the part according your need, and maybe with your doctor approval!
You can stiffen some part making it more thick, and make some part more flexible leaving more holes and thinner parts.

Well done. Time to break my thumb :)

don't do it. please :)

very well designed. Looks awesome

Didnt know you could do this with PLA. Thanks for showing us!

we didn't know it too!
got the idea looking around the enabling comunity (http://enablingthefuture.org/), someone was making the wrist part with this method, if we find the original source we will post the link here soon!

by the way I talked to the e-nable guys, they said they used microwave to soften the pla. probably in water.

Andreas, who came up with the idea, just posted http://www.instructables.com/id/Thermoforming-3D-Printed-PLA-for-Use-in-Prostethic/ .

Your wrist brace is BEAUTIFUL!

Thats really impressive!