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3D Printed Exoskeleton Hands

by 3DPrintIt Jun 22, 2015
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Also could someone tell me what settings i should use when using cura 4.2.1?

Can u make a file with the holes for the screws already there and give a link to the screws needed?

I lost the original Blender files can't remember where I saved them. The screws I used were metal self tapper pan screws 8G x 9mm but you can use a smaller screw if you like. Can’t remember the size of the washer sorry.

wait do the predrilled files work?

Is it ok to print in pla like rclifeon did?

Hi Natshi, I think he did but said he had to do a lot of sanding to get all the pieces to fit together. There are some other comments below where people used PLA can't remember what they suggested though you will have to go look. It was designed for ABS so you'll probably have a bit of trouble using PLA.

Is it possible that nylon will be good? bcs i really dont wanna use abs


Hi man, have you the original file (not .stl) of nails, i would try to modify as Freddy Kruger knifes

Sorry I don’t have the original files anymore!

This was quite a fun project to build! Though, printed in PLA, the parts required a ton of sanding to get them to fit. Wonder if it's in Cura not being able to cope well with a 0.6mm nozzle, or the parts are designed with ABS shrinkage in mind.

I got this from rclifeon, did anyone else?

I'm quite frustrated. I spent hours printing this flat and tight versions on your site in both PLA and PETG, only to have the finger parts snap in pieces when i tried to loosen the joints. It's not your fault, I'm just venting. Probably should print it in all the pieces as shown here on Thingiverse for strength and a lot less support to remove post-print.

Here are the photos before it all went downhill.

Sorry to hear about your frustration, I know how annoying it is when you spend ages printing something and it doesn’t work. I only ever printed in ABS and tried to warn people in the printing instruction manual. I’m sorry to cause you all these problems.

Thanks man. What do you think is the best way to build this project? All the pieces separately as shown here? I thought PETG would be just as good as ABS in strength but not so temperamental on the print bed. I had the PETG printing at 40% infill.

Yeah the best way is printung all the pieces seperately as mentioned in the instruction manual. Sorry I haven’t printed with PETG before ao not sure what the best approach is, maybe someone else here can give you advice

can be work whit children hand

I don’t think this will scale down very well sorry, it was designed for an adult hand. But it migjt work

Hello I am looking to print these but I cant figure out what the size for each part is, if you can send me the measurements or help in any way that would be great. Thanks.

Sup guys I am a YouTuber I have printed these exoskeleton gloves they are very nice and very comfortable you can modify many way you want they are very easy to assemble so if you guys are thinking about praying these here's a video to consider the following


I want to try your once piece stl on your website. I was wondering how you set up supports for the flat one. Awesome model by the way. Thanks.

Thanks, the gaps for the one piece stl are very narrow I would only print if you have a very accurate printer, or one with dissolvable support. I’m not sure about the support my printer does that automatically.

Would PETG work just as well for this project? Much less fumes than ABS :)

I’m not sure if PETG works I haven’t used it before. Wish I could help

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What size screws and washers did you buy??

Awesome design!

Thanks!Look at your general hardware store. I used sheet metal self tapper pan screws 8G x 9mm but you can use a smaller screw if you like. Can’t remember the size of the washer sorry.

To everyone wondering about different material! I printed this out of PLA and it worked fine. Most of the pieces fit securely without the screws but some where loose. My only problem was that my hand is a little smaller and so the base plate keeps sliding around. Other than that it the wrist pin was too big so I scaled it down by 3% and then it was flawless. Here are my print/printer settings
Printer: Monoprice Select mini
Infill: 50%
Infill pattern: tetrahedral
Print Temp: 220
Base Temp: 0
Base Plate Size: 120mm, 120mm, 120mm.
Diameter: 1.75
Support: true, everywhere
Speed: 65mm/s
Build plate adhesion: Raft
Raft top layer: 1
Overall print time: ~27-30 hours

I've looked at this and some of your other exoskeleton models on selfy, and I've had some therapists look at it as well, coming to the same conclusion. If this could lock in place, then with slight modification, it could be very helpful for therapeutic purposes. If you are interested contact me at malcolm3dp@gmail.com.

I'm glad that you are using this for a practical purpose. Will send you an email, cheers.

can you make a file that has all the parts on it

You have to buy that for a dollar, but don't. The tolerances are so low that you can't get the joints freed up, I know because I printed this http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:911554.

3D Printed Exoskeleton Finger - In One Piece

Hey Malcolm, sorry that the print didn't work out, I will give you a refund on the purchase. I have made this file free to download because I'm worried other people might have the same issue. I'm hoping as printers get better the tolerance won't be an issue. Link to file > https://sellfy.com/p/doOc/

What do I need to print for just a single finger? I just want to see if it fits before I do the entire thing

3D Printed Exoskeleton Finger - In One Piece

Can i print in pla or will it not work

I haven't tried but I think other people have...

Is ABS ok to print with?

It says it was designed to be printed with abs in the description

Also, are the finger plates included in the files?

Yes the files are called shield attachment type 1 & 2.

Would you be opposed to me 3D printing this and featuring it on my YouTube channel? I will be sure to not take credibility for the design and I will tell my viewers where I found it.

That's fine, go for it! Post a link here so we can watch it.

its ok for you when i make a youtube video how i build it and how it comes out ? :)

Yeah sure, go for it! Look forward to watching it.

Hey, can i see your arms one plz? thanks

Arms can be found here >>> https://sellfy.com/p/Zr0t/
The rest of my work can be found here >>> https://sellfy.com/3DPrintIt

My only issue is how bulky it looks. I'm wondering if there is a way to shrink down the size of the U-joints and a few others parts. That way it's a little slimmer. Thoughts?

Yeah it is a bit bulky could probably slim it down quite a bit, mostly in the U-joints. Thanks for your advice. I think the size worked out well when I did this >>> http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:952267

But to just wear it for looks, yes it could be streamlined.

3D Printed Powered Exoskeleton Hands (Upgrade v1)

I agree. If it's powered, than yes, you need that room, and those sized joints. For looks, yeah, it needs to be slimmed down. It looks mainly in the joints, but some other areas will need adjustment once you adjust the U-joints.

where do i get the screws you used for this project, or what type are they

Look at your general hardware store. I used sheet metal self tapper pan screws 8G x 9mm but you can use a smaller screw if you like.

how many filament meter are used for hand ?

I haven't worked out how many meters with support material but without it there is roughly 70 meters of ABS plastic or 173 grams

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If you'd somehow attach a slide sensor or stretch sensor to each finger joint you could maybe make an cheap input device that's accessible like the dexmo?

Thanks masterpj555 I'll look into it.

Will it work with PLA?

I know this is a late reply, but for the future reference for others, it prints with PLA. Joint links with medium drill were a little tricky (they tend to crack easily) but at the end it worked out fine. My only problem was that the holes were too tight for joint links in most cases. In those cases, I had to enlarge a little bit with a drill. Just made the process a little bit messy.

I have used two sizes of washers. One of them was #8, I don't remember if the other was #6 or #10. For screws, I have used #4x1/2 and #4x5/8 sheet metal screws.

Thanks 3DPrintIt for this design.

It was designed to be printed in ABS so I'm not sure how you will go printing in PLA. I think other people have done it but I'm not sure what print settings they used so that all the parts would fit together.

i have tried print the back of the hand 5 times and it has fallen over each time. what can i do to remedy this?

I disabled retraction. My printer was printing good until halfh the hand or so, then it just printed nothing in mid air cos it retracted a little bit more than it extruded each time it did a new layer. in a few layers it just extruded nothing.

If your print bead is glass, apply glue to it. It works very well for me.

any help would be very appreciated

Try it with a brim or raft

Maybe you could try printing it on its side? I'm not sure how I can help I didn't have the same problem, maybe someone else has a better answer?

What size is your own hand, I would love to print this but want to make sure its not to big for me. Finger diameter, length of fingers, size of hand, not really sure what else would be needed.

I just created a remix of the Ring Links for the Exoskeleton Hand. If you have access to Solidworks, you can edit the Ring Links to fit the diameter of your fingers!
Happy 2016

No solid works yet, working in the free circles as of now. Killer idea though thanks for doing that!

Hi twistedream13

I have measured my hand which you can view here > https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B59abIYtgFR5b0lDcWVaWTJmbWc/view?usp=sharing

Glad that you like it!

That is above and beyond! Thank you so much! Love the print and can't wait to make one for my son and I!

Nice disclaimer.

I find the Thingiverse "Rights Management" options so limiting, and unimaginative.

Should there only be 2x Ring and Panel link pins like the manual shows? Because the manual also shows 5 of those per hand.

Sorry that was a typo in the manual it should say (20x). 10 pins for each hand.

I got some of the parts made, but my old computer is having a really hard time slicing the files.

Hi, is it possible to print multiple parts at once, like for example, the right hand and left hand together?

Have you tried it?

It should be possible. I don't have a printer that is big enough to print both hands together at once. Maybe down the track I will try.

I have the same printer as you though, an UP Plus 2 :D

I was thinking of printing both the right hand and left hand at once like this (sorry if I attached screenshots wrongly)


Also, did you alter or have your own settings for this part?


Thanks in advance. Just got a greenlight to proceed with this print and can't wait to get started :D

Edited - Also, that cube universal joint, maybe I can print like 5 at a time, do you recommend it?

Also, which predrilled hole size should i pick if i were to use the screw size you mentioned

Now I see what you're saying. Yeah that will print fine and yes you can print x5 universal joints at once if you want. I would use the largest predrilled holes with the screws that I mentioned. Hope it comes out ok! Have fun.

could i use this in a film?

Go for it! Send me a link to the film once it's done if you like.

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i don't have access to a 3D printer that can use plastic. would this work with filament? I really want to make this so badly

dude, the filament is made of plastic,abs or pla, so.... you're fine ;)

I'm not sure I understand how you are going to use filament without the 3D printer. Maybe you could get someone nearby you to print it and send it to you... 3D Hubs is a good place to do that.

I think he means his 3D printer doesn't use plastic.

Hey, I was planning on using this design for a engineering project, (with respectable credit to you). But i have run into a problem with the license and i was wondering if you could give me a hand A$AP, thanks.

Hey, first of all I have to say that this is the coolest thing ever ! Very good work, thank you ! What size are the screws and the metal washers ? Please answer! Very good job !

Hey Polo3d thanks for the compliment. I used sheet metal self tapper pan screws 8G x 9mm. The washers had an outside diameter of 11mm and 5mm inside diameter. Have fun!

Thanks a lot man ! AWESOME WORK !

If u were to actually punch something does the plastic come to friction with ur skin? It seems so, I'm wondering cuz if so u would need to extend this to the elbows!!!

Hi jwalk, yes there is some friction on the top of the fingers. It could do with some rubber padding on the underside of the model. Yeah you could extend it to the elbow but you would probably have to re-design the whole model.

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i wanna know how can i do this thing !!

Please read the 'Exoskeleton_Hands_Manual.pdf' and you'll be fine.

Hi! Im currently printing the pieces going down the list in the in manual and have reached the ring and panel joint link pin file. Ive noticed that it is too thick to fit in the small hole of the panel joint. Did anyone else have this problem or is 3 shells for the pin too much?

Hi! I probably should have made it more clear in the manual but I printed all of my parts with 2 shell layers. In the manual on page 2 it says Surface Layers: 2 layers which is the same as shell wall layers. Sorry I know how annoying it is when parts don't fit together it is such a waste of plastic. If you don't want to print again maybe trying using a drill to make the holes bigger.

I was reading the instructions manual and it says you only need 2 ring&panel_joint_link_pin.stl isn't that for just a finger? (My guess you will need 20 for 2 hands worth)

Good pick up. Yeah that should be 20 for 2 hands. That was a typo.

could you possibly use zip ties instead of the screws?

You could but the whole thing wouldn't be loose I would imagine.

How sturdy would this be in PLA at 100% infill?

From my experiences PLA tends to be stronger and easier printing material, but support can be an absolute pain to remove and it tends to get soft in a hot car. I'm in the process of printing this out of PLA right now and the claws unassembled can pierce a beer can without showing any signs of wear or feeling like they may break.

I haven't tried printing it in PLA but I would say 100% infill would be very sturdy. I used >70% infill in ABS and it was sturdy.

I looked at your video with the applied resistance. Very cool. I tried to find pictures of the device that restored my son's hand strength but I just don't have any. Generally speaking, I think you're headed in the right direction with what you're thinking about. A physical therapist who works with hand injury patients could give you a lot more specific feedback. Bravo!

my god...It can destroy RICE?!?!?!?!

awesome work mate :) could i reccomend putting either a small hole or just a divot as a guide for drilling? make exact placement much easier.

Thanks Thelontin! I will have to do that or I could make a hole big enough for a screw to fit into with no drilling required.

I just finished mine and its cool!!!! But I don't know if I can use it to control a robotic hand.....but definitely the coolest thing i printed yet.

Sorry BrandonTS it can't control a robotic hand at the moment maybe in the future.

hah this is cool.. ive been working on a air powered piston exo glove for a couple of years ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN6rlh9Auxg

great job!!! love the thumb mechanics..

Wow you have an awesome exoskeleton hand! I love the pistons that drive the fingers! It's a very cool design as well!

Seeing this brings tears to my eyes. At the age of 4, in 2009, my son suffered a major open fracture of his humerus (upper arm bone) and lost all use of his arm. There is a major nerve that wraps around the bone and it was significantly damaged during the injury. While the bone and nerve were healing, the physical therapists wanted his hands (which were not receiving nerve communications) to be simulated and not atrophy in the absence of demands from the brain. A brillant, local hand therapist created a device out of melt and mold plastic that let each of his fingers be suspended in rubber band swings so that any movement of his fingers (accidental or applied by us since his brain could not tell his hand to move) would have additional resistance. We were trying to make any movement be a training exercise to keep his muscles limber during the months of inactivity. What I see in this picture very much resembles that device. This is not an ironman, look-alike toy - this is a miracle. My son now has full use of his hand and arm and is competitive rock climber. All because we had a creative tinkerer for a physical therapist. 3D printed versions of that concept as shown here could restore movement to countless injury victims - even if they don't have access to a brilliant local resource such as we stumbled upon. The key is that resistance (bands) would need to be added so that it doesn't just act as an exoskeleton but acts as an exoskeleton with ligaments.

Hearing stories like yours makes me want to keep developing this project. Initially I just it for a bit of fun but now I'm starting to realize some practical applications for it so thank you for posting such a wonderful comment. I'm going to start working on a spring loaded design but for now I have uploaded a video of how you can attach rubber bands to the hands for resistance > https://youtu.be/wDPxvw1CCes

Is there enough room to add a potentiometer to each finger. So I can wire it up to control a robotic hand?

I'm not sure to be honest you'll have to print out a knuckle joint and find out.

Could anyone give me some insight on what kind of screws/washers I'll be needing for the joints?

For 1 hand I used:

x35 medium size screws (8G x 9mm). You could also use a 6G x 12mm. The issue you will have with an extra long screw is that they will hit each other at each end. If the screw is too fat it will crack that ABS walls. So <=8G is probably an ideal size. Plus you will need x5 small size screws (Not sure what size) - The screws that sit on your knuckles.

Gotcha, now when you say smaller size, all around smaller? or just length-wise?

All around smaller sorry I don't know the size you'll have to print out the screw knuckle cover and find a screw that fits.

It's alright I'm sure I'll be able to figure it out. I'll update you later once I made my own. Thank you for putting this up!

We are now a step closer to printing full ironman outfit!

I'd love to see this milled in aluminum! Anyone have a capable mill?

Very cool idea but a little primitive part of the wrist.

Thanks ProCoPrint3D I agree about the wrist I should have increased the poly count. When you 3D print it the sharp edges are less noticeable.

I agree. overall great design! one of the best things ive seen on thingiverse! but maybe even if the flat ends were rounded around the holes on the wrist link so that it looks more cohesive rather than shower curtain hanger? I could probably do this at 100% infill and round off the edges myself but if you have an update in the works and would like to share, id love to use it! Definitely dont mean to criticize your work as it as more advanced than anything i can dream up. Hats off to you sir!

Thanks KCDesigns I agree that it could use with an artists touch. Don't really have the time or skills to make it look better at the moment but I am working on improving the functionality and I will be releasing a motorized version in the near future.

So it will improve the quality but I thought about changing the mechanism of the wrist where the elements are connected fingers. Is it not better that was the version with hinges?

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Is there any way to put tension on each of the fingers? I want to create this for a friend who's disabled (making his disability look awesome in the process :D)

I have a made a video showing how you can attach rubber bands for the time being until I figure out a way to attach springs to the hand > https://youtu.be/wDPxvw1CCes

How do I effectively clean it after using it to crush the skulls of my enemies?

Hey that's ok, i printed out the wrist brace to see how it would fit but it was way to small so i designed a new one, also the rings you have for your thumbs fit my 1st and 2nd finger perfectly but unfortunatly too small for my thumb.

I'm sorry that I don't have the right size for your hand. I wonder if you size up the thumb ring until it fits your thumb and then scale up all of the other parts in line with that scale ratio if that would work? I don't know how that will work as I haven't tried it but you would think that all of the fingers would have a similar scale up ratio. Don't forget to rescale all of the parts if you rescale one as they won't fit together if you only rescale a finger ring.

Ideally I would have designed it so that you could just rescale the finger ring in your printing software and not rescale the rest of the parts. One day I will have to make a small, medium and large for all of the rings but until then everyone will have to rescale the whole model. I know how annoying it can be to print something out that doesn't fit right!

If anyone is wondering what screws I used => Sheet metal self tapper pan screws 8G x 9mm. You could also use a 6G x 12mm. The issue you will have with an extra long screw is that they will hit each other at each end. If the screw is too fat it will crack that ABS walls. So <=8G is probably an ideal size.

If anyone has any other questions let me know.

How many screws did you use?

How many screws did you use?

How many screws did you use?

For 1 hand I used:

x35 medium size screws (8G x 9mm).
x5 small size screws (Not sure what size) - The screws that sit on your knuckles.

what printer did you print this item on

in the manual the IP! 2 Plus is used as an example for orienting the prints.

All parts were printed on my Up Plus 2 with 14cm x 15cm x 15cm build volume.

How easy is it to make it for a left hand ?

LOL I should have looked in the files first :)

It is a bit of work putting the hand together. Read the PDF manual before you start.