Mark Miller and I (Nancy Miller), owners of Miller Prosthetics & Orthotics, rescued Keating from a shelter in Chattanooga, TN in 2014 so Mark could make legs for him as he grew. For the first five years of his life, Keating had the best prosthesis ever – each leg he made was comfortable and strong, and they helped Keating walk and run like his 4-legged friends. Mark even made a pirate peg leg of willow wood to go with his pirate costume.
From the start of our company, we wanted to advance our technology and explore 3D printing. We bought a printer and began learning the technology. Rick Sevier from Tulsa, Oklahoma initially helped us with scanning attempts and working on our 3D printer. I was able to learn a lot from Rick at his 3d printing classes for prosthetics & orthotics at his Steampunk Bionics Academy. Our printer wasn’t the greatest though, and our initial efforts were put on the back burner as our business grew.
In the summer of 2019, the goal of 3D printing Keating’s leg bubbled back to the top of the list. When our 3D printer wouldn’t work, I called Logan Mace at the recently opened Maker Space at our local community college, West Virginia University of Parkersburg (WVUP) and he made it happen!
I met with Logan at WVUP with a 3D scan of Keating’s residual limb, which we captured in our office using our structure scanner. From there, Logan helped me with the design and actual printing of the leg. After many trials, we were finally able to create a functional leg that fit Keating well. The WVUP Makerspace gave me the opportunity to learn new design software and gave me access to their printers to print the final product.
Keating now has a new 3D printed leg and does very well with it. Thank you to everyone who has helped us reach our goal – especially Logan Mace at WVUP. The marketing team at WVUP are also miracle workers and produced a great video on the project.
We are continuing to improve and modify the flexible liner, design of the socket and leg, and are now printing them in our Belpre, Ohio office. Thanks again to Rick Sevier as I attended another of his classes and heeded his advice on printer and filament selections. Both Rick and Logan are always available to help us through tough spots and get us to the next level. Click the link below to read more about our time working with WVUP.