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Additive Manufacturing for the Production of a Low Cost Knee Prototype

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2017 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting


Tempe, Arizona

Publication Date

April 20, 2017

Start Date

April 20, 2017

End Date

April 22, 2017

Conference Session

Technical Session 3d

Tagged Topic

Pacific Southwest Section

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R. Radharamanan Mercer University

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Dr. R. Radharamanan is currently working as Professor of Industrial Engineering and Director of Mercer Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (MCIE) at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. He has forty three years of teaching, research, and consulting experiences. His previous administrative experiences include: President of International Society for Productivity Enhancement (ISPE), Acting Director of Industrial Engineering as well as Director of Advanced Manufacturing Center at Marquette University, and Research Director of CAM and Robotics Center at San Diego State University. His primary research and teaching interests are in the areas of manufacturing systems, additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, robotics and automation, innovation and entrepreneurship, quality engineering, and product and process development. He has organized and chaired five international conferences, co-chaired two, and organized and chaired three regional conferences. He has received two teaching awards, several research and service awards in the United States and in Brazil. His present and past professional affiliations include ASEE, IIE, ASQ, SME, ASME, and ISPE.

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One of the most distinguishing factors that the human has different than other species is the way of displacement. Because of human's gait, structure and position, the knee is one of the biggest and more essential joints in the human body, with a particular way of working, difficult to be analyzed by medical students. The loss of mobility in the human knee joint can happen because of injuries, deformities or illnesses due to swelling or advanced age. When this occurs, a replacement by prosthesis can be performed in order to improve the quality of life of the subject. Developing solid models of the knee is one of many steps involved in using engineering principles to solve medical problems within the human knee joint. Injuries to the knee joint are amongst the most common in sports activities and understanding the anatomy of the joint is fundamental to develop prosthesis better, more adapted to the natural human gait.

This paper presents the design of a right knee joint prototype, from a 3D scanner, and then obtaining an output STL. file for the 3D printer. Two different types of plastic (ABS and PLA) and two models of 3D printer (MakerBot Replicator2X and Creator Pro) were used in achieving the goal of reproducing as accurate as possible and cheaper than the original knee prototype made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic by a German factory specialized in making scientific prototypes. Visual quality, production time, and weight of the printed parts were compared with reference to the machinery, material types, quantity, and printing parameters. Through this hands-on project, the students were trained in emerging manufacturing technologies such as 3D scanning, 3D printing and rapid prototyping, and additive manufacturing. Some of the difficulties encountered and the learning experience from the student team are also presented and discussed.

Radharamanan, R. (2017, April), Additive Manufacturing for the Production of a Low Cost Knee Prototype Paper presented at 2017 Pacific Southwest Section Meeting, Tempe, Arizona.

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