2 Years in Review

Two Years of Prototypes, Failures and Awards Reviewed

The Stampede Arm started in the fall of my freshman year with a deceivingly simple goal: build the best prosthetic with the lowest cost and the most functionality. In the last two years of development I have learned a lot, printed a lot, and come very close to that goal. Let’s review.

I’m now at 25+ full hands printed, around 1000 hours of printing, 3 major separate code platforms, 4 exhibitions and 2 full size arm prototypes.

Year 1 Achievements
Awards Review
Year 2 Achievements
Awards Review
Whats Next
Many Thanks
Get Involved

Year 1 Achievements

In Year 1, the basic design and goals were outlined. I completed extensive research on 3D Printing and Prosthetics for background and experimented with online design software Onshape. Having little background in 3D Design or CAD, Onshape was a steep learning curve and the first years worth of prototypes were low strength, ugly and unappealing for a true prosthetic arm. (See: bodge – Wiktionary) However, I learned a ton about design and especially design for manufacturability.

 

A partial print of the first year's hand - Two Years in Review

Electronics wise I got lost very quickly in the bowels of Amazon searches and Sparkfun product listings. I picked a few basic components I knew I could design around and ordered. This led to the frustrating (but useful) realization that PWM shields aren’t always necessary for Arduino-based servo control since most boards have at least a few PWM I/O pins. Minimal code was written during year 1, which meant several goals got re-evaluated into future years. As I understood the electronics side of the prosthetic arm more and discovered how time consuming debugging and CAD design could be, I mentally stretched the project out more reasonably.

I presented/exhibited at the Southeastern Colorado Regional Science Fair in Lamar (LCC) during February 2017. After placing first, I qualified for the CSEF. My next exhibition was at the Colorado State Science Fair at Colorado State University (Ft. Collins, CO) during mid-April 2017.

Year 1 Awards Review

Southeastern Colorado Regional Science Fair

  • 1st place in Engineering

Colorado State Science Fair

  • The Andy Keller Memorial Award from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (Colorado Chapter 354)
  • The Physics Classroom Demonstration Award from Science Toy Magic LLC
  • The Excellence in Biomedical Engineering Award from the Colorado Biomedical Engineering Society
  • A full years scholarship (tuition and fees) from Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado
  • Honorable Mention in Engineering

Year 2 Achievements

The second year of The Stampede Arm project was a sharp change from the previous season. I spent the summer learning Onshape which led to the overhauling of the hand design (down from 17 pieces [wrist to fingertip] to just one piece.) Additionally, I also expanded my research in prosthetics and alternative 3D Printed designs. A Freedom of Information Act request was also filed with the Veterans Administration for hard statistics. Using judges comments and an evolved understanding of what quantitatively the prosthetic needed to do, I designed testing procedures and more clear – in depth goals for the year.

small weights hang from a yellow plastic knuckle - Two Years in Review
I initally planned on testing the knuclkes by hanging scale weights from the bottom as shown. Little did I know the max of 12lbs I could hang was WAY shy of the break point.

The “Big 2” were knuckle strength and range of motion testing. I created a testing rig to pull an individual knuckle and measure the forces sustained using a digital crane scale . Thirty trials showed my new design was capable of sustaining nearly 100lbs on average (whereas Year 1’s design broke significantly on the way into the State Fair). Next, range of motion testing indicated the arm could complete all physical therapy test points except two. There is no side to side wrist motion simply because I didn’t design for that functionality. The arm also only bends at the elbow to ~130° instead of the full 150°.

I returned to the Southeastern Colorado Regional Fair in February of 2018, took 1st in Engineering and the Grand Champion slot for Senior projects. Later in April I exhibited a second time (with TSA) at the Colorado State Science and Engineering Fair.

Year 2 Awards Review

Southeastern Colorado Regional Science Fair

  • 1st place in Engineering
  • Grand Champion Overall (Senior Division)

Colorado State Science Fair

  • Excellence in Aeronautics & Astronautics Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • The Physics Classroom Demonstration Award from Science Toy Magic LLC
  • Honorable Mention in Engineering

Whats Next

As I enter my junior year of high school and 3rd year of The Stampede Arm, I am more excited than ever to work on this project. Outlined are some of my biggest goals:

  • Further develop a fully featured Android App for Demoing/Debugging the arm
  • Use Neural Networks and Artificial Intelligence to control the arm with an EEG Headset
  • Work with an amputee willing to test and wear The Stampede Arm: get real usage and real feedback
  • Develop an end-to-end solution for networking the arm and allowing one on one support/updates to product arms through the internet with little to no user intervention
  • Review feedback from all communities involved to improve
  • Utilize new 3D Printing techniques like larger build volumes, advanced sensors and upgraded materials on the Geeetech A30 to experiment with design options.
  • Exhibit The Stampede Arm at the Southeast Colorado Regional Science Fair and the Colorado State Science Fair in Spring 2019
  • Work with corporations to secure long term research and development capital
  • Work with other prosthetic developers (both Mass Market and Maker Movement) to advance The Stampede Arm to its fullest potential.

Many Thanks

My eternal gratitude goes to the many people and organizations involved in the project so far. This project would not happen without my family and especially Robin Staker (of Lamar Middle School). Sparkfun and Matterhackers donated materials that very directly helped with prototyping and production. Please support these USA based small businesses if possible. (Not only do they have great products, they have GREAT customer support.)

Get Involved

If you (or your company) can contribute physical supplies, long term support or a major sponsorship, please contact me at Contact or chase@thestampedearm.org

If you or someone you know uses, has used or could use a prosthetic arm, please contact me at Contact or chase@thestampedearm.org. I’d love to get a custom prosthetic arm in the hands of someone who uses one in the next year or less.

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