Forming 5: Research

In the most recent research that I’ve conducted for my senior seminar project, I have learned very reassuring concepts that I have already integrated into Form5 Prosthetics. My initial piece of research regards the evolution of prosthetics and the process of innovating the “next device”. I have been extremely surprised that the process of creating new prosthetics throughout history seems to parallel to some of the things I have been working and collaborating on. To see this process with the knowledge I have gained over the last three years and studying prosthetic development throughout history, I am reassured that I am following similar procedures to previous prosthetic pioneers. Although my journey seems to align with the past, I am working and creating things unlike before. Through my project, “Forming 5” I hope to crack the code of outgrowing a prosthetic device by discovering and creating a sustainable solution of recycling plastic back into 3D printer filament to innovate the “next device”. As I continue executing this large project, I will continue conducting further research along with experiments with plastics and learning how to extrude 3D printer filament out of recycled materials. I am thrilled to be implementing new aspects not only into Form5 but to the prosthetic industry and I look forward to collaborating with many to reform and perfect my process after completing “Forming 5”.

The road ahead:

Within “Forming 5”, the rather large project I have chosen to perform I am in constant need of reassurance, guidance, and overall support. I am often faced with self-doubt and questioning in every decision I make not only to push myself further but to continue allowing Form5 Prosthetics to grow in great measures. Always ten steps ahead, yielding what I am striving to accomplish! A task, one that may seem out of reach yet somehow obtainable in unknown aspects.

This journey continues to provide opportunities for myself to grow and expand in extreme intellect. In the very beginning of this project (roughly six months ago), I started a Kickstarter campaign with the idea of recycling plastic into 3D printer filament to create eco-friendly prosthetic solutions. This projection only being what seemed to be just a seed of an idea. After approximately thirty days after launching our Kickstarter, the campaign failed in early August. After reviewing and reforming our approach to the new goal at hand, I began to embark on this amazing new journey of Form5 Prosthetics.

Now having launched what is known as “Forming 5”, I truly know nothing about what I am about to experience or even accomplish. When I began experimenting with 3D printing three years ago I was completely a “new-b” to the technology, still learning but over time there have been some valuable tips I have picked up along the way! That seed of an idea that I launched on Kickstarter in early July has now grown and prospered into “Forming 5”. I appreciate the redirection of my Kickstarter failure and the new opportunities that I have been granted from this journey. After sourcing all the equipment needed to execute “Forming 5” by donation, I am now striving to accomplish the goal of creating an eco-friendly 3D printed prosthesis. Within this project, I am learning the process of extruding plastics into 3D printer filament. Extruding plastics into filament is a process I am very unfamiliar with, but just like learning 3D printing, I am determined to conquer this goal! If all goes as planned (it won’t and I look forward to overcoming various struggles) I will have successfully extruded two spools of 2.85mm PLA filament by mid-January. Once these two spools are complete, I then begin the third and final phase of “Forming 5”. The third phase mainly focuses on all aspects of the fabrication process of the prosthetic itself that will be made for 7-year-old, Maddie Hovarth. Within the next two weeks and over winter break I will be working on recycling and extruding the plastic cups into filament.

As I am going through new recycling process I will continue to update both this blog and our social media (@form5prosthetics) over the next couple of months! I am excited to begin preparing for what I keep calling the “grand finale” and how I define my legacy in the prosthetic industry, but at my High School as well!

Big things ahead,

Aaron Westbrook, CEO & Founder of Form5 Prosthetics


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