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Forming 5: Maddie

It has been a little over a month since 7-year old Maddie received a life-changing prosthetic device from Form5! We are very honored and excited to continue working with Maddie to continue creating many more opportunities! Everything below is a summary of the last few weeks in the third phase of our project Forming 5…

After Maddie left the Form5 offices at the end of March, I discovered our first design challenge when the length of the tricep cuff (pictured above) was too far from the cup piece that cradles her limb difference. This prevented Maddie from fully getting a grip on the device in order for it to function. This device, very similar to mine, the RIT Arm works by residual elbow movement. So when Maddie moves her elbow and pulls tension on the several strings tied to the fingers, they open/close! This test arm also provided many other key details in fabricating Maddie’s final arm!

When fitting Maddie that day I made some modifications on the spot but anticipated the whole part to be modified for her small forearm to fit into the cup piece properly and comfortably. After spending several months before and during Forming 5, I had become more familiar with the program TinkerCAD. Using this software to not only fix the tricep cuff but to make further adjustments to Maddie’s arm to enhance her reqIMG_4617uest.

Maddie requested her arm to be Panda themed and did not specify much anymore after that which fortunately allowed me to become more creative with my first recipient. After shortening the distance between the cup piece and the tricep cuff, I used TinkerCAD to make a panda face in the cup piece. Three inserts were created; two eyes, and a nose. These were printed in black to contrast the white cup piece to create the Panda face! These three pieces pop into the cup piece and can be taken out for play. Maddie actually lost some so Form5 sent some more that her dad has permanently glued in! I also used a 3D pen to complete the design with a simple mouth.

Forming 5 had a deadline of April 12th and with that Maddie needed to receive her prosthetic. After many delays, obstacles, and uphill climb with time, Maddie’s arm was completed April 12th 8:00 am and gifted to her that day during my final presentation that afternoon. The box for Maddie’s final arm was also entirely panda themed thanks to some amazing girls in one of my classes! The weeks leading up to my presentation brought lots of tribulations with 3D printing rapidly and beating the odds of many power outages. I am known for pushing the envelope with my work, but never have I pushed a deadline so close! I couldn’t be more proud of the outcome of my presentation and the opportunity Form5 has presented for Maddie! Thank you, everyone, who helped form 5 fingers for sweet Maddie!

Watch Maddie’s story and project Forming 5 covered by local news network…

10TV News: High School senior finds way to build customized prosthetic limbs


Big things ahead,

Aaron Westbrook, CEO & Founder of Form5 Prosthetics


A year of Reform!

In the beginning of 2016,  the blog I started in 2013 “Alive With Five” completely transformed in unimaginable ways. Within this change in movement, a new direction was taken to ensure the sustainability and overall purpose of our efforts as a whole. Out of this period of change, we not only adopted our new name, but we also began to reform our vision. Now known as “Form5 Prosthetics” we have started the next chapter of Form5 which is to provide eco-friendly prosthetic solutions.  In recent discoveries of recycling and extruding plastics into 3D printer filament, we can now create extremely low-cost efficient prosthetics for all. In addition this year, we launched our biggest project yet, “Forming 5” to initialize Form5’s goal of going green and saving the environment as we head towards the new year!

We have big plans for this upcoming year such as: establishing Form5 Prosthetics as a Non-Profit Organization, fabricating/completing the first eco-friendly 3D printed prosthetic (Project: Forming 5), and also drafting and experimenting with our first prosthetics designs in 2017 as well. In addition, we look forward to making several devices over the summer for those in our local limb difference chapter.

We are extremely grateful for the support from everyone who has followed our story and continues to watch not only the differences being made in Form5’s foundation but the difference we’re going to make in the not so distant future! Going forward please continue following and supporting our movement through our social media (@form5prosthetics) and our website!

Remember change isn’t out of your hand(s),

Aaron Westbrook, CEO & Founder of Form5 Prosthetics


Below is a review in photos of all we have accomplished in 2016:

TEDx New Albany Acceptance -January 8th, 2016
Rebranded to “Form5” – February 23rd, 2016

Columbus CEO Magazine Feature – March 2nd, 2016

TEDx New Albany Event – April 2nd, 2016

Printed and worked with the “Unlimbted Arm” and learned how to thermoform plastic parts – June 10, 2016

Initial meeting with 7-year-old Maddie who will be receiving Form5’s first eco-friendly prosthetic in Febuary (2017)! – June 26, 2016

Kickstarter Launch – June 7, 2016

Nub Club Summer Meetup – July 17th, 2016

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Failed Kickstarter 🙁 – August 12, 2016

Senior Seminar Project: “Forming 5” – Launched October 1, 2016

Rochester Institute of Technology College Visit/e-Nable Collaborations – December 1, 2016

Forming 5 Article – December 7th 2016

We look forward to what we will conquer in 2017!

Thank You!


Forming 5: Five

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


Forming 5: Perform

Cup Collection #3:

After what has felt like a marathon of a month, December has much more in store for our growing movement, Form5 Prosthetics! Last week, (the first week back from Thanksgiving break) we integrated our official cup collecting team which collects and cleans our cups at the end of every school day. This month, I am beginning to recycle the cups into plastic mulch and later extrude the recycled  plastic into 3D printer filament with our new Filabot equipment. In November, I presented my past and current projects to two New Albany Elementary classes and taught the kids the importance of staying curious, and staying creative. As the month came to a close I am now in the hardest stage of the second phase of our project “Forming 5”. This requires not only moving Form5 to the next level but a new mindset of my own as well. As Form5 continues to grow in many new directions our current cup count is increasing weekly, now estimating 1,500 cups by the end of this week. Also, I have begun the many line-ups of media interviews for our project and as they roll out I will be posting them on our social media (@form5prosthetics)!

“Forming 5” (Senior Seminar Project) – ThisWeekNews, New Albany

Forming 5 at RIT:

Now turning my focus from cups to prosthetic R&D, I had the amazing opportunity to tour the college, Rochester Institute of Technology this past weekend. R.I.T. being one of the starting points of partnering organization, e-Nable and their large online community of prosthetic developers who provide open-source 3d prosthetic designs. I had the amazing opportunity to meet those who founded the so-called, “3d printing prosthetic movement”. Over the weekend I had the experience to work and collaborate with them on future projects! In addition to my trip to Rochester, I have been conducting many research components required for my senior seminar project. All current research has been on the evolution and growth in the prosthetic industry and I later plan to document in depth my plastic research which will include several experiments. After collaborating and working with e-Nable for the past three years, I finally met the founder and epitome of redefining the prosthetic industry, Jon Schull. Jon, Skip, and I met on the first day I arrived and immediately began discussing various topics which then lead to some prosthetic prototypes later in the weekend. When working with Skip Meetze, e-Nable volunteer and retired engineer I learned not only engineering insight but knowledge of the reforming prosthetic industry. Skip and I spent the weekend working with the newly developed “Gripper Arm”, which was a part of a research project conducted by two R.I.T students. The “Rwanda Team” consists of two students, Ken & Laura who are designing and working on creating a prosthetic to give to an individual in Rwanda. One of many devices they are studying is the “Gripper arm”, which is the device I ended up building hands-on at R.I.T with Skip. The “gripper arm” is essentially a concept design of a “helper arm”, that requires little to not training in function. As Skip and I both put our heads together we became more aware of the similar problems we both face as “makers”. Students, Ken & Laura were able to analyze my movement and adaptability with my new “Gripper arm” and will continue to collaborate and discuss the device as they prepare to leave for Rwanda!  The time I spent in the lab was very beneficial and the creativity is endless! Overall, I learned and experienced some amazing opportunities this past weekend and gained so much knowledge on not only how I will be conducting “Forming 5”, but future Form5 projects.

“When the journey provides reassurance, strive with excellence”

As always I assure you Form5 is in good hand(s),

Aaron Westbrook, CEO and Founder of Form5 Prosthetics


Below are photos from our current project Forming 5:


Forming 5: Phase Two

Cup Collection Update #2:

Over the past month, I have seen Form5 grow in great measures all across the board! Form5 cup collection has increased weekly, now only 55 cups away from 1,000! At the end of October our cup count was around 350 cups and in 3 weeks we increased by 600 cups. This proves  this movement of ours is beginning to grow. During the month October I integrated “Form5 classroom boxes” for New Albany High School teachers to adopt in their classrooms. In addition, I collect cups from roughly 10 “Form5 Classroom Boxes” along with making my normal rounds to the 10 “Form5 Hallways boxes”. With this rather timely process, I have had great support from my teachers and friends who have helped collect and donate cups! I could not have done this project without the support of my NAHS peers. Now reaching almost the 1,000 cup mark (944 cups as of 11/17/16) I am beginning to reform and re-evaluate the cup collection system and have made the decision to assemble a team to collect cups at the end of every school day. This new system will be in effect December 1st. In the New Year and upon the second semester of school I will access continuing cup collection for Form5 Prosthetics. I encourage those  interested in volunteering to please reach out to Form5 directly, we appreciate your support to our growing movement!

Form5 going Green:

The month of December will be a big month for Form5 as we begin to unravel the second phase of our project, Forming 5. After the donation of funds to purchase a Filament Extruder we began researching to select the best extruder. In doing so Form5 has formed an amazing friendship with extruder company, Filabot, who has supported us in many ways. In addition, Filabot has donated 3 spools of 3D printer filament to Form5 and our R&D of new prosthetics. Our Filabot (Filament Extruder) was delivered on November 17th and we began mapping out the next steps of Forming 5! Now having a Filabot in our hands we can begin recycling the 944 plastic cups we have collected over the past two months into 3D printer filament. After doing some calculations which will be released in December, I estimate Form5 will not have to purchase any filament for the next year! These cups have recently been relocated and stored in Form5 Prosthetics new “makerspace” as we prepare for Form 5’s immense growth in the new year! Form5 has also continued working work Commercial Vehicle Group engineer, Keith Overton who has donated and electric chipper to begin breaking down the plastic cups. This phase of Forming 5 will be documented regularly through social media and I encourage everyone to follow our movement on Twitter and Instagram (@form5prosthetics)! It is amazing to think that 3 months ago I believe this project was impossible because of a failed Kickstarter. I was quick to remember not to doubt myself, but to never doubt the amazing opportunities Form5 Prosthetics and our movement continue to provide. We look forward to where Form5 is headed and sharing with you every step of the way!

As always I assure you Form5 is in good hand(s),

Aaron Westbrook, CEO & Founder of Form5 Prosthetics


Below are photos from our current project Forming 5:


Forming 5: Cup Collection

After completing the initial phase of “Forming 5” and my senior seminar project, I have learned that I’m running a pretty extensive project. In addition to managing and spearheading this project, I often forget that I am actually making history. Over the past month, I have been struggling to balance school, homework, collect cups every day, and run Form5. Although this seems to throw many new obstacles at me, I continue to preserve towards the end goal. Now that I have seen the process of collecting cups there are things I have reflected upon and am aware of the reform needed. I often reference the word “reform” when talking about Form5 Prosthetics because the solution is to never have a solution. Everything changes and in time the system in which was working, no longer does and to continue moving forward you must rebuild, reevaluate, and reform it. Staff and Students could attend that for the past month my Form5 hallway boxes (10) have taken quite the beating, although they have been effective in collecting cups. In addition, I have had to dig through trash to obtain these cups from those who neglect the instructions labeled on the Form5 boxes. As of November 7, I have collected 629 cups total to recycle into 3D printer filament. This filament will then be used to 3D print eco-friendly prosthetics. The majority of cups were entirely hand cleaned, rinsed, and dried by myself and the help of a few fellow students. This week I will be working on reforming the current cup collecting system and involving more volunteers into our movement to continue an efficient process of recycling plastic into 3D printer filament. I am truly grateful for those staff and student who are contributing to make this project everything I’d hoped it would be. I have a hard time as a visionary to simply just line up all the details of the vision I see. In contrast, this project I am truly taking it one detail at a time and I know that the road ahead will provide a handful of opportunities. I look forward to the next update on our project, “Forming 5” and beginning our second phase along with sharing the amazing accomplishments ahead.

As always Form5 is in good hand(s),

Aaron Westbrook, CEO and Founder of Form5 Prosthetics

Forming 5: Finding Filament

After receiving the donation of funds to purchase a Filament Extruder, I’ve been in search of plastic material to recycle and extrude into 3D printer filament. This filament will then be used to 3D print a prosthetic device for a 7-year-old girl in my local limb difference group. When looking for plastic, I had no idea how or where I was going to turn, but as Form5 continues to prove to me, “trust the movement”.

At my High school, we have a coffee shop in which I often go in and volunteer. About a month ago while working in the coffee shop I had a rather big revelation and found that the plastic cups from the coffee shop were actually PLA. Those who know about 3D printing, know filament that is commonly used is PLA or ABS plastic. Along with this discovering, I have also begun working with the company Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG) in New Albany to recycle their scrap and wasted plastic material as well. I have now found several resources in which I can find “plastic waste” and utilize it to recycle, create, and 3D print prosthetics for those like myself.

For the past two weeks, I have been assembling boxes to place around my school campus to collect these plastic cups. The boxes were donated to Form5 from Kroger and I used paper and supplies from the school to decorate the “Forming 5 Boxes”. Last week I completed all 10 boxes and intended to launch the 1st of October. On Monday, during teachers in-service day, I came into school and placed my boxes all around campus, for the past week I have had Form5 information shared on the announcements. Not only does the repurposing of these cups create prosthetics, but contribute to the ongoing efforts to better our environment as a whole. I plan to continue collecting cups for the rest of the month and access if I need to do continue collecting. In addition, in the next couple of weeks, I will be releasing the equipment list detailing all equipment being donated to Form5 and its current status. As the movement continues to manifest, I will share more with what is in store as we push towards conquering several new goals.

Big things ahead,

Aaron Westbrook – Form5 Prosthetics