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Type Paper
Cite as Citation reference for the source document. Nicole Gallup, Jennifer K. Bow, and Joshua M. Pearce. Economic Potential for Distributed Manufacturing of Adaptive Aids for Arthritis Patients in the U.S. Geriatrics 2018, 3(4), 89;[1]open access

By 2040, more than a quarter of the U.S. population will have diagnosed arthritic conditions. Adults with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions earn less than average yet have medical care expenditures that are over 12% of average household income. Adaptive aids can help arthritis patients continue to maintain independence and quality of life; however, their high costs limit accessibility for older people and the poor. One method used for consumer price reduction is distributed manufacturing with 3-D printers. In order to assess if such a method would be financially beneficial, this study evaluates the techno-economic viability of distributed manufacturing of adaptive aids for arthritis patients. Twenty freely accessible designs for 3-D printable adaptive aids were successfully fabricated on low-cost desktop 3-D printers and performed their functions adequately. The financial savings averaged >94% compared to commercially-available products. Overall, twenty adaptive aids were printed for US$20 of plastic; while on average, each adaptive aid would save over US$20. As printing a tiny subset of the adaptive aids needed by a single patient would recover the full capital and operational costs of a low-cost 3-D printer, it can be concluded that there is considerable potential for distributed manufacturing to assist arthritis patients.


Keywords[edit | edit source]

distributed manufacturing; additive manufacturing; 3-D printing; consumer; economics; open-source; arthritis; adaptive aid; economics; motor skills; person–environment interaction; cost-effective

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Click on the hyperlink below the image to download the stl for printing and the CAD for customization.

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Other aids[edit | edit source]

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