Vets Use 3D Printers As Adaptive Tool

3D Printers

3D Printers

Benjamin Krause3D printers are helping veterans and VA across the country start thinking outside the box about adaptive technology and prosthetics.

From time to time I check out Vantage Point, the official blog for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Last night I came across a story about veterans using 3D printers to create prosthetic devices rather than relying on big corporations to manufacture them, first.

Personally, I think the 3D printing movement will revolutionize consumer reliance on major corporations for developing new invention prototypes to prosthetic hands.

The Vantage Point story doesn’t provide a great deal of resources, but there are other places to search online for answers. After a quick search, here are two resources you may find useful if interested:

NIH 3D Print Exchange – This resource is from the National Institute of Health. It holds a variety of options and serves as a kind of DIY treasure chest of plans.

3D Printer Guide 2015 – This guide walks you through a variety of options for selecting a 3D printer, but that is not all. It is on a website with numerous other resources including a forum and learning platform.

Now a big question may be, “How do I get VA to buy one for me?”

I would not hold your breath on this one. But, for veterans using Vocational Rehabilitation, you may have an opportunity to request one depending on your specific needs. Some veterans may need the flexibility to create accommodative tools depending on your interests, disabilities or line of work. It seems plausible at least that the agency my purchase these as a component of some Vocational Rehabilitation plans.

Aside from Vocational Rehabilitation, each VA hospital has a prosthetics department. 3D printers are somewhat of a new thing when it comes to VA, but down the road it is likely that most VA hospitals will have a system and be able to provide services to veterans onsite.

Imagine how great that could be? Rather than waiting weeks, months or years to get equipment from a VA contractor, a veteran may be able to access the services straight away.

I would love to hear more from veterans with any experience with 3D printers. I have been eye balling them for a couple years and hope to pick one up soon. I have had a couple inventions in my mind and a prototype tool like a 3D printer would be great.

Source: https://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/23118/3d-printer-helps-veterans-adapt/

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18 Comments

  1. I own a 3D Printing company. Also a retired and disabled veteran. If a veteran or a child has a need for a prosthetic and the design, I will print it at no charge. Maybe shipping… But that’s all.
    Regards,
    -Don
    MAJ (Ret.) Donald P. Smith
    Owner and CEO
    3D Simulations, Inc.
    http://www.3DSimulaitonsInc.com

  2. Hopefully, the Army vet who just became a hero for charging in the gunfire of the shooter at the Oregon college incident this week won’t have to go to the VA for treatment, ever.

  3. What’s the hold up. Let’s do some research, there are years of experience dealing with VA on this site, the question to everyone reading here, how many of you have ever heard of or know about a program called Independent Living Program (ILP) worth hundreds of thousands of dollars administered by the Vocational Rehabilitation & Employment (VR&E) department in each state?????????? Please let us know if you are familiar with this program in your state.

  4. I wish I lived in a state where I could record VA asswipes. Florida has a two party recording law. It would make life so much better.

    1. Elf, check with Ben and other lawyers, but, my input is, that if the other party is doing something illegal you have the right to record them. Also, there may not be an expected right to privacy at a government/public VA facility. Further, if you get a doctor’s prescription, whether VA or civilian, for assistive technology that includes use of your smartphone or other recording platform to help you process information for a service-connected disability, or any disability for that matter, use of that device, that inadvertently records unethical, questionable, illegal, intimidating, inappropriate and other undesirable behavior or words by a VA employee, may be exempt from Florida law restrictions. There are obvious exceptions, or they could not have street cams at intersections that are managed by private entities, cameras at ATM’s, in convenience stores, in banks, or even on or near your residence. But, like I said, ask Ben and other lawyers about this. Also, Private Investigators may be able to do recordings that private citizens may not be authorized to do. P.I.’s are expensive, but networking and asking around might help a pro bono one. Finally, you might flat out tell the VA at a certain appointment that you need to record them so you can recall what took place there. If they agree, this might prompt them to act like human beings and give you something that resembles competent medical care. Also, having a witness with you, by phone or in person, may be just as valuable as a recording. I would never go to the VA for anything without a witness present. I do not plan to ever go to the VA for anything due to how they have terrorized me and my family the past couple of years. If I do ever find myself in a position that I really must go to the VA I will have multiple solid witnesses with me. Unfortunately, VA leadership is part of the problem and not part of the solution, and no one in their mind should trust them on anything. They have intentionally proven that they cannot be relied on or trusted for anything. It’s how they cut back on their caseloads.

  5. Ben, something positive is a welcome change, a sliver of light through the clouds of darkness.

    I think this would fall under the ILP program administered by VR&E. This is a very secret program VA doesn’t want vets to know about, but it’s real and full of money, try to get it…………..The key words for applying are, “necessary or vital to independence in everyday living.” I think this is something that could be hard fought for and won.

    1. Fred, the “key words” are, in my opinion, could be the stepping stone to keep vets from getting a ‘limb’ that would make life so much simpler.
      If VA has had monies allocated for this. Then VA should’ve started implementing it.
      So, what’s the hold up?

      1. Like I said the money is there try to get it. The people who administer the program are GS 10 and higher, 10’s are the clerks they all have long titles and protect each other and the money like it’s theirs. A vet just received a grant approval from BVA to build a $153,000 green house through this program………Like I said another big secret from VA…….

  6. Before I get to what I want to say about the VA, yes, the 3-D printers are great for printing prosthetics. i trust the A will pay for the special toner and printer access.

    Now, about VA wait times and the VA’s new announcement (another “VA is Lying” thing for sure!). No, contrary to what any of them say, the Personal Choice has not gotten any easier to use. It’s not a personal choice if every single vet is not allowed to exercise their choice to go outside the VA for any reason.

    This brings me to my point. The hidden true reason for the illegal and highly damaging Disruptive Behavior Committee is to FRAUDULENTLY and unjustifiable put thousands of vets on the Disruptive Behavior List, for the sole purpose of reducing the workload of VA staff, while making it look like it’s the vet’s fault if they don’t want to get medical care at the VA. Period!

    1. I was approved through the program . But still not approved by VA to use it.
      How’s that for BULLSHIT from VA!

      1. Elf, it would be a major shock if any response from the VA for anything was anything but bullshit. We are with you! Semper Fi.

  7. We can use this to make VaIsLying Billboards and posters everywhere! A mass campaign to spread the word everywhere! The yellow color will catch the public’s attention subliminally for sure!

  8. Little off subject today, I think y’all will appreciate it though. From, “VA is Lying” through “Stars & Stripes” comes the next FUBAR by VA!
    Google,,,
    “VA art budget comes under fire in Congress”
    by Travis J. Tritten
    Stars and Stripes
    Published: October 1, 2015

    In the article, Congress says there are some questionable $$$ entries in the bill that was passed to keep VA operating until December 11.
    History lesson here. When our “Founding Fathers” were drafting any piece of legislation, with the sroke of the pen, any superfluous entries were removed.
    It seems our lawmakers today don’t know what their doing.

    1. Oh, they KNOW what they are doing by adding “PORK” to their “pet-projects” in each and every Bill to appease Campaign Donators and those that give them marching orders (Koch Brothers), certainly NOT the USA Tax Payers!
      This $HIT needs to cease yesterday.

      1. namnibor, I was being facetious. VA needs an enema, plus an audit. These turkeys in Washington have caused enough problems.
        Looks like the Senate didn’t approve the VA bill yesterday. We’re only good till Dec. 11.
        On the news yesterday, government employees are saying they don’t know what their going to do during the holiday time. If they get laid off. How’s that for people begging to keep the government running.

        BTW, I went to my appointment today at VA. I’ve got it from two VA employees now. I should never have been given specific medications, since I was never tested for the problem.
        The meds I received could have caused irreparable heart damage. I still have the bottles. So I’m, or my wife, thinking of contacting an attorney.

  9. Yes, it’s really cool stuff. This is tech that I unfortunately do not see the VA going too knee-deep into anytime soon because the VA is earlobe-deep in contracts with private vendors for prosthetics and what even came out at my local VAMC is the VA Prosthetics Dept. had 5 people working in their widely backlogged Prosthetics Dept. and a local Veteran exposed them for constantly screwing-up his prosthetics and he and other Vets were in Chronic Pain from grossly fitting devices with that VAMC Dept. just telling Vets to “deal with it”…come to find out and what was exposed is only -1- of the -5- VA Employees working as official Prosthetics Dept. was actually *certified* in Prosthetics. (pretty sure I forwarded that story to you Ben), earlier in year, as Senator Rob Portman and Senator Sherrod Brown (both, Ohio) had to get involved, which caused an investigation, which exposed how the VA is NOT using the most recent advances AND 4 out of the 5 VA Employees not only NOT certified in measuring/producing Prosthetics, but were causing more physical pain and told to “live with it”…which resulted in 4 employees to be dismissed, including the HEAD of that Dept., whom was working in position for many years, causing many years of pain and waiting for Vets, fired as well. That Veteran whom exposed this was Robert Haas of Columbus, Ohio, whom operates a Veteran Amputee Group in area.
    So with that said, can you imagine what any local VAMC would be doing with a 3D Printer? Take Indy VAMC for example: that now dismissed/fired with pay head of Dept. in Social Work/Suicide Prevention that last year was caught making mock-ups with dolls depicting Vets in a very unprofessional and juvenile way, she would have been using the 3D Printer to make even more elaborate mock-ups, never-mind the Vets needing a specialized prosthetic part…right?

    This is great technology and have seen stories where some ingenious creations made in various medical applications. One website that has some of these expensive devices and supplies is tigerdirect dot com and one of those techs that will eventually come down in price, but fairly newly available to the average consumer.

    If the VA wants to actually legally use and express that statement of “Cutting Edge Technology”, they need to ensure their so-called “Specialists” are actually Certified to do same.

    1. I hear their gonna use these 3-D printers in outerspace. Some real smart people are trying their best to get hooked up with NASA and other businesses over this.
      Sounds great for veterans too. That is IF VA keeps the crooks out of the equation…

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