Tag Archives: Pat Starace

3D-printed prosthetic makes kids feel like Iron Man

While a set of 3D-printed prosthetic Wolverine claws are already available, when it comes to superheroes, how can the Maker community forget Iron Man? That is why Maker Pat Starace has put together a beaming, blinking and beautiful version of Tony Starks’s armor using an Arduino, some LEDs and Bluetooth.


It is widely know that 3D-printed prosthetics are immensely cheaper than professionally-made models, which can often run upwards of $10,000. This 3D-printed option is not only cheaper, but adds some Hollywood flair and self-esteem along the way.

“How can we help a child that faces everyday challenges with a disability? My answer is to give them the most awesome prosthetic hand, and raise their self esteem to Super Hero Levels,” Starace writes. The vision was to create a hand, so that a child can have something that solves a mechanical challenge, is affordable, and mostly looks awesome!”

(Mission accomplished, Pat!)


Unlike the Wolverine hand, which used one of the designs from e-NABLE, this Maker elected to develop his own hand along several principles — it had to look awesome, it had to perform awesome, and it had to hide all the strings (typically visible in other low-cost 3D-printed prosthetic hands), so nothing distracted from its magic.

Starace tells 3DPrint.com that his hand can incorporate microcontrollers, wireless devices, smartwatches, sensors, accelerometers, NFC, RFID, and nearly any form of technology. Did we mention that it can also be voice-controlled?

What inspired the Maker? “My main goal is to help a child that is going through life with a disability, and facing everyday challenges in their lives, by making them the COOLEST KID in their school. I can only think this will make a great impact on a child during their early years by raising their self-esteem to superhero levels,” he says.


One other unique aspect of Starace’s project is that it is constructed entirely from scratch. He didn’t rely on any pre-existing schematics and used MAYA to cobble together his design from a series of pictures he found on the Internet. He notes, “There’s a sort of organic mechanical shape to these parts, the goal was to replicate them as close as I could and retain the same look and feel.”

Though Starace didn’t mention as to which 3D printer he used for his build, based on previous projects, we’re guessing it may have been an Atmel megaAVR or SAM3X8E ARM Cortex-M3 based RepRap. (Pat, are we correct?)

Once converting his form to SolidWorks, he began printing his prop. It took around 48 hours for the model to be completed and upon finishing, the Maker was ecstatic. “It was with great excitement to see the model assembled and perform EXACTLY as I had designed it.”

This is clearly one of the most ingenious 3D-printed designs that we have seen to date and look forward the kind of innovation this hand sparks in the future. Just like Tony Stark’s mind, when it comes to the Makers and Atmel based technologies, the possibilities are seemingly endless!