(ED NOTE: This is a feel-good, fun post, not totally serious, but it shows a cool way to make a cast.  The writing is on the wall about casts, many may be 3d printed in varous settings, especially setting where the healthcare provider is not too experienced with the applications of casts)

3D printing is increasingly becoming the ‘go-to’ technology for medical devices such as prosthetics and model replicas for surgical simulation. The ability to create custom devices rapidly and fairly inexpensively is a significant benefit to the medical industry, which relies on devices that are tailor made to each individual yet need to be produced and implemented as quickly as possible for the highest chance of success. One company has taken these two needs and infused them with a dash of social media and friendly fun.

FATHOM, a 3D printing and rapid prototyping services studio with locations in Oakland, CA and Seattle, WA, has embarked on a project called #CAST (pronounced “Hash Cast”) that aims to make breaking your arm a more fun and social experience. #CAST aggregates messages from well-wishers on your social media accounts and uses them to create custom 3D printed casts that are literally made from these messages.

Using the #CAST app, users can scroll through aggregated posts and messages left on their social media accounts and approve certain messages they want included in their cast. FATHOM then turns these messages into a printable design using 3D CAD software (specifically Rhino 3D) and appropriates the size and shape to form an exact fit to your arm based on a 3D scan. Once the design has been fully customized and is ready to print, FATHOM prints it using its selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printers.


FATHOM says it uses breathable nylon material in its casts, which is reminiscent of another notable 3D printed cast that also made headlines a few months ago for its revolutionary designs and technology. The Osteoid cast, which we wrote about in April, uses 3D printing to create a custom ABS plastic cast that has strategically placed holes in its design to enable skin to breathe. Because of its holes, the Osteoid cast can be paired with ultrasonic pulse drivers that the user can attach to skin through the cast in order to speed up healing. The Osteoid and #CAST bear a striking resemblance to one another – likely because FATHOM’s cast was inspired by the Osteoid.

“The #CAST project was inspired by the influx of 3D printed casts in the additive manufacturing community — headline-making applications such as Osteoid, the 3D printed cast with healing ultrasonic vibrations created by Turkish student Deniz Karasahin, and the Cortex Cast by student Jake Evill,” said Ava DeCapri, Industrial Designer at FATHOM.

“Both examples utilize 3D printing technologies in innovative ways,” she added. “It’s great that the ability to scan an arm for a closer fit is possible and very accessible. Plus, the durability and waterproof qualities of the 3D printed material make it ideal for a medical application like a cast.”

Not around just yet

DeCapri says #CAST is not up and running, and was created as a way to demonstrate the amazing possibilities 3D printing can bring as well as the tools and expertise FATHOM makes available for its clients. However, the studio is more than willing to speak to private physicians in getting this project out of the studio and into real clinics and onto the arms of patients around the country.

If you know anyone who may be able to contribute, you can contact FATHOM here. After all, as DeCapri says, “Anyone from anywhere in the world can [now] “sign” a person’s cast. It has the potential to not only heal your arm more efficiently, but also uplift your spirits.”

Check out FATHOM’s video for the #CAST below.


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