Development of CFRP bipedal walking assist brace using Markforged 3D printer

UCHIDA Co., Ltd. conducts prototyping and development using the composite material "Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP)". In 2018, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our founding, and we are responding to all needs by handling all processes in-house, from design and development to manufacturing and testing.

CFRP is a new material that is used in a wide range of industries such as automobiles, aerospace, medical, drones, and art because of its light weight and high strength. UCHIDA is a world-class CFRP molding technology professional who has won the Innovation Award at the world's largest composite material industry exhibition, Journals and Exhibitions on Composites, held in France in 2016. .

‍UCHIDA introduced Markforged's continuous fiber CFRP 3D printer "Mark Two" for the development of CFRP molding technology. This shortens the lead time and streamlines the prototyping and development process.

C-FREX developed by UCHIDA

C-FREX is a CFRP foot orthosis developed by UCHIDA.

Knee-leg orthosis is a rehabilitation device that helps people with spinal cord injuries to walk on two legs. In order to improve the weight and fragility of conventional lower limb braces, C-FREX uses lightweight, high-strength, and high-elasticity CFRP for the thigh and lower leg sockets, and utilizes UCHIDA's CFRP molding technology. is being developed.

*The explanation of C-FREX is based on the contents of your company's website.

Background of introduction: Development speed improvement and cost reduction

‍Mr. Hara, who is in charge of the development of " C-FREX ",

‍“In the rehabilitation equipment we develop, the comfort of wearing the equipment has a large impact on walking motion, so we proceed with development while repeating the cycle of design, prototyping and evaluation. Aluminum) was used, so it was an issue in terms of development speed and cost.For that reason, Markforged was introduced for the purpose of a simple examination before metal processing.Currently, it is practical in terms of strength and durability. We found that it was highly effective, and we are considering adopting it in the final product.”

‍ was told.

‍In addition, the reason why Markfirged was adopted among many 3D printers is

“Because it is possible to reinforce any layer with carbon fiber at any angle, we can make use of the CFRP molding technology that we have cultivated.”

It seems that it was thought.

Operation method and effect: Discovery and countermeasures for defects in the early stages of development

‍Used 3D printer: Markforged Mark Two

Application: Jigs and tools used mainly during the development and manufacturing of rehabilitation equipment

Development lead time for orthosis knee mechanism:

3-4 weeks using metal working parts

5-10 days using 3D printer

Mark Two used by UCHIDA

According to Mr. Hara, it seems that the big change was the ability to detect problems in the early stages of development and take countermeasures.

‍"The designer himself was able to repeat the process from planning to design, implementation, and testing many times, and was able to take early countermeasures against defects in the early stages of development. In the development of assistive devices, there are many things that can be learned by implementing them, and Mark Two has sufficient strength to verify them.”

Future prospects

‍"The orthosis we develop is sized according to the human skeleton, but the height and physique vary from person to person. 3D printer parts do not require molds, so it is possible to develop custom-made fine sizes. By automating the process from measurement to model creation, we believe that we will be able to provide prostheses that fit the user's body and have an excellent design more quickly and at a lower cost, especially for children who grow quickly. I'm here." said Mr. Hara.

3D printed parts used in C-FREX

UCHIDA making effective use of Mark Two in CFRP development. An additional Markforged Onyx One was also added this year, further accelerating the development cycle. C-FREX, which is currently in the prototype and development stages, is scheduled to enter demonstration tests from the end of 2019.

Also, if the strength and durability of the parts produced by the 3D printer are satisfied, they are considering adopting them in the final product, so we will keep an eye on UCHIDA's future development.

Back to blog