3D printed prosthetic arms and hands

by Bolivians Without Disabilities
3D printed prosthetic arms and hands
3D printed prosthetic arms and hands
3D printed prosthetic arms and hands
3D printed prosthetic arms and hands

Project Report | Nov 16, 2022
Carlos Lost an Arm due to Poor Medical Care

By Matt | President

As a young boy, before the accident
As a young boy, before the accident

Carlos had an accident at his home in 2010 when he was only 10 years old. This caused a fracture in the palm of his left hand. He had surgery, but due to medical negligence, a severe infection occurred, which made the amputation of almost the complete arm unavoidable. Carlos's family (most of all the mother) went to the media and authorities to receive help, but nothing could be done to prevent amputation and / or hold anyone responsible.

Carlos has 3 brothers, 2 older sisters, and one younger sister. He currently lives with his parents and his younger sister in a small house in a peripheral area of the city of La Paz. In 2018, the bank finally granted the family a loan to add an extra room to the house for Carlos.

The only income of the family comes from the job of the father, who works as a taxi driver. This modest income is used to feed and dress the 4 members of the family, finance the daughter’s and Carlos’s education, and to pay back their debt the bank.

Carlos's mother heard about our foundation via a chance encounter with a stranger. With great excitement and optimism, she diligently contacted CreoTec to organize a first assessment appointment. Based on that assessment, it was determined that Carlos needed a full arm prosthesis since he only had part of the humerus bone that comes out of the shoulder. It was very unfortunate that the amputation was apparently performed without sufficient knowledge, or care for the patient. The exact location of the amputation could have been different and this poor choice made the new prosthetic limb more difficult to use.

During the following 3 weeks, a prosthetic limb was manufactured by Roly Mamani and Juan Carlos Mamani in their Bolivian workshop using 3D Printer, Robotic Technics, sewing work for the harness. The manufacturing process included two test sessions during the month to try and improve the prosthesis. The manufactured solution is a prosthesis that includes the replacement of the humerus bone or arm, the elbow, the forearm, the wrist, and the hand. These pieces were finished with 3D printing with a PLA filament material. They were then joined by mechanical, metal and carbon fiber. Since Carlos doesn’t have his elbow to command movements to close and open fingers, a small motor had to be added on the forearm to make the arm functional. All parts of the prosthesis were made in the workshop with our own designs and improvements.

On August 1st, the last tests were done and the final prosthesis was delivered to Carlos. These were Carlos's words after he received his prosthesis.

“I thank the Creo Bolivia Foundation, Roly, Juan Carlos and Bolivians Without Disabilities for the help they are giving me. Now I can walk down the street with more confidence and others will not look at me like I am a frea. I am very happy for this help”

Now Carlos dreams of studying law at the public University and hopes to help others in need.


This patient's name has been changed to protect his identity.

Bolivians Without Disabilities works with the organization “CreoTec”, which is located in La Paz Bolivia. CreoTec evaluates all patients, fabricates the prostheses using 3D printer technology, and then teaches the patients how to use their new limbs.

If you would like to help more Bolivian amputees like this one, then please donate now.

Wearing new arm
Wearing new arm
After arm loss - during evaluation process
After arm loss - during evaluation process
The 3D printed prosthetic limb.
The 3D printed prosthetic limb.
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Organization Information

Bolivians Without Disabilities

Location: melbourne, FL - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Bolivians_Disab
Project Leader:
matthew pepe
Indn Hbr Bch , FL United States
$370 raised of $15,000 goal
8 donations
$14,630 to go
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