Biomimetic Robotic Prosthetic Hand

Prints (1)



 My project is a 3D printed biomimetic robotic prosthetic hand. It is comprised of 3D printed bones, ligaments, tendon sheaths, and supporting structures like the palm and servo tower mounting pieces. In addition, I take advantage of both rigid and flexible materials in my design. The bones and mounting hardware are made of ABS, and the ligaments and tendon sheaths are made from Taulman 3D’s PCTPE filament. The tendons for my hand are made of spectra deep sea fishing line. I have been working on the hardware for this project for 10 months now, and it's comprised of 54 different stl files - 20 bones, 14 tendon sheaths, 16 ligaments, 20 tendon guides, 1 palm, 2 servo mounting plates, 6 pulleys, and 1 carpal tunnel. I designed 37 of the 57 unique 3D files for the project. The other 20 are bone files that have been highly modified from the original files to fit my project. The base files before all my changes can be found here:

    My design innovates on the current state of robot hands in several way, but the most significant is that takes advantage of biomechanics to achieve a higher level of dexterity. My design incorporates the major components of the human hand (bones, ligaments, tendons, tendon sheath, intrinsic muscle) which allows my hand to have human like movement and speed. Instead of using traditional mechanical joints, I followed the blueprint of the human hand, using printed ligaments and laser cut rubber to form a joint capsule, which has had it rewards in terms of performance and improved dexterity over traditional robot hands.

   The next way my design innovates is in the control department. Since my design closely parallels its human counterpart, I can use existing data from how the human hand moves to control the hand. Instead of writing completely new code to control my hand, all I need to do is track my actual hands movement with draw wire sensors and send that data over to the hand. My design makes the software side of this project significantly less complicated

While the actual hand in my project is larger than human scale because of ease of manufacturing, the form factor of my servo motors to control the hand is very similar to the size of my forearm which is the part that the servo array is mimicking. Most robot hands are more bulky, so my design is innovative because of its smaller and more manageable form factor.

   Finally, my last design innovation is reducing cost. Since most of the design can be printed on a hobbyist 3D printer, the overall cost of the project including motors and other parts can be kept under $600. This is a huge improvement when compared against other prosthetic hands, and an even bigger improvement when compared to other robot hands that try to mimic biomechanics. The level of detail and customization of this hand would make it much more expensive to manufacture if I did not have a 3D printer. Also, all of the parts can be printed in about 2 days, if you are printing through the nights.

 Fun Facts:

  •       Each finger has 46 screws, 8 washers, 3 tendon sheaths, 3 ligaments, 4 bones, 1  finger tip, 3 pieces of laser cut rubber, 2 tendon guides, and 2 lengths of fishing line for the tendons.

  • It takes about 45 minutes to build one finger

  • Most parts were printed on an Ultimaker 2 with an E3D extrusion upgrade kit


Note: This project is inspired from the research paper below. I have modified some design elements, but credit is due to the brilliant researchers who wrote the paper below.


Research paper link:

Progress videos:

My blog:

Design Files

File Size

Index PP .stl
2.64 MB
Index PP tendon sheath B.stl
32.4 KB
Index PPMP Ligament .stl
21.4 KB
Middle DP .stl
831 KB
Middle DPMP Ligament.stl
19.2 KB
Middle MC .stl
34.4 MB
Middle MC Tendon sheath.stl
46.7 KB
Middle MCPP Ligament .8mm thick.stl
21 KB
Middle MP .stl
1.47 MB
Middle PP .stl
2.64 MB
Middle pp tendon sheath A.stl
46.7 KB
Middle PPMP Ligament.stl
24.1 KB
Middle tendon sheath MP .stl
26.4 KB
New Palm 2.1.stl
327 KB
Pinky DP .stl
831 KB
Pinky DPMP Ligament.stl
19.2 KB
Pinky MC Tendon sheath.stl
46.7 KB
Dorsal tendon guide (quantity 20).stl
9.65 KB
Array cap .stl
220 KB
Bottom half pulley (quantity 6).stl
93.1 KB
draw wire body 1.6.stl
64 KB
draw wire cap.stl
32.7 KB
draw wire hub 1.4.stl
52.3 KB
dynamixel small array strip back FIXED.stl
233 KB
Dynamixel small array strip front FIXED.stl
186 KB
Index DP .stl
831 KB
Index DPMP Ligament.stl
19.2 KB
Index MC Tendon sheath.stl
46.7 KB
Index MC.stl
34.4 MB
Index MCPP Ligament D.stl
21 KB
Index MP .stl
1.47 MB
Index MP tendon sheath C .stl
29.8 KB
thumb finger tip mold TOP.stl
115 KB
Thumb front Ligament Joint .stl
22.2 KB
Thumb MC .stl
3.67 MB
Thumb MC Tendon Sheath .stl
29.2 KB
Thumb MCPP Ligament .stl
26.6 KB
Thumb PP .stl
1.89 MB
Thumb PP tendon sheath 1.2.stl
34.5 KB
Thumb PPDP Ligament .stl
31.1 KB
Thumb side Ligaments joint.stl
29.4 KB
Top half pulley (quantity 6).stl
143 KB
Trapezium test flat.stl
5.54 MB
Universal DPMP Ligament .4mm thick.stl
19.2 KB
Pinky MC.stl
34.6 MB
Pinky MCPP Ligament.stl
20 KB
Pinky MP Tendon Sheath .stl
21 KB
Pinky MP.stl
1.47 MB
Pinky PP tendon sheath.stl
21.4 KB
Pinky PP.stl
2.64 MB
Pinky PPMP Ligament.stl
19.4 KB
Ring DP .stl
831 KB
Ring DPMP Ligament.stl
19.2 KB
Ring MC .stl
34.6 MB
Ring MC Tendon sheath.stl
46.7 KB
Ring MCPP Ligament .stl
20.4 KB
Ring MP tendon sheath C.stl
29.8 KB
Ring MP.stl
1.47 MB
Ring PP .stl
2.64 MB
Ring PP tendon sheath B.stl
32.4 KB
Ring PPMP Ligament .stl
22.9 KB
TC Arm Plate 1.2.stl
59.1 KB
Thumb DP .stl
1.47 MB
thumb finger tip mold BOTTOM.stl
26.4 KB


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