Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Mandy Meyer


Artificial Limbs; Occupational Therapy -- methods; Orthotic Devices; Printing, Three-Dimensional -- instrumentation; Prosthesis Design; Splints


Many practitioners in the field of occupational therapy are unaware of the benefits and importance of implementing a three-dimensional (3D) printer in practice indicating that there is a need for occupational therapy involving the fitting, environmental modifications, and training on how to properly use a 3D printed prosthetic within the upper extremity. 3D printing is when a digital design is converted into a designed material that has a functional purpose and different materials can be used including metal, plastics, and composite materials (Thomas & Claypole, 2016). 3D printing has many unique and effective uses like creating adaptive devices, feeding devices, prosthesis, and splinting. While 3D printing is currently being implemented across certain pediatric populations creating prosthesis, a lack of evidence was noted regarding the use of a 3D printer throughout occupational therapy. (Burn, M. B., Anderson, T., & Gogola, G. R., 2016). This is unfortunate as 3D printing is an innovative field of study that can aid many populations in becoming more independent and functional in daily tasks while increasing quality of life.

A comprehensive literature review on the populations that utilize printing was conducted. The lack of occupational therapy involvement in the transition process of creating and training for the use of a 3D prosthetic, yields the demand for occupational therapy services. The information obtained aided in the development of a resource guide containing the importance of occupational therapy services involved with the transition process of a 3D printing. The literature review led the authors to focus on the main areas of rehabilitation phases, splinting and prosthetics, adaptive equipment, 3D printers, printing filaments, and various safety considerations.

The integration of occupational therapy in 3D printing will greatly ease the clients’ transitions during rehabilitation phases while increasing their level of function and quality of life. 3D printing is a cost effective, user-friendly, creative, and innovative approach to add to practice. 3D printing is an up-and-coming area of occupational therapy and has the potential to change lives.