Design and Production of Low-Cost 3D-Printed Transtibial Prosthetic Sockets

Merel van der Stelt*, Arico Verhulst, Cornelis H. Slump, Marco Papenburg, Martin P. Grobusch, Lars Brouwers, Thomas J.J. Maal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Introduction Only 5% to 15% of individuals with amputation living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have access to proper prostheses. Mainly, prosthetic costs are too high, and facilities are not within reach. Measurement and production of traditional prosthetic sockets are time-consuming, labor-intensive, and highly dependent on the experience and skills of the personnel involved. Materials and Methods This report describes the workflow to produce low-cost patella tendon bearing transtibial prosthetic sockets. Using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), transtibial prostheses can be easily produced in rural areas. The size of the residual limb was scanned with a handheld 3D-scanner (Einscanner Pro Plus), and the sockets were printed using fused filament fabrication (FFF) with an Ultimaker S5. The foot was made locally, and the other prosthetic parts were imported. The 3D-printed socket costs US $20 (excluding value-added tax [VAT]). The total material cost of the prosthesis, including the other prosthetic materials, amounts to approximately US $100 (excluding VAT). Assuming the asset cost of the devices, the costs of one local employee, overhead expenses, a profit margin, and the VAT included, a 3D-printed prosthesis could be sold for US $170. Conclusions This report provides a blueprint to produce low-cost 3D-printed transtibial prosthetic sockets. Further research will be conducted to replace the imported prosthetic parts for local products and to automatize the digital design process. Clinical Relevance With this workflow, prosthetic sockets can be produced consistently, which makes it a suitable method in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E30-E36
JournalJournal of Prosthetics and Orthotics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • 3D-printing
  • Computer-aided design
  • Computer-aided manufacturing
  • Fused filament fabrication
  • Low-cost
  • Transtibial prosthetic socket
  • Workflow
  • 2023 OA procedure


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