Fatigue injuries within the left thumb and forearm are common in physicians performing colonoscopy procedures. These arise from stabilizing the scope, as well as steering the scopes distal tip using two steering knobs. In an attempt to reduce those risks, I have built a mounted, Android controlled prototype colonoscope. This allows the physician to control the scope through a touchscreen device, reducing thumb fatigue from steering, while eliminating the need to hold and stabilize the scope (reducing forearm fatigue from gripping the scope).
The base on which the scope is mounted on consists of metal sheet with clamps underneath it in order to clamp it to a table (more specifically the operation table). Two pieces, seen in blue, were printed to hold and stabilize the scope onto the base. A third piece, seen in gray, mounts the two motors that rotate the steering knobs. This piece is bolted to a slider to allow quick setup and removal of the timing belts that go from the motors to the control knobs.
The main reasons that these three parts were printed were time and material cost. As an engineer I can draw a 3D model of any shape I want, not having to worry about factors such as how to machine different geometries, and print it immediately. Printing removes part considerations for machining as well as the time and skill needed to machine the parts. While printing does take time, the skill level of printing is much less than machining. Furthermore, if a complex part is being printed, it can take much longer to machine than printing. Finally, I found that printing is cheaper than purchasing raw materials to machine (as long as you appropriately pick which parts to print). There is always considerations and limitations to printing plastics, such as strength, however, printing can be an extremely useful tool for many projects.