3D designer builds open-source Metal Gear Solid inspired arm

Jackson Gordon is an industrial design student at Philadelphia University. Gordon is the founder of Armatus Designs and was commissioned to make a 3D printed bionic hand. The project’s design was inspired by the character Venom Snake from Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.

The Phantom Pain Functional Prosthetic Hand Clip via: Armatus Designs on YouTube

The Phantom Pain hand was commissioned by a Metal Gear fan who uses a prosthetic and wanted something that looked better than his existing “claw-like arm“.

In Metal Gear Solid, Venom Snake’s bionic arm is kitted out with a taser, radar, and drone controls. The gadgets help him to remain unseen by enemies. Armatus Design’s real-life equivalent is, in our opinion, more impressive. Gordon’s work has meticulous attention to detail. Other than the wires and screws it is entirely 3D printed.

Geared to stretch, grip and point

Gordon used casts of his clients arm to ensure a comfortable fit. With 3D printing he then iterated the design: producing parts on a 3D printer, assembling them and then refining and redesigning in CAD. The project took almost 7 months to complete as the 3D designer also had college commitments and other projects for his company.

The Phantom Pain hand wouldn’t have been possible without the help of SeeMeCNC, a 3D printer and material distributor based in Goshen, Indiana. SeeMeCNC facilitated production by providing Gordon with access to a Rostock Max desktop 3D printer. The increased build volume, when compared to his other 3D printers, of the Rostock Max allowed him to 3D print some of the larger parts of the arm. Specificially, the wrist and lower arm required this to 3D print more robust, single part.

It may not be modified (yet) to control drones or emit radar signals, but the finished grip is impressive. Photo by: Jackson Gordon
It may not be modified (yet) to control drones or emit radar signals, but the finished grip is impressive. Photo by: Jackson Gordon

From a clenched resting position, 10 feet of steel wire enables the hand to open and close. This means the prosthetic can grip objects, it has rubber pads on the palm and fingers to prevent slipping. Another length of steel wire is also specifically attached to the index finger, so it can be locked for typing and pointing.

Metal Gear in the making. Photo via: Aramatus Designs on YouTube
Metal Gear in the making. Photo via: Aramatus Designs on Facebook

In total, the Phantom Pain Hand is made up of 45 individual pieces and is available for download on Thingiverse. The 3D design is available under a open source license. The total cost for materials comes in at under $100, a substantial saving on a medical equivalent which can cost in excess of $1,000.

Solid business model

Armatus Designs is Gordon’s design-service company that allows him to pursue personal creative projects and help others in need of his expertise.

Previous projects focus primarily on costume and prop design. One of the most popular is the Combat Batsuit, with over 2 million views on YouTube. The Combat Batsuit recreates the lightweight armor worn by Batman. In the video Gordon demonstrates how his version is also capable of withstanding weapon strikes.

Gordon’s Batsuit in action. Clip via: Armatus Designs on YouTube

With such slick designs, and great support from the community, we can’t wait to see what Gordon makes next.

3D printed prostheses in high-demand

As a cheaper and more personal alternative to what is essentially a life-altering accessory, prostheses are a great use case example for 3D printing. The e-Nable community that matches Makers with people in need of prosthesis would certainly benefit from such designs.

e-Nable recently received another 3D printed arm donation from physics student Ryan Bouricius of Ithaca College. Bouricius’ arm is operable by a single finger, but the website has 3D designs for every kind of operation from wrist powered, to task specific arms.

You can nominate this 3D design for a 3D Printing Industry Award here.

Featured image shows Venom Snake wearing his bionic arm. Artwork from Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain, property of Konami Digital Entertainment.