Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Additive Alternatives

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posted on 2021-12-09, 10:47 authored by McQueen, Vincent

As an island nation, beach and coastline activities play a significant role in daily life in New Zealand. In promoting independent and productive lives for amputees, the New Zealand Artificial Limb Service (NZALS) encourages accessing these environments. However, carbon fibre foot prosthetics can be easily compromised by these conditions, as a result of abrasion and corrosion caused by sand and saltwater. To deliver on their mission statement 2017-2021 the NZALS seeks solutions to this issue (NZALS, 2016).  In response this research project explores the possibility of offering a range of customised lifestyle-specific prosthetics that can be interchanged easily with a carbon-fibre prosthetic, to accommodate different recreational activities and thereby offer greater choice and independence for their patients.   The project focuses on a case study for low-cost durable coastline prosthetic produced through Additive Manufacturing (AM) with Nylon PA-12 using design for additive manufacturing (DFAM) principles to facilitate a product that has a human form and dynamic three-dimensionality. This will be supported by the development of a quick-release coupling system allowing amputees to easily switch between prosthetic foot types for different uses. This incorporates height adjustment, ease of customising foot and fairing combinations and improved usability.   This project has been undertaken in collaboration with the NZALS and uses a two-part design research methodology. Research ‘for’ design has been conducted by summarising, collating, and/or synthesising existing research. This was done through literature reviews, product autopsies and context scenarios. This was followed by a research ‘through’ design approach. The methods used are body storming which enabled research on how the foot functions in the scenario, analogue and digital sketching, CAD modelling, and rapid prototyping through AM.  The project provides future reference points for the NZALS to improve and expand their product offerings and to facilitate their goal of remote service provision.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Industrial Design

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Design Innovation

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Title

a product system for recreational prosthetics

Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Design Innovation


Fraser, Simon; Guy, Bernard