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Getting Started with 3D Printing Orthotics (Step 2): Work out which workflow is right for you

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

Icon of a workflow diagram

We have a few workflows at AbilityMade. Mixed or Digital will suit most people.

Here’s a quick compare and contrast to help you decide what might suit you.




  • Do your plaster cast modifications as per normal

  • Scan the plaster cast

  • Send the scan

  • AbilityMade model and print the orthosis you need

  • Scan the limb

  • Modify using CAD

  • Send the modified scan

  • AbilityMade model and print the orthosis you need


  • Those new to digital

  • If you want to do plaster mods and still get digitally fabricated orthoses

  • Those who have access to and competency modifying and/or modelling in CAD

  • If you value control, design freedom and the ability to create complex designs


  • A more gradual learning curve: you'll just need to master scanning

  • Lower time and expenditure investment

  • ​Higher upfront expenditure

  • No plaster required: more mobile if you prefer

  • Efficiency gains once you develop competency

  • More product and design options


  • Less freedom and power with design

  • Less time savings

  • Steeper learning curve: both scanning and CAD modifications simultaneously

In summary...

Unless you have the money, time and motivation to go completely digital right away, it’s best to start off small with the mixed workflow - learn to scan and get access to digital products quickly.

WThe Digital workflow comes with increased expenditure and a steeper learning curve, but does pay off in time as you gain competency. You can always tackle this after you've tried the mixed workflow if you want to.

What's our take?

If you’re new to digital, the quickest way to accessing 3D printed products and coming up with amazing outcomes for your clients that you can’t do in traditional manufacture is:

  • Begin with Mixed Workflow

  • Learn to scan

  • Keep using plaster so you know the interface shape will fit as it usually does for you

  • Understand what is possible with digital as you learn

  • Transition to full Digital Workflow once you've got scanning down pat


Ready for Step 3?

Completed Steps 1 to 3?

Just book in an onboarding session and we’ll get you familiarized with our platform. Onboarding only takes up to an hour, and you’ll be off to a flying start in no time!

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