Apr 6, 2018 | By David

We often see young people leading the way in the world of 3D printing, making the most of their natural curiosity and determination for new technologies. We’ve reported before on groups of schoolchildren working to provide 3D printed prosthetics for those in need, and even a five-year old who was able to assist with the design of his own. The latest development took place in Argentina, where an 18 year-old student offered to 3D print prosthetics for free, and subsequently attracted a huge following on social media.

(source: Municipality of General Alvear)

Joaquín Vergara is a student at the Agriculture School in General Alvear, a city just south of the province of Mendoza in Argentina. He recently announced his intentions to help out amputees, primarily children and adults with missing hands. After posting a video on his Instagram and Twitter accounts where he said that he would 3D print prosthetics on free, the announcement quickly captured the imagination and gained the support of tens of thousands of people. The viral video has received over 85,000 retweets and over 55,000 likes so far.

Vergara has been working with 3D printing technology for a while now, and had already started to make a name for himself in the field back in 2016.  Along with his classmate Juan Ignacio González Burnet and teacher Silvina Marín, he travelled to Brazil as part of a science and technology innovation competition, getting an honourable mention for an impressive 3D printed robot prototype.

He first starting experimenting with 3D printing prosthetics seven months ago, putting together two trial projects that were successful. Then he had the idea to create a video to spread the word and reach out to as many people as possible with an offer for help, and the success is far beyond anything he could have imagined.

The next phase will be to start working more directly with some of the people who have asked him for help, as well as getting together the resources to realize his project. He reached out to the mayor of General Alvear for assistance with logistics, and now has access to a workshop with eleven 3D printers, where he can start to work his magic.

Vergara has had so many requests that he is now asking people to contact him directly via personal email, in order to manage expectations and communicate more effectively. Potential recipients of prosthetics need to send him a photograph that he can work from, and then he will start to put together a design. The first 3D printed prosthetic that he will be sending out for free should be finished sometime this week.

(source: losandes.com)

The 3D printed prosthetics that Vergara provides may not be the most advanced ones available, but for free they are still impressive, with fully functional joints and a customized fit. "It's something that anyone can do, it's just a matter of sitting down and trying," said the altruistic Argentinian. ''What motivates me is helping others. Give a grain of sand. There are people out there whose lives you can change.''

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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