July 15, 2014

11-year-old girl Sierra at Monkton Central School in the U.S. is changing the life of other children: she assembled prosthetic hands made from a 3D printer for those in need.

The idea started when she wanted to use a 3D printer for her fifth grade science project.

Sierra was very curious about 3D printing and how 3D printing can be used to improve the lives of humans and animals who need limbs. The curiosity lead her to connect with e-NABLE, an online community of 3D printing hobbyists to create and improve affordable custom prosthetics for children. e-NABLE pairs children and adults with missing or deformed fingers, hands or forearms with makers who produce customized 3D printed prostheses that can improve their lives.

Sierra got a quick response from e-NABLE member Jeremy Simon. Simon, who runs 3D Universe, sent her some assembly materials kits so she can make her own 3D printed prosthetic hands. He also helped her understand the math involved in printing.

Her enthusiasm for this project has ignited interest in 3D printing in her classmates as well as her teacher, said Sierra's mother, Lianne Petrocelli.

Sierra finished the assembled hand within 2 days. After a successful assembly of the "Cyborg beast" hand, Sierra wanted to take her learning to the next level and actually print a 3D hand for a real child. The e-NABLE community connected her with an 8 year old girl who lives 2000 miles away from her and who is missing all of her fingers on her hand but still has a functional thumb.

"It's really cool. I thought it was going to end after my science fair project." said Sierra.

Sierra will be assembling the first ever prosthetic hand without a thumb and she will send it back to Jeremy for a final check and he will then send it to the 8-year-old girl in California who is awaiting her new hand.

The hand that Sierra will create costs just $50. Compare that to a prosthetic bought from a hospital and thousands of dollars are saved.

"I think my favorite part is helping someone...they can do more now and not just have to use one of their hands to do everything," said Sierra.

Sierra and her family will travel to California later this year, and they hope to meet the girl receiving Sierra's hand.

"it's really cool." Sierra said, "I never thought that a 3D printer could change somebody's life. That was the coolest project I think I've ever done."

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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No thanks wrote at 9/9/2017 9:15:06 PM:

That's amazing!! I am only 11 and I have always thought that it was cool to help people in need but I have never had the opportunity to. Is it possible to make your own with household items? Thanks!

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