Father Uses 3D Printer to Make Prosthetic Hand for Young Son

A medically engineered prosthetic hand costs around $30,000, so instead of purchasing the expensive device, a father in Massachusetts decided to just go ahead and make one for his 12-year-old son. Young Leon was born without fingers on one of his hands, and his doctor recently suggested that his family start looking into prosthetic options. But after seeing a video on the Internet about 3D printers, Leon’s father borrowed one from a friend, downloaded instructions online and got to work.

His dad told CBS News that his final product, the Robohand—which relies on wrist movement and a series of wires and joints to open and close the fingers—“costs us $5-$10.” Because 3D printing a prosthetic hand is so cheap, the father and son can experiment with new sizes and designs. The director of orthotics and prosthetics in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, Matthew Garibaldi, told NPR that 3D printing projects like this offer a lot of promise for future trends in creating affordable prosthetics. “Its primary function is to decrease manufacturing costs and increase productivity. The timeliness of this technology couldn't be better” …

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