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This Father Built A 3D-Printed Prosthetic Hand For His Son
October 31, 2013
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"Making your kids happy is like the most rewarding thing you can have as a dad, right?"

That's Paul McCarthy, talking about the 3D-printed prosthetic hand he built for his 12-year-old son Leon, who was born without fingers on his left hand. A couple of years back, Paul started looking for an inexpensive prosthetic solution that he could build at home for his son, and that could be replaced regularly as Leon continues to grow.

During his search, Paul came across a video of Liam, a boy who lives in South Africa and has a homemade, 3D-printed "robohand", created by international collaborators Richard Van As (also of South Africa), and U.S.-based engineer Ivan Owen. The pair designed the robohand so that it would be affordable and easily replicated with available 3D printing technology.

They posted all the design specifications online so that anyone could use them to build their own version of the hand, and Paul, who lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts, used the specs to create a prosthetic for Leon.

The father/son duo worked together to adjust the design so that it would fit correctly. Leon told CBS News that he was skeptical at first.

"I thought it was a little crazy," he said. "He was like, 'we can print all these fingers, and like clip them all in,' and it was a little too much."

Now, though, Leon is using the device on a daily basis, and calls it "awesome." The costs are appealing as well — although the printer sells for about $2,000, Paul says the material costs "cost us five bucks, 10 bucks, it was nothing." He told CBS a standard prosthesis would cost between 20 and 30 thousand dollars. 

Via Laughing Squid

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