Father and Son Work Together to Create 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand

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Fathers’ Day isn’t here just yet, but it’s never too early to celebrate the devotion a father can show to his children. In addition to viral YouTube videos showing sleeping fathers waking up only to catch their children as they fall, we can see countless examples of great parenting in news stories about dads who work with everything they have to make their children’s lives better. Just this year, for example, we’ve already published stories about a daughter receiving a kidney donation from her dad and another father who worked to build his son an amazing costume for his wheelchair and then went on to found the not-for-profit Magic Wheelchair to do the same for as many children as possible.

Jamie Miller and dad Callum [Image: Ian Cooper]

The spread of 3D technology has only made it easier for dads to do incredible things for their children and it was just the right tool for Callum Miller when he wanted to create a prosthetic for his 10-year-old son Jamie. Born without a left hand, the boy had never used a prosthetic limb and grew up learning how to maneuver in the world without one. As his father explained:

“Jamie was born without one hand but he honestly never made an issue of it. He still does everything any other little kid would. He’s always been out playing and enjoying himself with friends. Last October somebody sent me a link to Team UnLimbited who make robotic limbs. I thought it was great so messaged them and looked online at what they did.”

Team UnLimbited is the name of the organization where the collaborative work of Drew Murray and Stephen Davies shines.

Callum with daughter Molly, 14, who helps work on Jamie’s hand [Image: Ian Cooper]

The duo engages in research and development as well as the production of artificial limbs for those in need, all while sharing everything they know and do freely online for anyone to use. In December, they were recognized for their fantastic work with a Point of Light award, given to those who have shown themselves to be outstanding volunteers, from Prime Minister Theresa May. They are a truly inspiring duo, but as there are only two of them they rely on the open-source nature of 3D information and access to 3D printers by others to help amplify the work beyond what they can do with their own four hands.

When Callum reached out to them, he learned that there was an 18-month wait list and decided that he would take a page from their book and create the hand himself. He decided to include Jamie in the project and together they began to scour the internet for affordable 3D printers. The internet did not disappoint. They quickly found a reasonably priced machine on eBay and gave it to themselves for Christmas. And within six weeks they were printing their first hands. Callum explains:

“The arm itself is a very simple design, it’s by Team UnLimbited. Probably about 10 or 15 components in it in total, each all pinned together with pins that you print print yourself. The whole thing is printed on the printer. It takes approximately 10 to 12 hours to make one. It was molded using hot water and a rolling pin and then it’s tied together with elastic bands on the top, which swing the fingers back up, and fishing braids underneath that pull the fingers back into closing, a very, very simple design.”

Jamie Miller shows off his artificial hand that can grip and move [Image: Ian Cooper]

The benefit from this project has been more than just the obvious one, provision of an inexpensive and functional prosthetic for Jamie. The added bonus is that Jamie has become interested in 3D printing, something which today’s students need as it is the modern language of making. Who knows what that interest could spark in the future, and whether simply the satisfaction of making or the development of a breakthrough, it has empowered Jamie to be a creator of his own. That’s just another of the great things that a father has done for his son.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source/Images: Gazette Live]

 

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