Little Charlie Egan was born without a right arm below his elbow. It was tough on Charlie as he was unable to do certain things and was constantly bombarded with questions about his missing limb.
But his mother and father, Penny and David Egan, got in touch a couple of months ago with E-Nable, and that got the ball rolling to give Charlie a hand, and in fact, a ‘superhero’ arm to go with it.
Penny Egan visited the E-Nable website, sent them photos of Charlie and a series of measurements which would be used to design his prosthetic, and waited as the family was put in touch with a Londoner with a 3D printer. The result was a prosthetic arm with a ‘Spiderman’ theme specially designed for him in red and blue.
Charlie’s Mom said it’s made a world of difference to her son. She added that even though he’s “managed really well” up until now, her son can feel more like the other children, now that he’s got his new arm.
“It will change his life. He has to deal with negative comments about people asking what happened to his arm, and staring at him every day of his life,” Penny Egan told the Daily Mail. “Instead of saying what happened, now people say, ‘Wow, you have a superhero arm.’ Charlie is thrilled with it. He can’t stop smiling.”
While it’s not the first 3D printed arm prostheses from the group, Charlie’s arm is thought to be the first printed and in use in England, and is certainly a life changer. While we are used to seeing dozens of hands 3D printed by the group at E-Nable, arms are not as prevalent.
Charlie’s story begins with a collaboration by a prop maker from the USA, Ivan Owen, and a carpenter from South Africa, Richard Van As. The pair were 10,000 miles apart in geography, but they came together to create a prosthetic hand device for a small child in South Africa which could be fabricated locally on a 3D printer. It’s all a result of the project to create a 3D printable, open source design of a mechanical prosthetic which was originally put out as the “Robohand” in 2012. While E-Nable is not officially affiliated with the Robohand Project in South Africa, which Van As is working with, they say they do build off of their work and that of others. If you would like to purchase a Robohand, they ask that you visit www.robohand.net.
What began as a project by a couple of guys aimed at helping one child in need is now a world-wide movement of engineers, 3D printing technicians, occupational therapists, university professors, designers, parents, families, artists, students and teachers who are 3D printing fingers and hands – and now arms – for children.
The designers at E-Nable offer assistance and design skills – at no cost – to aid those interested in taking on individual cases to help custom design around different shaped hands or needs.
Do you know anyone who’s life has been changed by a 3D printed device? Let us know what you think about the work E-Nable is doing in the Charlie Egan’s 3D Printed Arm forum thread at 3DPB.com.
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
3DPOD Episode 138: Point-of-Care Medical Device 3D Printing with Dr. Steven Kurtz, Drexel University
In this episode of the 3DPOD, we speak to Dr. Steven Kurtz, director of the Implant Research Center at Drexel University’s School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems and...
3DPOD Episode 137: From RepRap to Government Supplier, MatterHackers CEO Lars Brubaker
Coming from the world of gaming, Lars Brubaker started MatterHackers to take part in the 3D printing revolution. Due to his background, he has good war stories: trying to find...
3DPOD Episode 136: Exploring the Boundaries of 3D Printing with Fergal Coulter, ETH Zurich
Fergal Coulter, a postdoctoral research fellow at ETH Zurich, is one of the most interesting scientists working in 3D printing today. His work spans from 3D printing on balloon shapes...
3DPOD Episode 135: Performance 3D Printing Services with Bob Markley, ADDMAN Group
Bob Markley, Executive Vice President at additive manufacturing provider ADDMAN Group, has had an eventful journey in 3D printing. In this episode of the 3DPOD, he discusses the route to...