Let’s Give Them a Hand! (A 3D Printed Prosthetic One)

NaBlogPoMo Day Seven

Yesterday I got to hang out with the technology club at my son Andrew’s middle school. I should point out that Andrew stealthily avoided me the entire time.

Anyway, while the boy was being too cool to acknowledge his own mother, I was downstairs in the “makers’ space” playing with prosthetic appendages that students had made using a digital printer.


I should’ve run those plastic fingers through my hair before taking this selfie. What a mess!

Examining the fully operational, light-weight, plastic hands, complete with working joints and textured fingertips, I was blown away impressed with the ingenuity of today’s middle schoolers.  The only thing I ever created at that age was an ocean floor-themed shoe box diorama that leaked sand all over the science lab.

And these kids are making hands…..for real people…who hear about their program and sign up to receive a hand. That’s so awesome!!! (I’m super impressed with these students…sarcasm not included.)


According to Mrs. Hockenberry, her students are able to produce fully functional artificial limbs with a 3D printer, a few small hardware pieces and some twine. Cost per limb is about $50, compared to the $40,000 patients spend on traditional prosthetics.


I was having so much fun playing prosthetic patty-cake with the kids that I didn’t even think to ask how well the hands hold up compared to their high end counterparts.

I’ll try to remember to ask next week before our prosthetic rock-paper-scissors tournament.






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10 Responses to Let’s Give Them a Hand! (A 3D Printed Prosthetic One)

  1. Cathy says:

    That is awesome because people pay so much money for prosthetics. Better living through children.


  2. I love the level of work kids can do now, or play–so advanced!


  3. CaptCruncher says:

    How absolutely awe inspiring. Do the kids understand how truly amazing this is? Wow…. what a cool experience!


  4. loisaltermark says:

    Okay, that is amazing! What kids can do today is so inspiring!


  5. I am very impressed and amazed. Wow. I hope this is the beginning of lowering the ridiculously high costs for anything ‘special needs’ or the handicapped need.


  6. Very, very cool. The only technology I remember from junior was the fog machine malfunctioning at the dance. I did take shop and we made a really cool thing from old bowling pins we knocked the shell off up, exposing the wood. So bowling pin craft vs. Robotic hand. Don’t think things have changed much.


  7. nfhill says:

    I saw this on TV and it is so cool, and that your son’s school is doing this is way, way, way cool!


  8. mysocalledmidlife.net says:

    wow, amazing and exciting!


  9. WendysHat says:

    Fun! Those 3 d printers are amazing! It’s really great what technology has done for those who need it. Wow!


  10. elinwaldal says:

    I just saw a demo of one of those printers at Costco! Amazing! Oh and I rather like the unbrushed hair, makes me feel at home!


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