“3D printing” is fast becoming a faster and cheaper method of producing many things.
Students at a Rockford, Illinois high school are taking on 3D printing as a project, but this is not your ordinary class assignment.
The students are helping a 9-year-old get a better grasp of things, literally.
Kylie Wicker was born without fingers on her left hand.
Recently, her father read about a way to make fingers on a plastic printer, so he asked the teacher at the Engineering Graphics class at Boylan High School for help.
The class then designed a prosthetic hand that works through the movement in Kylie’s wrists. A regular prosthetic hand could cost up to $50,000, so this was a less expensive option for the family.
“I can finally ride my bike,” said Kylie. “She has always been pretty positive about it, but lately when she was breaking down, it was kind of hard,” said dad, Jeromy Wicker.
Teacher Bud May says the cost of this hand is barely $5.00.
“He had seen online that you could make a 3D printout of the fingers on a plastic printer, and he knew we had one,” said May. “The flexible cords make the fingers stand out when you bend the wrist forward the length gets longer and the cables force the hand to grasp.”
Her mother says that her age played a factor in deciding to go with the 3D printer.
“The price is usually around $20,000 up to $50,000, and then you have to take in the fact that she is only 9-years-old, and the way she grows, she will grow out of them,” said mother, Sharon Wicker. “There is a lot of things that have gone through my mind that she can do now, that she can accomplish a lot easier with her new hand.”
Kylie’s hand is expected to be ready by Friday.