How 3D Printing Made a Little Girl Happy

Public Library uses 3D Printer to give 5-year-old Girl a Prosthetic Hand

Prosthetic Hand
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Harris County Public Library made the prayers of a 5-year-old girl come true when they 3D printed her a prosthetic arm.

The Vincik family from Texas contacted the library earlier in the year to enquire about 3D printing. They’d heard about the 3D printer at Clear Lake City-County Freeman Branch Library while searching online.

The prosthetic limb would be for Katelyn Vincik, a 5-year-old girl who was born without a fully formed left hand.

Patrick Ferrell, an innovation lab trainer at the library, said: “We were pretty upfront with the family. None of us had any experience with prosthetics. We know how to make 3D prints, and we know how to build things. But none of us have specific experience with prosthetics. And the family was willing to go along with it, even though none of us really knew exactly what we were doing.”


Created with a little help from volunteers

The prosthetic was created with the help of volunteers. To make sure the design was just right, the library took measurements of Katelyn’s arms.

They then picked a design that was publicly available and scaled it to her size. The volunteers then went to work 3D printing the design.

Naturally, Ferrell was feeling rather nervous about delivering the prosthetic to Katelyn. He said: “I was nervous that it wouldn’t work, it wouldn’t fit, that she wouldn’t like it, that it would break right away or something. But it was really — it was exciting to watch her take it out of the bag and put it on her arm.”

Ferrell had nothing to worry about as it did fit and Katelyn did like it. Kimberly Vincik, Katelyn’s mother, said her daughter had long been waiting for a functional prosthetic, praying every night for her arm to be fixed.

This was the first time the library had tackled a project like this, said branch manager Jim Johnson. But, the hard work paid off and handing over the finished print was an emotional moment for the entire party of family and friends who had gathered.

“We help patrons every day find books or this, that or the other,” Manager Jim Johnson said. “And to some extent, we may get involved with them personally, just hearing their stories. But … to really make a true difference in someone’s life, in this case a little girl’s life, is just incredibly satisfying.”

(Source: Washington Post)

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