Illinois Students Use 3D Printing to Give 9-Year-Old a Hand

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Students at a Boylan, Illinois high school are using 3D printing to change the world of nine-year-old Kylie Wicker, a third grader at Whitman Post Elementary in Rockton, Illinois.

Kylie was born without fingers on her left hand, but she has always remained positive about it, although understandably there were times when it caused her to break down. At nine years old, however, Kylie is still growing and purchasing a prosthetic hand that would cost around $50,000, was out of the question.

But Kylie’s father, Jeromy Wicker, wasn’t about to give up the search for a hand for his daughter. Having seen that the students of the high school in Boylan had a 3D printer, he decided to email and ask if they could help out.

The teachers and students had never printed a hand before, but it only took a few days to figure out how to design, print, and fashion a 3D printed hand that was designed to fit over Kylie’s knuckles. The hand was printed on a 3D Makerbot printer and was designed with flexible cords that make the fingers extend and collapse like a regular hand.

Kylie will receive two 3D printed hands, in pink and purple. And the total cost is around $5, saving Kylie’s family nearly $50,000. As for Kylie? Her new hands will enable her to do more things, and she is especially excited about being able to finally ride her bike!