A Perfect Prosthetic Fit

Katelyn Vincik received a prosthetic arm printed with a 3D printer in Houston, Tex. (VINCIK FAMILY / VIA FLICKR)
Katelyn Vincik received a prosthetic arm printed with a 3D printer in Houston, Tex. (VINCIK FAMILY / VIA FLICKR)

Katelyn Vinick was a 5-year-old girl who was born without a fully formed left hand. She has trie

d a cosmetic prosthetic arm in the past, but it didn’t work for her. Since then, Katelyn has been waiting for a functional prosthetic arm. After waiting longer than expected, Katelyn’s parents contacted their local library in Texas, The Harris County Public Library. They wanted to ask if the library could make a prosthetic limb with their 3-D printer.

The Vinick family discussed this idea with Patrick Ferrell, who was an innovation trainer in the department of 3-D printing. Patrick informed the family that he knew how to print things off of a 3-D printer, but he had no experiences with prosthetics. Although Mr. Ferrell had no experience with prosthetics before, he was confident he could make one. Katelyn and her parents agreed to give this new idea a shot.

With volunteers and dedicated people they finished the arm. The team was nervous that the arm would either: not work, not fit or Katelyn wouldn’t like it. Actually, it was the opposite of all of those things! Katelyn was content and excited for this purple and pink prosthetic that she had patiently waited for. Not only was this endeavor a success, but it was a perfect prosthetic fit.