Katelyn Vincik was born without a fully formed left arm. For more than a year she was on a waitlist to get a functioning prosthetic arm until the Harris County Public Library, Texas made her a prosthetic arm on a 3D printer.
In an interview with Click2Huston, Kimberly Vincik, Katelyn’s mother said her daughter has always been a determined girl, and she kept on asking the same question like when her hand will get fixed by the doctors.
As a result, her mother searched for a solution on the internet, and that’s where she discovered that the Harris Public Library in Clear Lake had a 3D printer. After that, Katelyn and her mom drove for 2 hours from Victoria to Clear Lake for a meeting with the Branch Librarian Jim Johnson and the 3D printing Lab Supervisor Patrick Ferrell.
According to Johnson, the 3D printer was donated by a deceased patron to the Library, and it was mainly used to print science fair projects as well as trinkets.
On another note, Ferrell added that they were upfront with the family as they explained to them that they had no experience in printing prosthetic. Despite the fact that no one had any prior experience with prosthetics, the family was willing to try.
For the design, Ferrell and his team of volunteers used a model provided on the internet by a community of global network of volunteers named e-NABLE after they had taken measurements of Katelyn’s arm.
The prosthetic is not quite an FDA-approved device, but the material used to print it is a polyactic acid which is a non-toxic plastic. Ferrell described the prosthetic they made as a great alternative to other more expensive professional prosthetics.
Katelyn’s prosthetic was made in her favorite colors which are pink and purple, and it also includes four fingers and a thumb which enable her to grasp on objects. It is attached to her arm via Velcro straps and can be operated using her arm. When she bends her arm the prosthetic fingers close into a rasp position and when she stretches the arm the fingers open.