High-schooler changes girl's life with 3D-printed hand

SARAH PERRY/The Saline Courier Bryant High School student Gracie Kimbrell fits a prosthetic hand on Springhill Elementary School kindergarten Emma Kincaid’s. Emma was born without any fingers on her left hand, so Gracie created the prosthetic using a 3D printer. SARAH PERRY/The Saline Courier
Sarah Perry
Staff Writer

Even though Emma Kincaid, a kindergarten at Springhill Elementary School, was born without fingers on her left hand, her parents don’t let her say she can’t do something. Instead, he just has to learn different ways of doing things. 

Emma’s grandmother, Mary Kincaid, said that because Emma has learned to do things herself, many people don’t know her hand at first. 

With the help of a new prosthetic hand created by Bryant High School junior Gracie Kimbrell using a 3D printer, Emma will have a new tool to help her do even more tasks. 

When Emma was born, her parents did not notice the birth defect until a nurse pointed it out to them, according to Sammie Kincaid, Emma’s mother. 

Her family has talked about the option of a prosthetic hand in the past, but “we weren’t going to push it until she was ready,” Sammie said. 
When Emma noticed that her 8-year-old brother was doing things that she couldn’t do, she began asking her parents for a “robot hand.”
During a meeting with Emma’s family and Paula Shaffer, the school’s literacy specialist, the topic of Emma’s hand “came up,” Sammie said. 

Through Shaffer, Emma and her family were eventually connecting with Gracie and the Bryant High School engineering department.

The hand was created using a 3D printer with plastic filament. All of the pieces were printed at one time. Gracie then had to put together the pieces to create the prosthetic. The hand took about two days to print. 
The engineering students found the plans for the hand online through the organization E-Nable, according to John Williams, Bryant High School engineering teacher. 

While using the hand, when Emma moves her wrist down the fingers will move down as well, allowing her to grab items. 
Emma said she really likes the bright purple-colored hand. She is looking forward to using the hand to ride a bike and grab a cup.  

Friday, Gracie met with Emma to make sure the prosthetic was fitting correctly. 

Even though the prosthetic works well, Gracie is already working on a better model. Williams said the new hand should be complete next week. The new model hand is pink and took about two days to print as well. 

Williams said the 3D-printed prosthetic hand is a great option for children since a new prosthetic can easily be printed as an individual grows or if a piece breaks. The prosthetic hand is also much-less expensive than normal prosthetics. 
The total cost for the Emma’s prosthetic is about $20, Williams said. 

Gracie said she would like to become an orthotist as a career. Her interest in the field began before she started this project.