Father makes 3D printed arms for son
A father whose son was born with no right hand has created several artificial limbs for him using a 3D printer set up in his bedroom.
Three-year-old Tommy Dengel can now pick things up, shake hands and “fist bump” his dad Adam using his DIY arm.
After a charity provided the design, Mr Dengel, 29, bought a 3D printer and spent hours mastering the technique.
He said one of his son’s favourite arms – the Buzz Lightyear one – had broken due to constant use.
Tommy was born with a short forearm and missing his hand due to amniotic band syndrome – a rare condition where stray bands of tissue wrap around the limbs of an unborn baby and cut off blood flow.
Unhappy with the basic NHS prosthetic, Mr Dengel, from Barnsley, started looking at alternatives.
Friends made Tommy his first mechanical arm with the the help of charity Team UnLimbited – which designs, prints, builds and fits 3D printed hands and arms for children for free.
Mr Dengel said: “Tommy was absolutely over the moon with it. When I saw the smile on his face I just thought, right this is something I need to do.”
Each arm costs about £15 to make and consists of plastic which is strung together with fishing wire and orthodontic elastic bands.
It is strapped on to Tommy’s limb with velcro and when he moves his upper arm it triggers the functioning of the hand.
Mr Dengel, who has so far made six arms, said he and his wife Katie were working on setting up a charity to help other children with limb differences and their families.