3D printed hand gives 4-year-old confidence

A HOME-based business at the back of Bli Bli has managed to do what nature and Queensland Health could not do for four-year-old Piper Murray - give her a hand.

Isaac Powell used a 3D printer to print a plastic hand for Piper, who was born without fingers on her right hand.

The pink and purple hand, decorated with stars, that he printed for her is made up of ABS plastic parts connected with strings and elastics for movement.

Piper, 4, of Moffat Beach, is believed to be the first child in Queensland to have a prosthetic hand printed and one of the first in Australia.

VERY HANDY: Piper Murray, 4, with her pink and purple hand created by a 3D printer (seen in background) at DooDadDoes in Maroochy River. It is run by Isaac and Julie Powell (pictured).
VERY HANDY: Piper Murray, 4, with her pink and purple hand created by a 3D printer (seen in background) at DooDadDoes in Maroochy River. It is run by Isaac and Julie Powell (pictured). Iain Curry

She is still learning to use her new hand, but her mother, Lauren, said she was very proud of it.

"We only got it last week. She's still figuring it out and has to build up the strength in her wrist," Mrs Murray said.

"But it's good for her to do that and to build up the strength in that arm.

"Any chance she can get, she wants to show everyone.

"It's more that; it's given her some confidence as opposed to the functionality."

Piper attends a pediatric rehabilitation clinic in Brisbane, but Mrs Murray said she had been ineligible for a government-funded prosthesis because of her level of functionality.

But news of 3D printers being used to print prosthetics had given Mrs Murray and her husband, Chris, hope that Piper would one day be able to try a prosthetic.

Mr Powell and his wife Julie run DooDadDoes, selling 3D printers and consumables online from their home at Maroochy River.

Mrs Murray got in touch with them after one of her favourite bloggers, Georgia Brizeula, who writes Documenting Delight, posted a photo of a Game of Thrones chair printed on a 3D printer by the blogger's brother, Mr Powell.

At Mrs Murray's request, Mr Powell did some research, studied hand models on the Enabling the Future website, and decided to try making one.

He said the hand took about 30 hours to print and cost $10-$20 in materials.

Mr Powell said 3D printers had the potential to do far more good in the world.


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