Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds UTC students help make 3D prosthetic hands

3D printing
Image caption The Leeds UTC students have set up the 3D printers to make fingers, wrists and - in this case - forearms

Teenagers are using 3D printers to make prosthetic limbs for children with no hands.

Students at Leeds University Technical College are part of a global project called Team UnLimbited.

Volunteer organisation E-nable matches companies or individuals who have 3D printers to people, often children.

The parts made by the Leeds students are sent to people in need - including those in Africa where children have lost limbs in landmine blasts.

More on this story and others from Yorkshire

Image caption Stephen Davies and Drew Murray open-sourced a hand and forearm blueprint so anyone could use the pattern

Stephen Davies and Drew Murray, from Swansea, started Team UnLimbited to produce the free prosthetic limbs.

Student Simba Masheonsza said most hands were made for children but some were for adults.

"They're for anyone who needs them, it could be people in Yorkshire or across the world, we just alter the dimensions," he said.

Image caption Leeds UTC student Simba Musonza said anyone with a 3D printer could make the hands

Brad Mellor, head of engineering, said: "It's a mechanical hand but it'll still change lives like never before.

"If you've got the technology and know what you're doing, you can make [the 3D-printed prosthetics] by bucket-load and change lives significantly."

The hands give enough movement to pick up most objects. Some users have learned to ride a bike or play the piano.

One recipient, 12-year-old Musa from Nigeria, had his arm burnt when his home was set alight during Boko Haram attacks.

His family fled to a camp in Abuja where he was offered help to get a 3D-printed hand.

Each hand costs about £35 in materials and takes 24 hours to make.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The £11m Leeds UTC opened in September with capacity for 600 engineering and manufacturing students
Image copyright Team UnLimbited
Image caption Team UnLimbited produced a blueprint for the 3D prosthetic hands
Image copyright Team UnLimbited
Image caption One of Team UnLimbited's hands is given to someone who lost a limb

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites