Easley students learn to print 3-D hands and plan to make one fo - FOX Carolina 21

Easley students learn to print 3-D hands and plan to make one for their principal

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EASLEY, SC (FOX Carolina) -

3-D printed prosthetic hands are being designed and made for free in the Upstate, for kids who were born without. Now, that mission, is now in the hands of Upstate students.

Just two weeks after FOX Carolina aired a story about a group of retirees who are learning to 3-D print, and use those skills for a good cause, their quest to get local schools in on the action, came true.

A connection was made between a Pickens County teacher and the 3-D printing crew, and Wednesday, a group of Gettys Middle School students got to work.

E-nabeling The Future is the program that connects 3-D printing designers and manufacturers, who make hands and arms for kids across the world who were born without limbs. Reid Becker and Bob Choban are two of eight or nine men with Furman's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute who wanted to bring E-nable's mission to schools.

There were high fives all around as the middle schoolers at Gettys learn how to assemble a demo-prosthetic hand like those used for E-nable. Each piece had been printed in their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) lab at the school.

The students' teacher, Jonathan Scrivner, said that their 3-D printers were donated last September by the Manufacturers Caring for Pickens County. He said his technology classes and the after-school robotics club have been working with CAD and learning 3-D design.

“We wanted them to be able to realize and to prototype the work,” said Scrivner.

Some of the kids said they may consider engineering as a career, but either way, they're getting into the hands-on learning. Shana Gilstrap, a sixth grader, appreciates getting to see how something is done, versus only reading about it.

Instead of just printing trinkets, working with Becker and Choban, lets these kids watch their ideas come to life. Gilstrap said being a part of a group that will donate hands to those who need them makes learning that much more meaningful.

“I think it's awesome that we could actually help someone, because we need to make a difference in this world and actually help people,” said Gilstrap.

Not only may the class be crafting hands for kids just like them, but even one of their school's principals.

Gettys' 7th grade principal, Rick Strickland, was born without a hand and arm himself, and after learning about the printed prosthetics, he volunteered to let his students fit him with their first 3-D printed E-nable project.

Strickland said this partnership gives his students 21st century problem-solving lessons that are “about as good as it gets.”

“I've got to admit, I'm pretty excited to have the opportunity to have a group of kids make me an arm. I mean, how often can a principal say that at a school? So, I'm excited to see what they're going to be able to produce,” said Strickland.

Becker and Choban even expect these kids to eventually take on evaluation and peer communication to improve the hands they create.

The OLLI group explained that after the FOX story two weeks ago, they've also started working with Hughes and Carver Middle Schools in Greenville and Spartanburg Counties.

The men continue to look for more schools who want to get into 3-D printing, and they're more than willing to help teachers work on curriculum to get more kids printing hands.

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