Michigan High School Students 3-D Print Prosthetic Arm for 4-Year-Old Girl

Michigan High School Students 3-D Print Prosthetic Arm for 4-Year-Old Girl

When Maeli Gottschak was born, she was missing her left forearm and hand. Nobody ever thought she’s be able to do the things she is today thanks to a group of seniors from Forest Hills High School, who blessed the 4-year-old with a prosthetic arm. They put an unknown amount of time into creating a fully-functioning, user-friendly arm using a 3-D printer and resources from Enabling the Future.


From MLive:

It is difficult to determine who was most affected by the outcome – the 4-year-old born without a forearm who can now pick up items with her new hand and ride a scooter like her friends do, or the five Forest Hills Northern seniors who used a classroom 3-D printer to make Maeli Gottschak a prosthetic arm.

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It was during spring break that Maeli’s mother Laura Gottschalk, who teaches at Northern Hills Middle School, heard the story of a girl in California who had received a prosthetic arm and hand that was made from a 3-D printer.

“I sought advice from my fellow colleague, Adam Zavislak, because of his expertise with all things technology-related,” Gottschalk told the Forest Hills Board of Education the night it recently honored the robotics teacher and the five students – Mitchell Dewey, Alex Dolce, Matthew Holden, Alex Koth and Connor Matulatis – for their accomplishment.

Gottschalk was seeking Zavislak’s opinion on the organization that she had read about – Enabling the Future. “I asked Adam for his input as to if we should proceed with checking out the organization and, the day after spring break, he came flying into my room and exclaimed, ‘Let’s do this,'” she said.

Zavislak had presented the project to the five seniors in his Northern High robotics class.The five went to work and printed all of the pieces for the prosthetic arm.

“They spent hours monitoring the process of the pieces on the printer and continued with the technical part of stringing the pieces together,” said Gottschalk. “They tied and re-tied and printed and re-printed parts and pieces, solving the problem on how to make the final product user-friendly. I know we will never know even half of the amount of time and effort they put into this project.”

Design resources for the project were obtained from Enabling the Future. “It is an awesome organization,” said Zavislak.

The entire process took approximately 20 hours of actual printing time and a total of three weeks to complete. In the end, the students created a movable hand that can open and close based on elbow movement.

While many of Forest Hills graduated seniors are long gone, a couple were at the Board of Education meeting to accept congratulations and have Maeli personally hand them a thank-you note.

“It took a lot of time, but we got it done,” said Mitchell Dewey. “It was a lot of fun and cool that we got to help a little girl in the process.”

We need more stories like this in the world. Bless these children who completely changed this young girl’s life for the better. Faith in humanity is restored.

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