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December 8, 2017
COLIN ANDERSON—GETTY IMAGES

Jake Hubbard is a farmer. He lost his left hand in an accident. Students at Rochelle Middle School, in Illinois, wanted to help him. They created a prosthetic hand for Hubbard. They made it with a 3D printer.

Jake Hubbard tries on his new prosthetic hand at Rochelle Middle School on May 10, 2017.

TIM PARKER PHOTO

Hubbard already has a prosthetic hand. It cost $10,000. He uses it at work. His new prosthetic looks more like a human hand. It cost only about $100 to make. Now, Hubbard says, “I have something nice to have on.”

Getting a Grip

Vic Worthington knew Hubbard from church. He is a technology teacher at Rochelle Middle School. He knew the school had a 3D printer. He thought it could be used to make a new hand for Hubbard. He shared the idea with his students. An engineer in Ohio made the design for the hand. The students used the 3D printer to make the parts. Then they put them together.

Students from Rochelle’s prosthetic-hand project are honored by the Illinois governor.

COURTESY ILLINOIS STATE FAIR

It took a full school year to finish the project. Megan Thiravong, 14, worked on it. “When I saw Mr. Hubbard wear the hand for the first time, I could barely sit still,” she told TFK. “It was like static electricity was going through me.”