Highlands & Islands

Handy work: The making of Hayley Fraser's new hand

Five year old Hayley Fraser, who was born without fully-formed fingers on her left hand, was this week revealing to the world her new pink prosthetic limb.

She is thought to be the first child in the UK to have a prosthetic made with 3D printing by E-nable, a network of volunteers who design and make prosthetics mainly for children.

The volunteers include engineers, artists and university professors, while the technology works by building up layer upon layer of material - typically plastic - to build complex solid objects.

The design and manufacture of Hayley's hand was led by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Milwaukee, USA.

Image copyright Frankie Flood

Achieving the final design of Hayley's hand involved a process of line drawings, cast making and computer-aided design (CAD) software.

Before her pink hand was made, Hayley was first sent a prosthetic - made in fetching pink and purple - that was also created using 3D printing.

Image copyright Fraser Family
Image copyright Frankie Flood
Image copyright David Fraser

Hayley's mum and dad, David and Zania Fraser, provided the university with as much information as possible to help guide the making of the prosthetics.

Frankie Flood, associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, said: "Hayley's parents first sent me an image of her hand along with a line drawing with measurements.

"I was able to take the drawing into CAD software and build our design around this drawing to make sure it fit."

Image copyright Frankie Flood

Hayley's parents also later sent the university a plaster cast of her left hand and wrist.

Image copyright Frankie Flood
Image copyright FRankie Flood

Prof Flood said: "I was able to 3D scan the plaster cast to insure that the hand was going to fit.

"I was also able to use the plaster cast to confirm the final 3D print fitment once the hand was assembled."

Image copyright frankie Flood
Image copyright Frankie Flood
Image copyright frankie flodd
Image copyright Frankie Flood

"My students Kaivahn Sarkaratpour and John Koerner assembled Hayley's second hand during a summer internship in my lab," said Prof Flood.

"After I printed the parts they scrambled to complete their first hand build as I walked them through the processes of assembly, stringing and final finish.

"It was a crash course, but they managed everything well. In addition, my wife Jill is a big part of this work because without her nothing would make it to the post."

Key to the project were the university's Digital Craft Research Lab and Support for Undergraduate Research Fellows programme.

Image copyright frankie flood
Image copyright Jen Owen/enable

E-nable's volunteers have developed a range of prosthetic hands, with colourful names such as Cyborg Beast, Talon and Odysseus.

The newest device is called Raptor.

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