Students make music with help of 3D-printed prosthetics

Posted at 3:28 PM, Jun 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-08 15:28:11-04

PINE GROVE, Pa. - An ambitious project at a Pennsylvania high school is changing the lives of two middle school students.

This year, Pine Grove Area High School got a 3D printer, and a student and his teacher just finished printing out two prosthetic hands for the students.

The high school never imagined putting its 3D printer to such good use. In its first year, the high-tech printer was used to create the proper prosthetic hands that the two middle schoolers needed to learn how to play musical instruments.

Holding a guitar and actually being able to play it is a big moment for Casandra Stewart.

"I've never been able to do this before so it's really cool to be able to experience this."

All year, the sixth grader and another seventh grader - Andrew Mindy - had to sit out during part of music class because they couldn't play certain instruments

At one point Andrew, desperate to play the drums, strapped sticks to his arm.

"I wrapped scotch tape around it. But you know, scotch tape is not going to last very long."

schyl prostetics Collage

Pine Grove Area Middle School students Casandra Stewart and Andrew Mindy make music using their new prosthetic limbs created using a 3D printer at the high school.

No scotch tape needed now - the nearby high school heard of the music students' problems and created prosthetic hands for them.

A technology teacher at Pine Grove Area High School gave the task to his talented freshman student Nicholas Brown.

He used the school's brand new 3D printer, and Brown and his teacher documented the process.

"We actually had to change his schedule, his course schedule in the freshman year to get him in here for an additional period throughout the day," said technology teacher Brad Fessler.

It took the entire school year.

After several prototypes, the end result was perfect for both students.

Now with new prosthetics, both students are going to save up this summer to buy a guitar and a drum set.