ST. FRANCIS -- Local students are donating their time to make prosthetic hands for kids who need them. They're helping families in need around the country -- and the world.
It started as an effort to expose students to the latest technology, but it morphed into a lesson in giving back.
Science teacher Peter Graven tapped into crowd sourcing and grants to purchase 3D printers for his students at Deer Creek Intermediate School in St. Francis.
"We actually layer the 3D printing so that we can make a design of different colors," said student Georgia Hancock.
The students are now taking that technology and quite literally using it to lend a helping hand.
"We got involved with a program called 'Enabling the Future' which helps us match with clients, you could say, who need hands 3D printed that are low cost -- well, for us, nothing, because we send them out," said student Colton Feirer.
Graven said students team up with a 3D game designer to create the hand models.
"We ask them, you know, 'what do you like?' What are your favorite colors? So that we can make a hand that's like, specifically designed for them," said Hancock.
The students do all the work on a volunteer basis during lunch hour and recess. After the plastic parts are printed, they assemble them into a working prosthetic hand -- which they then ship to a person who needs it.
"I think it's pretty amazing just being able to help people and just not only be able to learn along the way but be able to help people while we're learning," said Feirer.
The students have completed 10 hands so far. Most of those have been for people here in the United States, though they have had one international delivery. Graven says it usually takes about two-and-a-half months between the time they're paired up with a client and the time they're finished with the product.