Wauseon boy gets a mechanical hand thanks to students and staff at local college

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Archbold, Ohio (13abc Action News) - Students and teachers at a Northwest State Community College in Archbold have helped changed the life of a little boy and his family.
It's all thanks to some truly amazing technology. They made the boy a mechanical hand on a 3D printer.

Three-year-old Cameron Haas is full of energy. He was born without his right hand, it's call a congenital amputation. However, it certainly hasn't slowed him down much.

Cameron's grandmother Sabrina Haas, is a nursing student at Northwest State Community College. She brought the idea of making a mechanical hand for Cameron to the STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program, "I am still taken aback by the capabilities of the printer. It shouldn't be this easy, but it is! Everyone involved with this project is amazing. It has been a great adventure for all of us."

It took about a month and several prototypes before the students and staff here came up with the final version. Once the design was finalized it took about 18 hours to make the mechanical hand on the 3D printer, and another two hours to put it together.

The total cost of the project was about $60, but there was no cost to Cameron's family because everything was donated. Sabrina says a prosthetic hand would have cost thousands of dollars and could have taken months to make, "They were even able to fix a part of Cameron's hand yesterday in a matter of minutes. In fact, by the time I got here from home it was finished."

Brandon Allen is a mechanical engineering student who helped design and build the hand, "Did you ever think you could do something like this in class? Actually, when I first came to this school I didn't even know what a 3D printer was. I had no idea how the machine even worked. Nine months later I was helping make a little boy a hand. It inspires me."

Other students who worked on the project say it was life-changing on so many levels. Erika Getzinger is a mechanical engineering student, "I thought I would be studying books and have a few projects here and there I never expected anything like this. When he first put the hand on, it brought tears to my eyes. Honestly it was pure joy for all of us. This project has made me think that I may want to work on projects like this for my career too."

The project required extra hours outside of class, and everyone involved was eager to make it happen David Vansteenkiste is an industrial electrical student who volunteered his time and says he'd do it again in a heart beat,"It was priceless to see his reaction and to hear what he said when he got the hand. It was also wonderful to watch him utilize it. It meant the world to all of us. I want to do whatever I can to help the community and give back as much as possible."

So many lives changed by a simple machine, "It makes me want to do more and keep going and applying my knowledge to better the place we live in."

An important lesson for Brandon and the others in the classroom and in life. The mechanical hand can be adjusted as Cameron grows, and any repairs are relatively easy as well. As you heard a part had to be replaced yesterday, and it was fixed in less than a half an hour.