Artificial Hands 3D Printer Project

One of our values is “we care for our people” and it’s something we try to live by not just inside our Stoddart walls, but in the wider world in which we operate. One of the ways we do this is through our Darra Satellite Rotary Club, The Helping Hands. The group is made up of employees from all levels and they come together to work on many projects throughout the year to support local and international causes.

One of the club’s latest project is the production of artificial hands for children who have been affected by the landmines in Cambodia.

When it comes to injuries from landmines, Cambodia is one of the most impacted countries in the world with over 25,000 amputations recorded since 1979. The trauma associated with landmine explosions is devastating and according to the Cambodian Red Cross, children account for up to 50 per cent of landmine casualties. There is also an overwhelming number of Cambodian children who are losing limbs, their sight and their hearing as a result of explosions.

Often, children don’t receive artificial limbs because of the costs associated and the speed at which they grow. We have used open source files, provided by a group of volunteers from Enabling the Future to print a low-cost and shorter-term solution with the aim to improve quality of life and allow the kids to do simple childhood activities like catch a ball.

We run a 3D printer five days a week to print the components and then run workshops in our Head Office where team members help with the sanding and assembly of the hands.

One of the artificial hands for landmine victims before sanding is done

So how do we make a hand?

Over the course of a day, our 3D printer prints all the components needed. Once the hand is printed,  it is manually sanded down and string is attached to provide mobility. Internal padding and Velcro are also added to the hand for comfort. The 3D printer is currently creating one-size-fits-all models and we hope to be able to create custom-made versions for local children in the future.

Assembled artificial hand for landmine victims in Cambodia