Nebraska man gets 3D-printed finger replacement 20 years after tragic mishap


You are likely at least somewhat familiar with 3D printing by now. However, did you know that it is capable of making prosthetics for people? Yes, you read that right. A Nebraska man has gotten a brand-new prosthetic finger, all from 3D printing.  

Here’s how it was done. 

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How did he get a prosthetic from a 3D printer? 

To give some background, Nebraska native Adam Cutshall was building a mini golf course for his son about 20 years ago at their home. Unfortunately, Adam was using the power tools while intoxicated and ended up cutting off his pinky finger. 

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Orange pinky 3D-printed prosthetic finger

Nebraska native Adam Cutshall cut off his pinky finger while building a mini golf course for his son, after drinking alcohol and using power tools.  (@phodara)

Adam had attempted to get a prosthetic for his finger multiple times over the years, however, the cost could be as high as $20,000, and he was never able to get insurance coverage. This is all too common for most people who need prosthetics, as many are not covered by insurance and are too expensive for most people to afford. 

That’s when Adam found New York City-based artist, photographer, and IT engineer Paul Hodara through a Reddit post asking for any skilled users in 3D printing. After hearing Adam’s story, Paul was kind enough to offer to make Adam a prosthetic finger via 3D printing, all free of charge. 

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What was the process of making the finger? 

Paul used a Prusa i3 MK3S printer to make the device. Throughout his process, he posted videos of the finger’s development, testing its flexibility and durability, and would even show Adam some of his failed attempts. 

Man's hand with clear 3D-printed prosthetic pinky

Paul Hodara used a Prusa i3 MK3S printer to make the device for Adam Cutshall.  (@phodara )

After making about 20 different prototypes over 4 months, Paul completed the final version. Adam is now able to curl his finger for the first time in years, and the finger even features texturing on the tip for gripping. The finger is expected to last for the next couple of years. 

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What does this mean for the future of the medical field? 

I sure hope it means that 3D printing can be incorporated into the medical field, as it seems to be a safe, cost-effective way to help people in need of prosthetics. Paul does not have a medical background, however, he has certainly proven that 3D printing could be a super helpful tool for medical professionals in the future, and maybe people will not have to rely on hoping their insurance companies will cover the costs anymore. 

Orange 3D-printed prosthetic pinky on a contraption with man's hand on top

Adam is now able to curl his finger for the first time in years, and the finger even features texturing on the tip for gripping. (@phodara)

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