Dad Uses 3D Printer To Make His Son A Prosthetic Hand (VIDEO)

11/04/2013 07:05 pm ET

Leon McCarthy was born without fingers on his left hand, but with some help from his dad, he can now draw, pick up food and hold a water bottle using a homemade prosthetic.

CBS Evening News reports that instead of paying tens of thousands of dollars for a factory-made prosthetic hand, the 12-year-old's father, Paul McCarthy, printed one.

The Massachusetts dad had spent two years searching for affordable ways to give his son a prosthetic. Finally, he found inspiration on the Internet. He told Fox that he found a YouTube video detailing the work of Ivan Owen, who used a 3D printer to create a prosthetic hand for a 5-year-old in 2011. Following in Owen's footsteps, McCarthy used a 3D printer purchased for his son's school and began working on the hand with his son.

Earlier this summer, NPR reported that McCarthy used online directions from Owen to put the prosthetic hand together and -- with a little trial and error -- created a hand that Leon was able to try.

The dad's project doesn't end with his son. He told Fox that he plans on working with Leon's school to teach students how to print hands and give them to other kids who need them.

"I've done a lot more than I ever thought I could," Leon told NPR. "It's opened up a lot of new doors in my life."

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