KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A group of Knoxville middle schoolers are using new 3-D printers to literally give people a hand.
Every Tuesday after school at Cedar Bluff Middle School, you'll find a passionate group of kids inside the library.
They make up the school's 3D printing club, and they're about to start their biggest project yet.
"The e-NABLE project is a network that pairs people with access to 3D printing technology with people in need of a prosthetic hand," said library media specialist Trent McLees.
These middle schoolers are doing just that. They're designing a prosthetic hand for someone who needs it.
"I really want to take our 3D printing club to the next level where the students will see the practical applications of this technology and see the ways that it can impact their lives and other people's lives," said McLees.
That's why he was awarded a grant for two 3D printers to make the project possible.
The kids are preparing by designing other things on their Chrome Books, like rubber-band powered toy cars.
"My car focuses not really on aerodynamics, but just simplicity," said 7th grader Josiah Henry.
The hand they're printing operates by wrist power. When the wearer moves their wrist, the hand grips.
"These are going to cost us less than $20 to make which is really awesome," said McLees.
The kids hope to make many hands, and change a lot of lives.
"The main reason why I wanted to join in this project e-NABLE is so I can help people and build things for others to use," said 6th grader Solomon Murakami.
The kids say they'll have their prototype hand designed, printed and assembled in about a month.
McLees says they'll send that hand in to the e-NABLE project for review, and if approved, they'll be paired with people who need their 3-D printed hands.
He hopes they can connect with local people in need of prosthetics to help them out directly, instead of always going through the set program. That way the kids can meet and work with the people they're helping out.