New hand makes 10-year-old feel 'like Iron Man'

Posted at 11:31 PM, Feb 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-06 23:54:41-05

CINCINNATI – A 10-year-old boy has a new 3D printed hand thanks to a local company and a local father volunteering his time.

Peyton Andry was born with symbrachydactyly, a condition which causes the fingers of one hand to grow shorter than is typical. That hasn’t stopped him from accomplishing things like earning his black belt, but a local father who volunteers with a group called e-NABLE designed a hand for Peyton using software from the Blue Ash, Ohio-based Simplify3D.

Peyton received his new hand Saturday after presenting a report on 3D printing to his classmates at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy this week.

“It’s really cool. I like how it was put together and all,” Peyton said. “It reminds me of Iron Man and other Avengers. It makes me look like I’m more determined.”

Coincidentally, the founder of Simplify3D also attended CHCA. Clayton Webster founded the company three years ago.

3D printers are “really good at listening to instructions, so you tell it to move right 1 inch, it’s going to do exactly that,” Webster said. “But it’s not going to come up with those instructions on its own. That is where the software becomes really important, because the software takes the very complex 3D models and decides what’s the most optimal way to create this on the printer.”

Gregg Dennison, of Falmouth, Kentucky, designed Peyton’s new hand with Simplify3D’s software. He began volunteering with e-NABLE in 2013 because his own son also was born with symbrachydactyly and uses a 3D printed hand.

“Being able to print the hands out, it’s really heartwarming to see the kids’ faces, and know that it’s something you made for them,” Dennison said. “It means a lot.”

He estimated that he’s designed more than a dozen hands through e-NABLE, which links volunteers with around the world and distributes the hands to people for free.

Webster said he’s “constantly amazed” at what people make with his software.

“It’s really moving to watch,” he said.

After Peyton received his new hand Saturday, Dennison’s son, Lucas, helped him arrange it and practice using it. They played catch and tried picking up cups.

“The best part of having a new hand was, I could carry more things at once, so if it’s dinner I could carry a cup in one hand and carry my plate in the other, and then go set them both down at the same time instead of going to get my plate, put it down, going to get my cup, put it down,” Lucas said.

Steven Andry, Peyton’s dad, said he felt a mixture of emotions seeing his son try on the hand.

“He’s had to deal with a lot with that hand and hopefully this will help alleviate some of that. There’s the hope,” Andry said. “But I’m so encouraged because of his response. Just to see his face light up… it’s just very great for a dad to see his son kind of get what he needs.”