This Man Makes Amazing Prosthetic Limbs For Kids In His Garden Shed For Free

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James Felton 01 Jan 2012, 00:00

People are praising a man who creates incredible prosthetic limbs for children in his garden shed – for no money whatsoever.

Stephen Davis, who was born without a left hand, went years without using a prosthetic limb. When he went to look at options for prosthetics, he was disappointed by the look of the arms on offer, and posted his disappointment online. This was seen by Drew Murray, a volunteer for e-NABLE, who decided to design and build him one using a 3D printer.

Since then, Stephen and Drew set up Team UnLimbited, and Stephen dedicates his time to creating prosthetic limbs for children. He has helped amputee children all over the world by creating lightweight, cool designs that the children want to wear.

The limbs are especially useful due to how cheap they are to make. Children outgrow their prosthetics quite quickly, so the inexpensive arms that Stephen creates have big advantages over more costly ones.

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Stephen has been featured on Channel 4 News in the UK, after his shed, where he does his work, was shortlisted for Shed of the Year.

Stephen, from the Swansea Valley in Wales, wanted to make prosthetic limbs for children that they would be proud to show off to their friends. He gets the children to choose their own patterns and colors, before printing the limbs himself – at his own cost. 

"We build them in a range of colors, whatever the child needs," he told BBC News. Designs he's created have included Iron Man, Lego, and Spider-Man themes. He's even built glow-in-the-dark arms.

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Just some of the prosthetics designed and built by Stephen

"Our arms are specifically designed to stand out [and] show off a child's personality," Stephen told Channel 4 News. They are also made to be easily usable and lightweight.

To use the arms, the children bend their elbow, which tightens elastic bands and makes the hands clench. Unbending their elbows relaxes the hands, unclenching the hand.

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A Channel 4 reporter had trouble stopping himself from getting emotional, in this report which has gone viral.

Stephen describes prosthetics he's been given in the past as "like something out of a medieval torture chamber". A five-year-old prosthetic arm that requires the wearer to unscrew a wing-nut in order to open and close the grip inspired Stephen to start creating his own for himself, and then for children around the world.

He manages to keep costs low, at under £20 ($27) an arm. Stephen covers these costs through donations to UnLimbited, and doesn't make any money for his work, even though he puts a lot of time and effort into it. He has shared his template design online too, which can be printed using a 3D printer by anyone who needs it. Because he's great.

Team UnLimibited is applying for charity status this year. In the meantime, you can donate to his work here or support their incredible work on Facebook here.

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