Boy, 3, loves new 3D printed arm from family friend

Associated Press
In this Friday, Jan. 4 photo, Robert Noyes, 3, who was born without half of his left arm, sits with Ray Buckland, who created Robert’s prosthetic arm with the help of a 3D printer, at Buckland’s home in Price, Utah. (Associated Press)

A 3-year-old boy in central Utah and his mother are ecstatic about a new prosthetic arm that a family friend made for them on a 3D printer after extensive research, practice and more than 80 hours of printing.

Prosthetic arms for people like Robert, who was born without half a left arm, can cost up to $12,000, even after insurance, mother Brandi Noyes of Price told the Deseret News.

As he grew up she started asking around about other solutions that would be more affordable.

She eventually found Ray Buckland, who owns a 3-D printer and uses it to create things like a spatula, an ice cream scooper and a handle for a broken can opener over the last four years.

“He was on board immediately,” she said.

He did extensive research online and it took 80 hours of printing time for the machine to create it, but the materials only cost about $25.

“To me, this is what all this was about,” he said. “As he bends his arm, it brings the fingers in so he can grab something and pick it up and put it down.”

The boy tried it on for the first time shortly before Christmas, and it worked.

He hasn’t stopped smiling since.

“He wants the world to know he’s got two hands,” Noyes said. “The first thing he wants when he wakes up in the morning is his arm. And he gets disappointed when I have to take it off of him at night. It has to be where he can see it.”

He’s developed more confidence and a fast friendship with Buckland, who he calls “Papa Ray.”

“I’d seen that little boy’s look on his face when he got this, and I said that’s what it’s all about,” said Buckland.

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