Dad builds 3D-printed bionic arm for son

After facing an 18-month wait for his son to receive a bionic hand, Callum Miller decided to make his own – with added flashing lights.

The Stockton-on-Tees father bought a 3D printer and created nine sets of bionic limbs for his 11-year-old son Jamie.

“I knew nothing at all about it before we bought the 3D printer,” he told Sky News.

Using tutorials on YouTube and help from online forums, he and his son learnt how to download the free plans online, printed the parts and put the pieces together.

Image: Jamie Miller helps his father design and build his bionic limbs
The father and son have worked together on the arms
Image: The father and son have worked together on the arms

The nine bionic hands they created are different colours, some feature flashing colourful lights and another is styled with the Batman logo.

“Jamie comes up with designs as well as I do, including a steampunk one which is gold and bronze. We just fire off ideas at each other, really,” Mr Miller said.

Jamie’s favourite arm is the steampunk one. He said: “First of all, it just looks amazing, and say if I’m going to a party the lights show off a lot. It’s not too bright but it looks really cool.”

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The pair have plans to make a more advanced arm.

“It works on myo sensors, which are little sensors which sit on Jamie’s muscle on his arm and we plug them into the laptop at the moment but it has a little board that takes the programme.

“When Jamie moves his arm the fingers open and close. At the moment it’s quite mechanical.

“The idea of this [new] one is that it’ll be Jamie’s muscles and technically him trying to move his fingers so it will sort of be a semi-bionic arm on its own.”

The arms Jamie and his father have made have enabled him to hold and carry more things, as well as to catch and throw a ball.

“Overall it’s made him more confident with himself,” Mr Miller said, adding that others across the world have done the same.

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“Instead of hiding away a disability, they’re more happy to show that they’ve got one because they’ve got something cool to show off.”

The pair have also been working with charity Team UnLimbited, who were able to provide the family with a better 3D printer.

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