Man Needed a New Prosthesis for His Finger So He Turned to Reddit for Help

3D Printed Prosthesis

Photo: Reddit

Reddit can be a seemingly magical place where people find each other. And for one Redditor named Adam, the connection he’s made there has changed his life. Adam was in need of a new prosthesis for half of his pinky finger. The cost would’ve been astronomical—in the ballpark of $15,000 to $20,000. His insurance turned him down and he couldn’t afford it out of pocket. So, he did what many folks do when they need help or advice: Adam posted to various subreddits looking for someone to print a prosthesis for him.

Eventually, Adam found someone who could help. A fellow Redditor named Known_Hippo4702 took an existing design and worked to customize it. “Several versions later,” Adam wrote, “they have built me a working version and begun work for someone missing a thumb. It's been a learning process but they have a skill that blows me away and have printed me a new finger for several thousand dollars less than what I was being offered.”

Prosthetics like Adam’s are expensive and must be replaced every few years due to typical wear and tear. So, they are costly and continue to be so in perpetuity. “[3D printing] is going to change the industry,” Adam asserts.

A new subreddit is helping usher in such change. Called Print for Good, it's a place where those who need help—and think 3D printing can do it—can share their needs and connect with Redditors who have 3D printers. If you fall into one of those two categories, check it out.

A man named Adam needed a prosthesis but was turned down by insurance. He turned to Reddit for help, and a fellow Redditor worked with him to design a new pinkie for him. They went through multiple versions; here is the sixth iteration.


My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Adam. 

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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