Missouri Academy students are working on creating a working prosthetic hand to help others.

Members of the Plastic Artificers Lab stand next to their 3D printer. They are Zoe Carpenter, O’Fallon; Sean Lee, South Korea; Irene Hung, Maryville; Ele Hanson, O’Fallon; Jiyoon Lee, South Korea; and Kai Yun, South Korea.

The Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing is a college program offered at Northwest Missouri State University for students who are of high school age who qualify.

Those who are accepted live on the college campus and attend university classes that focus on STEM, research, engineering, biomedical and computer science instead of going to high school. They graduate with an associate’s degree in science and mathematics.

Kai Yun was looking for more things to do at the Missouri Academy so he created the Plastic Artificers Lab this school year. The group has two main focuses, creative and volunteer work. The creative side works at producing new products while the volunteering side looks for ways to create 3D products that will help others.

They are working on building their own 3D printer and they plan to build a working prosthetic hand. The hand will be made with the 3D printer and will have rubber tendons and screws to hold it together. They will use Velcro to attach it to the arm.

“It’s a good opportunity; it can challenge you,” Maryville student Irene Hung stated.

The hand will be available to donate to someone in need on the website enablingthefuture.org/upper-limb-prosthetics/. In order for their design to be available to the pubic, they need to create an E-nable Community Chapter. Currently, they are in the process of applying. In order to become chartered, they have to create a working prototype and submit a video.

The group volunteers once a month at Horace Mann to teach students about 3D printing and design techniques based the 123D Cab design program which is the simplest version of computer design software.

The students begin by drawing their ideas on paper. Then, they work with the lab members to create their designs using the computer software. Once the designs are complete, lab members print the student creations on a 3D printer for them to have.

“My favorite part is to instigate inspiration for STEM and give them some hands-on experience with STEM so they can choose what they want to do in the future,” Hung said.

They also design and produce 3D models for Northwest Missouri State University professors to use in their classrooms including atomic models and a 3D geographic model of Mozingo Lake.

Students who are interested in applying to the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing can apply on their website, nwmissouri.edu/masmc/. Applications for the next session are due by March 15.

“I knew from a young age that I wanted to go into STEM. This gives you more choices than high school. You can research and work with actual labs,” Hung said.