Librarian uses 3D printer to create prosthetics
John Walsh ’01, assistant reference librarian at the Newton Free Library in Newton, Mass., is building a thumb.
Using a 3D printer to create prosthetics is not in Walsh’s job description, but it’s a challenge he accepts with enthusiasm. And it’s changing lives.
The thumb Walsh is working on now eventually will belong to a man named Fred, who heard about another of Walsh’s projects, in which he used the library’s 3D printer to create fingers for a 20-year-old from Guatemala. That project, which began this past spring, was the start of Walsh’s adventure in 3D-printed prosthetics.
About a year and a half earlier, Walsh had convinced the library trustees to invest in a 3D printer as part of a new education initiative. At the library’s annual Spring Fling fundraiser, he was invited to set up a table to share examples of how the printer could be used, including plastic busts, jewelry and two prosthetic hands.