Cumberland man 3D prints prosthetic limbs for amputees

Dean Rock uses the 3D printer in his Cumberland basement to make prosthetic limbs for amputees in the Dominican Republic.

CUMBERLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- An international program at The Portland Rotary Club is helping folks in the Dominican Republic.

The club's 3H program stands for hearing, H20 and hands. There's medical services offered for people in the Dominican who are hard of hearing, filters are installed to provide clean water and amputees are fitted with prosthetic limbs. The hands and arms are created with a 3D printer in Dean Rock's Cumberland basement. He joined the 3H program's efforts in 2016. 

"They gave me a bunch of measurements and I think I made 14 on that trip," said Rock about his first shipment of prosthetics sent to the Caribbean nation. 

Hundreds of prosthetics have been fitted during the 19 trips the 3H program has taken to the Dominican. The look and function of the limbs, that are provided at no charge, have changed a lot over time. John Curran, Portland Rotary Club's Vice President, will never forget one of his very first fittings for a woman named Adida who went without a left hand for 60 years. 

"She had this big enormous smile," said Curran. "She just lit up the room and for me in particular and I think everyone else in the room this was just something where we were like wow this is powerful."

Rock spends around $50 dollars in materials for each limb, but he expects nothing in return. It's charity work he chooses to be a part of because of the impact it has on others. His next ambition will be to teach 3D printing. 

"Going to these host countries and setting up places there that can make their own, that's my real goal," said Rock.

The Portland Rotary Club's next 3H trip to the Dominican Republic is scheduled for January. Rock has made around a dozen prosthetic limbs to take during that trip.

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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