Man builds his own arm with 3D printer

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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA. (CNN) — A community college student in Virginia, born without a forearm, had the idea of a lifetime in his engineering class.

He decided to make his own, specially-crafted prosthetic arm. And with the help of his instructor and the school’s engineering club, he did just that.

Having one arm hasn’t stopped Aj Bafetti.

“I was born without a limb because the umbilical cord got caught up in the arm which affected the development for cells,” he explained.

The 22-year-old’s engineering passion began at a young age building things.

“Legos definitely sparked the creativity there,” Bafetti said.

His creativity was kicked into high gear when he got to use 3-D printing machines while studying engineering at Tidewater Community College.

He says he had other prosthetic arms, however he didn’t really like they way they fit. So, nine months ago he came up with the idea of making his own.

“When he came up with the idea, it’s like wow what a wonderful idea,” said Paul Gord, TCC engineering program head.

After 34 years, he says he’s never had a student like AJ.

“One of the things I noticed right from the start was that he was pretty fearless and ready to tackle anything. He really didn’t seem to view his missing forearm as a limitation.”

AJ says he built his own arm using the 3-D printer at TCC along with help from the engineering club president. He says it took a few tries.

“They build all sorts of robot parts and devices, but not anything as useful as a prosthetic,” Gordy said.

AJ explained how he turned a class project into something very beneficial.

“I think it’s just life-changing,” Gordy said.

An assignment that was life changing for this young man who has overcome life’s obstacles.

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