A 3D printed hand costing just £50 has given an eight-year-old girl with a congenital abnormality a new lease of life.

Isabella Rudd, of Faesten Way, Dartford was born with Symbrachydactyly which affects a single upper limb and is characterised by short, stiff, webbed or missing fingers.

One in 32,000 children are born with the condition and in Isabella’s case she has missing fingers on a smaller right arm. 

After an unsuccessful operation, aged one, where bones were taken from her toes and transferred to her hand to try and create digits, Isabella's father Mark Rudd started researching prosthetics. 

Years later, after Isabella, who goes to Joyden's Wood Junior School, struggled to pick up balls to serve in a tennis game at David Lloyd, he looked into using a 3D printer to create a hand.

The final product is thought to be the first of its kind in Kent.

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The 41-year-old told News Shopper: "As Isabella grew older I researched prosthetics that would aid her at home and school and concluded there wasn’t any research being conducted in Britain.

"The only research seemed to be from the United States with a company called Enabling The Future."


A number of FabLabs - non-profit organisations which print 3D hands - operate under guidance provided by Enabling The Future, and Mr Rudd contacted FabLab Essex, run by Iain Duncan, of Mousetrap Innovation, and designer Ian Lewis, of Replicat3d, to see if they could help.

The pair run FabLab Essex voluntarily and finance it themselves.

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Mr Rudd said: "On speaking to them about Isabella we were invited to their lab where they created and printed a 3D Laser Raptor hand for her.

"It has changed her life completely. 

"The hand is built from a biodegradable plastic and created by a 3D printer and operated by her using her wrist with special elastic.

"Her hand was built last week and already Isabella can pick up a bottle, throw a ball, hold a bat and will even try and ride a bike, which wasn’t possible before."

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Mr Rudd added: "The great thing about this technology is that FabLab Essex have managed to create a prosthetic that will only cost them approximately £50 to produce and change a child's life forever. 

"A miracle did happen do my daughter and I want other children and parents to benefit from this new technology available."

He said he has received a great response from parents who have contacted him whose children are in the same position as Isabella. 

He is keen to find a sponsor to fund the materials to create more hands.

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For more information, visit the FabLab Essex Facebook and Twitter accounts.