Man builds prosthetic hand from hardware store parts

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

PHOENIX — Rarely are advanced medical techniques brought to market for less than tens of thousands of dollars. Costs of $100,000, up to $1 million, are common, even for prosthetic limbs.

However, an engineer from Phoenix, says he has proven functional, prosthetic limbs can be built for the cost of a few spare parts purchased at a corner hardware store.

Casey Barrett met his friend, 57-year-old Howard Kamarata, at church in 2013, the year Kamarata had three fingers amputated after a mishap with an electric saw. It turned out Barrett was researching prosthetic limbs–and how to build them– at the time. It was then Barrett came across a 3-D printer, some software and an idea to build his friend a new hand with braided fishing line, screws and a glove, items he purchased at Home Depot for less than he had in his pocket.

“The raw materials involved in this are less than $20,” Barrett told FOX 10.  “To get the parts printed can cost upward of $50 to $150, depending on where you go.”

While it is not as functional as his right, Kamarata’s left hand is a working one again. He can now do things he couldn’t before the unique fitting. He and Barrett are also now working with the RecFX Foundation, an organization that helps provide affordable prosthetic limbs for those in need.

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