Babcock High students 3D print prosthetic limbs

FOX 4 Now visited Babcock High School to learn more about their Design Labs project to 3D print and assemble several parts needed to make prosthetic limbs for those in need.

For a group of ninth and tenth graders at Babcock High School, the first day of school this year was like taking a first step. And hopefully, by the end of the school year, it will lead to many more first steps.


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For a group of ninth and tenth graders at Babcock High School, the first day of school this year was the beginning of an ambitious journey. These students are embarking on a project that will not only enhance their learning but also impact lives profoundly by the end of the school year.

Aliana McFarlane, a tenth-grade student, expresses her enthusiasm for the project: “We can do a lot of good, that’s why I want to be part of this project.” McFarlane and her classmates are set to 3D print and assemble several parts required to create prosthetic limbs. In the school’s advanced design lab, they will manufacture the upper and lower knees, upper ankle, and foot portions of a leg using materials such as carbon fiber and Kevlar.

Since the installation of 3D printers and laser cutters at Babcock High, students like Madi Greene have been honing their skills. “I started by just making ornaments and paperweights, and I’ve worked my way up to being able to use this technology,” says Greene, also a tenth grader. This class will collaborate with other high schools across the nation to produce 17 of the 19 parts needed for a prosthetic leg.

Teachers Rico Moreno and CJ McFarlane piloted this program earlier in the year. They successfully created the prosthetic parts and Moreno traveled to Merida, Mexico, to donate the completed prosthetics. He was part of a team that fitted 15 people with new legs. “The prosthetic leg allows someone to gain their independence back,” Moreno explains. “We saw people within 20 minutes go from wheelchair-bound to walking out with a cane. Providing something life-changing like that, from something printed at our school, is remarkable. I came home with a fire to bring this to the children.”

The enthusiasm among students is palpable. Greene states, “This is why I came to this school, for these opportunities. We’ve had several setbacks with COVID and hurricanes, but now we’re actually getting going.” The urgency is clear as their goal is to complete the first 10 upper knees by August 20th, with each part taking 24 to 56 hours to print.

To enhance their production capabilities, the school is seeking partnerships with Southwest Florida tech schools that possess water jets and metalworking tools. This collaboration would enable Babcock High to manufacture more of the prosthetic parts locally. Additionally, the class is hoping for donations to cover material costs and fund student trips to Mexico to donate the prosthetics.

“Knowing that you improved other people’s lives, that stays with you for the rest of your life,” McFarlane reflects. Moreno aims to instill in his students the understanding that their classroom efforts have real-world significance. “As a teacher, the ultimate goal is to sit back and watch your kids explore, discover, and solve the problem,” he says.

If you would like to support the class, you can contact Babcock High School at 239-567-3043 or email This initiative not only fosters technical skills and creativity but also emphasizes the profound impact students can have on the world around them.