Enabling The Future

A Global Network Of Passionate Volunteers Using 3D Printing To Give The World A "Helping Hand."

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Help Us e-NABLE The Future

By clicking the button above – You can help to support the e-NABLE Community by making a one time or recurring monthly donation to the Enable Community Foundation. Their mission is to support the growing global community of volunteers who create open source devices and provide easily accessible information for children and adults with upper limb differences who are in need of a 3D printed “helping hand.”

With your donation, you are helping us in our mission of “enabling the future” all over the world!
Thank you!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

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Enabling The Future In Brazil With 3D Printing

Dr. Javid Abdelmoneim and Al Jazeera visited one of our wonderful e-NABLE volunteers, Felipe Wiltgen, in Brazil a few months ago and followed him on his journey to finally get to meet one of the children he had created an arm for earlier this year as well as his first personal delivery of an arm to another child.

He shares, “Recent developments in bionic prosthetics offer many without limbs, a life changing opportunity..and yet for most, especially those in the developing world, these advanced prosthetics are financially out of reach…leaving them with little options or nothing at all. I’m in Brazil to see how new open source designs and advances in 3D printing are bringing affordable prosthetics to children all around the world.”

During the day, Felipe teaches engineering to students at a University and in his free time, he volunteers with e-NABLE, creating free 3D printed hands and arms for children in Brazil who are in need of an assistive device. Each hand that Felipe creates for someone, costs him roughly $100 USD in materials and energy costs, which he pays for himself and the recipient pays nothing.

He shares, “It’s a hobby that is helping people…I save up for it.”

Felipe hobby

“The open source nature of e-NABLE designs means that engineers and designers across the world are able to modify and adapt them so that the prosthetics are always improving.” says Dr. Javid Abdelmoneim.

Felipe adds, “The modifications I make are usually small and these changes are then shared with the e-NABLE community. Everyone has access to these modifications and can start using these models.”

The e-NABLE community thrives on sharing their designs with each other, reworking someone else’s idea and helping each other improve upon them all. The incredible progress that the e-NABLE community has seen over the past 2 years, is due to this collective collaboration and non-competitive nature of the group. They simply share their ideas and hope that others see potential in the design and start downloading the files, printing them out and playing with them so that they can repair the weaknesses and build on their strengths.

The e-NABLE Community, working together as a group… putting religious, cultural, political and personal differences aside to work together from thousands of homes, schools, makerspaces, garages and libraries around the world, is how e-NABLE thrives and grows. A collaboration of a multitude of imaginations and volunteers willing to share… THIS is how these children that Felipe has 3D printed arms for, are able to use devices that they never dreamed was a possibility for them.


The first stop for Felipe after sharing about e-NABLE and showing Dr. Javid Abdelmoneim how the 3D printed hands are assembled, was to check in on Rafael who has been using his e-NABLE device for the past 6 months and see how he has been doing with his new hand. Felipe had never met Rafael or his family before as he had created the device for the young boy and paid to ship it to him.

During the short visit, Felipe noted the wear and tear from Rafael’s frequent use.


Rafael’s Mother shares, “When we put up our profile (with e-NABLE) we thought we’d never be selected. The relationship with e-NABLE, especially Felipe was amazing. Each message, each email..you could feel the care and attention that he had toward us.”


You can see the joy that Felipe’s gift has brought to Rafael and his entire family as they gather on their porch to bid him farewell as he heads to his next destination: personally delivering another device to a young girl who is waiting to try it out for the first time.

After another bit of travel, Felipe arrived at the home of Ana Luisa and found that she and her family were eager to meet him and she was more than ready to try on her new e-NABLE device. Family gathered all around as she opened her gift from Felipe and his own family – to her.

She put the arm on bent her elbow. The fingers closed and the tears started falling.


“I love it. I can’t even describe how I feel.” she tells Felipe and her mother adds “It’s incredible. It’s a dream come true.”

When asked how Felipe felt having had his first experience watching a recipient use her arm for the first time, he responded: “It is incredible that we can do something so small and make somebody so happy.” 

And that is really what the e-NABLE community is all about – using tools we already have available to us: our 3D printers, our imaginations, our ideas, our time and extra resources… the “little things” that seem so small to some…but make such a huge difference to someone else.

Do you have a 3D printer? Do you like to design in your free time? Do you want to help print hand kits for those in need?

We would love to have you join us in our Google+ group and welcome you to our global family of makers, thinkers, tinkerers, artists, engineers, students, teachers, parents, recipients, philanthropists and so many others who just want to spread a little bit of joy and “Give the world a helping hand.”

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Recipient Of 3D Printed Hand Gifts Little Girl Her Own 3D Printed Arm – “Paying It Forward”

While we get to hear of many wonderful and beautiful stories as more and more volunteers are delivering free 3D printed e-NABLE “Helper hands” to children and adults around the globe – some of our very favorite stories are the ones that involve e-NABLE recipients who become e-NABLE volunteers that turn around and pay it forward to another recipient who needed a “helping hand.”

One of our amazing volunteers, Stephen Davies, who also happens to be a recipient and tester of e-NABLE devices himself, traveled 200 miles round trip to deliver an **experimental design to his first recipient: an 8 year old little girl named Isabella, from Bristol UK. She is now one of our new Beta testers that will help us develop stronger and better arm designs for our many eager recipients on our wait list. Click the video link below to get a sneak peek into her first experiences with her new device!

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e-NABLEing Kids With Ellen Degeneres And The Gap!

One of our youngest e-NABLE volunteers, Torrae Owen, was invited to participate in a project with Ellen Degeneres and The Gap where she and other young girls hope to inspire other children to reach for their dreams, follow their hearts and never let anything stop them from being themselves and living their passions to become who they were meant to be.

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Happy 2nd Birthday e-NABLE!

It is hard to believe that another year has passed for our ever growing and evolving e-NABLE community and today we celebrate the 2 year mark of somehow finding a way to bring people from all walks of life, different religions, opposing political views, cultures, races, occupations, education levels and so much more – to work together to make a difference in the lives of others…simply by using the talents and tools that we have available to us on a daily basis.

While our community and many others have provided an estimated 1500 free hands to those in need around the world – what we have accomplished over the past year, goes well beyond simply creating helper tools for children born with no fingers, winning tech awards, being gifted a grant for research and development and making the news more times than we can keep track of…what we have really accomplished – is something even more beautiful and wonderful than all of that put together.

We have created a world wide movement of people who are putting aside their differences and reaching out across oceans, past borders and barriers – to create something positive in the world and for each other.

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e-NABLING Hands Across The World

Over the past 2 years, we have watched this amazing “Thing” that is happening…this incredible giving spirit and generosity of our e-NABLE community – spreading across the globe like wildfire.

On the map above, each dot represents at least one hand recipient in that country.

We now know of 40 countries who have at least one recipient of an e-NABLE device that has either been donated to them, created for them by a loved one or who have made one for themselves.

We have no way of knowing exactly how many hands have been delivered due to the designs being shared open source and available to anyone that wants to download them and create them. We know that many people do not wish to go through the matching process because they have the skills and tools available to create one for someone on their own. We estimate that there are about 1500 devices out there in this great big world of ours and that number increases weekly!

It’s incredible what can happen when you share your ideas with each other!

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Look How Far We’ve Come!

In 2012, a young boy named Liam strapped a crude, clunky, metal contraption to his little arm and bent his wrist down and forced the device to close around a tube – giving him “fingers” on his right hand for the first time in his life and unknowingly, starting what would eventually become a world wide maker revolution in 3D printed prosthetics for children and adults who were born missing fingers or who have lost them due to disease, accident or war.

Because of this determined little boy, thousands of children across the globe – have access to e-NABLE’s 3D printed assistive device tools that can aid them in various tasks that used to be a struggle for them in their daily lives. Simple tasks like holding a baseball bat, holding a cup with one hand and eating with the other, riding a bike with two hands for better balance and so much more.

Last week, Liam received his newest hand from his “Maker,” Ivan.


In the video above, Liam shares his previous prototypes and will now be able to add his new Raptor Reloaded hand to his growing collection!

Thank you Liam for “never giving up!”