E-nabling The Future

A network of passionate volunteers using 3D printing to give the World a "Helping Hand."


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Hands Across Borders • Scout Troops Make 3D Printed Hands For Syrian Refugees

What do Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Venture Scouts, Sea Scouts and American Heritage Girls have in common? They all spend a whole lot of time participating in activities that help their local communities…from litter pick up at the local Fair, knitting sweaters and making toys for pets at the local animal shelters, planting trees, scrubbing moss off of Veteran’s gravestones to gathering food for the local food banks and so much more.

These groups are always searching for a way to get these young people involved in making the world a little better place and now they are working to not only help those in their own local communities – but we have some troops in Maryland who have embarked on a mission to help make a difference in the lives of people who are clear across the world!

Maria Esquela and her daughter Sarah attended our “Prosthetists Meets Printers” conference in September and were inspired to take it a step further… they have started gathering the troops in Baltimore, Maryland to put together hand making workshops with the help of Dr. Albert Chi, a world renowned trauma surgeon at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. 


The hands that these youngsters and their troop leaders are making – will be sent across the ocean with doctors and medical staff who will be visiting from the Ziv Medical Center based on the Syrian border. These hands will be distributed and fit to patients there as well as to children of Syrian Refugees who have been disfigured by war.


They have had their first assembly workshop on 11.1.14 and Maria writes:
” We had our first assembly workshop yesterday. The scouts were helpful managing it but it cannot be said that they ran it. We worked on 19 hands. It was held at the Baltimore Robotics Center and attended by American Heritage Girls, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Venture Scouts. There were non-scouters from the community as well as from the maker community, interfaith/faith-based organizations (National Association of Muslim Americans on Scouting, Archeparchy of Pittsburgh Greek Byzantine Committee on Scouting and Archdiocese of Baltimore Catholic Committee on Scouting), and people Sarah and I met at the TedX talks in Baltimore the day before. The focus was working on the assembly process and mixing ages/generations in the builds. Good family response. Good promotion of STEM. Reached a lot of girls.”


This coming weekend, on Saturday, November 22nd, they will have another “hand-a-thon” build day where they will be assembling wrist driven e-NABLE hand devices as well as numerous RIT arms to send back with the team from Ziv.

They were not intending to get to make a device for a local child during these events but it turned out that one of the scouts in their area who currently has a commercially made $40,000 Myo-electric arm - is unable to use the device and they will be helping him to make an e-NABLE arm instead.

Maria writes: “Participants at the November 22nd workshop will include 12 year old Christian and his family. Their Scoutmaster heard a presentation I gave at our county meeting last week. The family contacted me Friday. We included the Scout in our workshop with Dr. Chi on Sunday as our case model. Printing started on his hand before we left and he and his family made a hand at the workshop immediately following our visit to the Chi lab. They made a hand for someone else and they get their own tonight. Since they were present for the knowledge transfer on arm assembly, they are helping in the group – making arms at the workshop on the 22nd.”

These troops are coming together to create hands for numerous children who have been affected by the war in Syria – and they are once again able to help in their own community…and Christian will not only be helping to make his own hand, but will be teaching others how to make them for even more people. Just. Incredible.


They will continue to make hands during two more build dates on November 28th and December 13th and during the week long visit from the Medical team from Ziv and could use your help!

Want to help them make a difference where it is needed? Have some spare filament and want to do something that will literally change a life with it?

They are in need of hand kits to be printed and mailed to them so that their scout troops can assemble them and any kits that are not assembled before the team heads back to Israel – will be sent to them for their medical staff to assemble as needed.

What they need:
• Hand kits printed and shipped (not assembled) in ziplock bags, labeled with their size and either left or right hand.
• Files can be found here: http://enablingthefuture.org/upper-limb-prosthetics/the-raptor-hand/
• They need sizes printed at 115% 125%, 130%, 135%, 140% and 145% in all different colors!
• Unassembled hand print kits can be mailed to:
Patronage Church
ATTN: Fr. Conan / Scouts e-NABLE
1260 Stevens Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21277

For more information and to make a donation to help provide the hardware, velcro, fishing line and padding – please visit their Event page.

“Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much.” – Hellen Keller

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Tech Talk Thursday: Intro to 3D Printing

Starting on Thursdays, we’re going to feature guest bloggers from the e-NABLE community to share technical tips and tricks and discuss various challenges e-NABLErs face making hand and other devices. As a quick introduction, my name is Andreas Bastian and I have been an e-NABLE member since October 2013.  By day I’m a 3D printing research scientist at Autodesk’s Pier 9 facility where I shoot lasers and explore new 3D printing processes. By night I work on designing new hands and processes for e-NABLE.

3D printing is one of the core technologies that lets e-NABLE do what it does.  As a fabrication process, it has a lot of capabilities that traditional tools have not.  3D printers can build objects that have internal structure, interlocking parts, and traditionally difficult shapes.  But when rubber meets the road, 3D printer operators are often faced with a wide variety of practical parameters when running their machines.  Today we’ll talk about some of the machine settings that affect print strength and quality.

Infill Percentage:  Desktop 3D printers generally save time and material by making the interior of the printed object not completely solid.  The inside of a printed object is generally called “infill” and can be made with a variety of different patterns, though hexagonal, pictured below, and rectilinear (grid) are the most common.  Higher density infill can contribute to the strength of an object, but it is not a one-to-one relationship.

Infill Percentages

Different infill percentages.

As can be seen below, if we measure the hexagons in the infill pattern, they pretty quickly get to be about the same size.  A good rule of thumb for choosing infill is to measure your design’s thin features or regions that are prone to breaking and to choose an infill percentage whose cell size will span that thin region.  For instance, because many e-NABLE designs involve thin walls, infill above 30% works well because the cell size is below the wall thickness and the infill then does a better job of connecting the walls of the object to each other.

Number of Shells:  The outside, solid surface of an 3D printed object is generally composed of printed material called “shells” or “perimeters”.  Most slicers default to 2 or 3 shells as you can often get good results with those settings.  Shells are another great way to increase the strength of an object because their largest contribution is to the weakest regions of a part with thin features.  For instance, if your thinnest feature is a 4mm wall, then if printed with 2 shells (and assuming a 0.4mm nozzle), only 1.6mm of the width of that wall will be solid.  If you bump the number of shells up to 5, suddenly the entire wall will be solid.  Increasing the number of shells is often more print time efficient than increasing infill percentage.


Several different settings for shells.

Layer Height:  Layer height describes how thick the “slices” of the object being printed will be.  Typically, 0.1mm is considered “high” resolution and 0.3mm is considered “low” resolution.  Many machines can print both smaller and larger layers, but most compromise to a default “medium” layer height of 0.2 or 0.25mm.  The impact of layer height choice is best seen on shallowly curved or angled surfaces.  Higher layer heights lead to more “stepping” or the “staircase effect”, in which the layers are clearly visible.  Smaller layer heights have less visible stepping and often do a better job resolving gradually curving surfaces.  Another consideration to keep in mind when printing is the relationship between layer height and print time:  the thicker the layer, the shorter the print time.  This is especially important during prototyping, where printing with thicker layers can let you design and iterate faster.

Layer Height and Print Times

Layer height has a huge impact on print time. This Raptor proximal phalange was almost three times faster to print using 0.3mm layer than it was to print using 0.1mm layers.

Curves are often one area in which layer height has an impact. The hard stops on these Raptor proximals are stepped on the left at the high layer height and are quite smooth on the left at the lowest layer height.

Part Orientation:  Part orientation during printing plays a large role in the part’s strength and utility.  Like wood, printed objects have grain due to the layered fabrication process by which they are made.  Printed objects are strongest in the plane of the layer (the XY plane), like plywood.  Most e-NABLE designs were designed to print in only one orientation (usually the orientation of maximum strength), but sometimes the gauntlet can be oriented to print in two possible directions:  with the wrist horizontal or with the wrist vertical.  While printing vertically saves the hassle of removing support material, it leaves the wrist and the velcro strap slots very weak.  Printing in the horizontal orientation requires support material for most designs (for now, but not for long!), but makes for a much stronger finished part.

While tempting to orient the gauntlet to not require support material, it makes these thin protrusions prone to snapping.

While tempting to orient the gauntlet to not require support material, it makes the wrist hinges prone to snapping.

Proper orientation for the gauntlet puts the most strength into the printed part.

Proper orientation for the gauntlet puts the most strength into the printed part.


That’s all for this Tech Thursday post!  Read more about proper file orientation on our Tips for Successful Prints page.  In the next Tech Thursday posts, we’ll cover other 3D printing materials, more advanced printer settings, compare hardware for assembling the hands, and much more!


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e-NABLING Education • The Convent of Sacred Heart School

When the first 3D printed hands were being made 2 years ago, one of the original designers had the hope that instead of having thousands of people relying on just two men to help make hands for people in need – that we would somehow be able to find a way to teach others how to make these devices and in doing so, we would be able to watch them teach even more people and …witness the idea grow into a global collaborative effort to make hands for people in need.

It appears that is exactly what is happening…and it is absolutely beautiful.

Not only are adults teaching adults how to make these hands, but children and young adults are now making these for other children and for every person that learns how to make a hand – they can then teach another… and the need to rely on just a handful of individuals to create these devices – is shrinking by the day. We now have entire groups of children learning how to make these and becoming inspired to share their knowledge and continue “Making.”

For the past few months, we have learned of many schools who have been bringing e-NABLE into their classrooms of math and science students as well as after school robotics and engineering programs, but until this point, we have not had a chance to really glimpse into the process they are going through and usually just get to see the final product and resulting smile on a child’s face.

Thanks to the wonderful teachers at Convent of the Sacred Heart School in New York and their amazing students – we are getting to watch the process and visit the classroom as they learn to size, measure, design and problem solve – using e-NABLE hands as their project. These students are making hands for THREE children.

We asked teacher Tanya Lerch to tell us a little about what they are doing at CSHNYC:

Can you tell us a bit about your project?

I teach two geometry classes and one Algebra ll class.  Each of my geometry classes is pairing up with an engineering class to collaborate on a hand.  The Algebra II class will work independently (most of them had me last year and did another project on the 3D printer so are more familiar with it and the Tinkercad software). 

We have three recipients: two six-year-olds and one 16-year-old. The six-year-olds both have use of their thumbs, which will be factored into the design modification of the Raptor hand; the geometry/engineering classes will work on those.  The 16-year-old is missing both hands.  Three teachers and I are creating one of his hands, and my Algebra II class will create the other.

Next week, we will meet for four days (periods are 40 minutes long).  In groups of two, students will first each work on doing the calibration and the measurements of the hands (this teaches them about scale factor, measurement skills, and the virtual measurement software- tracker).  They will also generate the .STL files.  They will then work on problem-solving, such as how to remove the thumb from the Raptor hand design for the six-year-olds.


We are also having students do some fun customizations, such as adding a Lego piece to the print build for one child who loves Legos, creating a snap-on stylus finger tip for the 16-year-old to use with his iPad, and using different color combinations to make the hands fun and in the favorite colors of the recipients.  The files will get sent to the printer and the students will be able to check the progress periodically.  Once all pieces are printed, the pieces will be set up in ‘stations’ in the engineering room.  The students will have to go in independently, with their partners, and will each be responsible for one set of the assembly steps.  Before they start, they will have to demonstrate their knowledge by passing a quiz that asks them to identify all parts and tools.  They will be required to document their progress and successful completion of each step with photos.  Once each hand is complete, we will reconvene to test and trouble-shoot, and then pack up and ship the hand to the recipient.  We are very excited that one recipient will be coming in to pick it up in person (December 5). 

All steps and resources are documented on the website:

We are hoping other classes at our school will be able to replicate this project in the spring.

How did you find e-NABLE?

Jerry Castanos at 3D Heights mentioned it.  

What made you decide to do this with your students? 

Part of our school’s mission is to inspire in our students a social awareness that impels to action. We have a thriving community outreach program, and we really value service-learning opportunities.  Constructing the hands seemed like a great way for the students to use some of the technology we are so lucky to have, in a way that helps others.  The project will also help them learn about incredibly useful real-world applications for 3D printing, engineering and math!


Did you come up with your own curriculum for this project?

Yes, with input from other teachers 

How did you find your recipients? (Did you go through Matcher?)

Yes, we went through Matcher. 

What do you hope your students will gain from this? What about you?!

We are hoping that they will be extra-motivated regarding this project because they know that their hard work will help someone in need.  We also hope they learn skills that are useful in the real world outside the classroom (measurement, scaling, problem solving, fine motor skills, documentation), and that they have fun!  We also think they will benefit from interacting with kids of different ages in different locations with disabilities.  We hope this is something memorable for them.  

Anything you would like to say to other educators about e-NABLE and what you feel it could bring to the classroom (to those schools with 3d printers AND without (if maybe we started sending 3d printed parts to classrooms so they can assemble them together?)

The overall cost is SO minimal –15$ per hand for the extra parts, and probably $5 for the filament used – yet we are making such a difference.  Yes, the 3D printer is “cool” and makes fun things, but the real benefit is using it to help others in very real ways.   The sacrificed class time is minimal in comparison to what the students will gain.  Sending parts to classrooms to assemble together might be great for younger students such as those in 5th through 8th grade. 

We are looking forward to watching the updates as the students finish up the assembly and start delivering hands to their recipients and we are also excited to be getting more and more emails from teachers who want to start incorporating this into their own curriculums!

Our volunteers are currently working on putting together an official curriculum for K-12 and College Classes. Once we have something solid in place – we will share on our website for any teachers, anywhere – to use!

If you are interested in being assigned a child to create a hand for in your own classroom – please email us at info@enablingthefuture.org.


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e-NABLE In Education • Sierra And Sage – Making A Difference!

Getting young minds interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)…has been a major goal of e-NABLE over the past year as we strive to get 3D printers into more and more schools and help guide teachers, educators and librarians with building 3D printed e-NABLE hands with their students in their classrooms, after school programs and local libraries.

A few months ago, we shared a story about 10 year old Sierra who had decided that she wanted to make an e-NABLE hand as part of her science project. One of our wonderful volunteers, Jeremy, at 3D Universe – printed the hand kit parts and also donated the materials for her to build her first hand. She put the hand together on her own (with a little help from mom for the “not quite safe enough for a 10 year old” bits) and made this awesome time lapse video of her hand building adventure!

Check out that video below!

Jeremy continued to mentor Sierra and even skyped with her and her class to show them more about what e-NABLE is doing and how they could make these devices too. He has been helping to mentor many classrooms over the past few months and we have numerous schools around the US who are currently working on building hands for recipients as class projects in science, math and various robotics and engineering classes.


Sierra has not only helped to inspire other kids in her class to think about using 3D printing to create positive change in the world – but she has also built a hand for a young girl in California and ran a crowd funding campaign with her sister Sage, to raise enough money so that they could purchase their own 3D printer and start making e-NABLE hands on their own!

Their printer just arrived and they are over the moon excited! Click on the video at the top of this post to watch their wonderful adventure so far and the arrival of their printer! They plan to take their new 3D printer to their school so that their classrooms can use it when they aren’t making e-NABLE hands and they state: “We won’t be hanging around the house bored. Instead, we will be discovering how the 3D printer works and making amazing things.”

Jeremy writes on his blog:

“Sierra came up with this project idea for exploring possibilities for 3D printed prosthetic devices (for people or animals). She went on to not only make a fully functional prosthetic device, with minimal assistance, but also make another device for someone who actually needs one! Along the way, she has been inspiring people all around her. Her classmates have been inspired. Her teacher and fellow educators have been inspired. I’ve been inspired. Today, that circle of impact broadened considerably, with 50+ other teachers being inspired by her work. Now they’re tweeting about it and sharing it with others.

Sierra is making a real impact that is already spreading far beyond her home town.”

Would you like your kids (or your classroom) to be involved in a project like this?

Please email us at info@enablingthefuture.org and we can help get you matched with a real recipient for your classroom to create a device for, help guide you in which printers may be best for you to get started and help create a plan to incorporating creating 3D printed “Helping hands” into your curriculum!

If your school does not have a 3D printer but you would like to have them assemble a device as part of a learning project – please feel free to email as well as we have a whole lot of volunteers with 3D printers who would be more than happy to print out a hand kit and ship it to you!

Want to get a 3D printer into your own school via crowd funding?

Check out these websites for ways to raise money for your classroom:
Go Fund Me
Donors Choose

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela



e-NABLE Volunteers Going Above And Beyond • Agent “Cyborg”


Meet “Agent Cyborg.” We can not tell you his age or location for fear that this information may fall into the wrong hands and compromise his secret mission.

What we can tell you is that he is the recipient of one of our e-NABLE hands after his parents saw an article online about our volunteer Aaron Brown who created a Wolverine Hand design and after initially appearing to be uninterested in trying one, “Agent Cyborg” asked his parents about it.

His Mom writes: “We were sitting on the couch and he started talking about his hand (something he hardly ever does! He just likes to ignore the fact that it’s different most of the time.) He said he thought a robotic hand would be super cool. So I pulled up the Wolverine article and his eyes lit up! He asked for one for Christmas and couldnt believe that someone would actually make one for him…he always thinks that nothing good ever happens to him because he got “stuck with the little hand” and his brother has “two normal hands.” We contacted e-NABLE and he was matched up with someone to build him a hand. 

We made the decision to try a helper hand because we wanted to improve his self esteem. He hates his hand. He hates being different. We just wanted him to feel special like the kid we know he is.”

Little did they know – they actually ended up getting matched with the same man who created the Wolverine design – Aaron Brown – and someone that took it upon himself to go above and beyond simply printing, assembling and shipping a hand to a young man in need of assistance.

Every story we share about another child receiving a new hand because of an e-NABLE volunteer is always something wonderful to read…but today we want to share a beautiful story of a perfect stranger going out of his way for a child hundreds of miles away – to not only gift him with some new 3D printed fingers – but to do his best to make sure that this young man felt special and unique for the first time in his life – instead of “cursed.”

When Aaron found out that “Agent Cyborg” was worried about seeing the Occupational Therapist at his school for fear of people thinking there was “Something wrong with him,” – Aaron decided that he was going to turn this into something more than just the usual volunteer opportunity – he turned it into a very personal and meaningful moment for everyone involved.

He turned it into a “Secret Mission.”


He went out and purchased a special “spy case” to place the hand into, printed out some “Top Secret” and “Confidential” stickers for the outside of the case and even went as far as creating a document to welcome “Agent Cyborg” into the “League of E-NABLE Heroes” to encourage him to visit the “undercover agent” who would help him learn how to use his new hand.


It reads:

“Welcome to the Elite Group of E-nable Heroes.

The device included in this package is the first of many classified prototypes you will receive for real life testing. If you find any size or damage issues, please report back to me directly for a new and improved hand to be sent to you.

Please be aware..we have an undercover agent in your city assigned to your case. Her codename is Agent “Carlberg.”

Once you feel you are ready for further “advanced” training with your new hand, please report to Agent Calrberg. She has been briefed and will provide the needed training to advance you to newer robotic hands in the future.

Again, I welcome you to the “League of E-nable Heroes.

I look forward to reading your mission reports.

- The Maker.”

“Agent Cyborg’s” mom tells us that “Agent Carlberg” has been watching from a distance and continues to keep her identity a secret from him and his friends at school but has sent agent training exercises to his parents for him to work on at home.

Recently “Agent Cyborg” reported that the kids in his class were really excited and surprised by his new hand and some of them even wanted one of their own.

Once again, our wonderful global volunteer community has created not only a hand for a child in need – but has gifted him with something even bigger – showing him that there are people in the world…perfect strangers…who care about him, want him to feel as special and amazing he really is and will do whatever they can to make it so and giving him something that helps him feel like the coolest kid on the planet. You really can’t put a price on that.

“Agent Cyborg” has a secret message for his maker:

.yug emosewa na era uoY !uoy knahT

Want to help?
Need a hand?
Please email us at letsgetstarted@enablingthefuture.org



e-NABLE – Homework Hotline • 3D Printing

“You know, DISABILITY is a funny word.

Disability means you CAN’T do something.

It’s not a disease…and it’s not even a property of a person.

A person doesn’t have a disability…a person has a disability if he is in a world where he can’t do something.

If I didn’t have glasses in a world in which there is lots of fine print – I would be disabled. As it is, I am just a guy who wears glasses. The technology of eyeglasses, turned near sightedness and far sightedness into a nuisance, when it used to be a disability.

New technology is going to turn things like you are missing a hand or you can’t move your body or you have brain damage into a nuisance, rather than a disability.”

- John Schull – Founder of e-NABLE


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First e-NABLE Hand In China!


Last week, e-NABLE got our first official volunteer in China and not a few days later – our first recipient!

After reading a story about e-NABLE on wechat (The Chinese version of Facebook) a mother of a young 3 year old boy in China, contacted her sister in Canada and asked her to translate our website information for her. The Aunt emailed our Matcher to inquire about getting a “Helper hand” for her nephew. She wanted to know if we could find a volunteer who was willing to create and ship a hand overseas to her nephew…but instead of having to wait weeks and possibly months to find a volunteer to print that would also be able to pay for the shipping costs to China…the case was matched to our first Chinese Volunteer!

Because we now have a volunteer in China, it took merely 7 days from the time she contacted us for help to get them matched with our volunteer in their area, have it printed, fully assembled and delivered to the family.

The way in which we are able to assist people from thousands of miles away, simply by sending emails and files via the internet – is incredible! The amazing work that can be accomplished to help improve people’s lives because of 3D printing and hundreds of volunteers who are willing to use their machines to create positive change in the world – is beyond beautiful.

Take this very story for example:

• A story is written about an e-NABLE hand device and shared online.
• An individual with a 3D printer reads it, gets excited about helping and signs up to volunteer to print a device.
• A relative of a child in need sees another article online.
• The relative emails e-NABLE to ask if we can help make a hand for her nephew.
• The Matcher locates the volunteer on our virtual map.
• The Matcher contacts the Volunteer to ask if he is interested in creating the hand for a child near him.
• The Volunteer agrees to print and assemble the device for the child – at no cost to the child’s family.
• The Matcher notifies the recipient that they have been matched with a volunteer.
• The Matcher acquires the needed measurements and photographs to create the STL file for the child’s hand device.
• The Matcher sends the information to the Volunteer
• The Volunteer 3D prints the hand and assembles it.
• The Matcher sends the Volunteer the shipping information.
• The Volunteer ships the hand or meets with the family to deliver the hand.
• The Recipient now has a hand that was created because his Aunt and Uncle in an entirely different country, saw an article online about an organization that could help create a hand for their nephew and was able to share information in a matter of minutes that would allow the volunteer to start printing and produce a completed device in mere days.

It is pretty incredible.

And look! The little one is already mastering carrying around apples and putting them in his cart for transport!


Our Matcher, Melina, received this email this morning:

“Hi Melina!
My nephew got his new hand yesterday in China, it is amazing!

All his family were so happy when they saw my nephew wear his new hand and he can pick up an apple all
by himself! I attached his picture for you. You can tell how surprised he is when he wears it!

Again,  thank you and all of your team that helped my nephew’s family. Your volunteer in China who’s name is Erwin
Zhang is very helpful. He helps my sister translate all the (e-NABLE) documents into Chinese and gave them a
professional explanation. When my sister got the Chinese email from your volunteer, she told me that she
felt so comfortable because she could read it by herself!

Your  organization is really helpful and effective for people who are in need of help!”

We can’t wait to see what this little one can do with his new hand and we hope that it inspires more makers in China to join and start printing as well!

We are very excited about every news article we find about e-NABLE hands being put onto children and adults but we are even more excited when we run across an article in a language for a country where we have little to no volunteers yet – because it means they are finally hearing about what we are doing and eventually we will be able to fill up their region with little pins on our e-NABLE map too.

More pins on our map = More people we can help.

We get a lot of inquiries from all over the world and much of our volunteer base is in the United States – which means that  for a Volunteer offering to help a child in far off lands…they will have very hefty shipping costs for them to get it to the recipient who is eagerly awaiting their turn to feel like a super hero. In many countries, the recipient also has to pay import taxes to get the device once it has arrived in their country. It also means that if something breaks on the hand… they have to wait weeks to get replacement parts.

Our global community hopes that more and more individuals, maker groups, schools, libraries, families, communities, medical professionals, outreach programs and more – will start using 3D printers to help give their neighbors a “helping hand.”

If you have a 3D printer and would like to help – please email us at letsgetstarted@enablingthefuture.org.

We CAN make a difference – one smile, one hand at a time.

Will you join us?

Will you share our stories on your facebook pages, twitter feeds, google+ accounts and more? The farther we can spread our voice – the more people we can help! Thank you!



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3D Printed “Iron Man Hand” Bubba – Visits “The Doctors Show!”


Many of you have seen the adorable little “Iron Man” Rayden who made his way around the globe via the internet with his adorable “unboxing video” when he received his first 3D printed e-NABLE hand and who we have updated you about recently as he began his “Super Hero Training” with his wonderful OT “Aunty Donna” at Therapeutics Associates of Maui.

This morning, he appeared on the CBS Television show, “The Doctors” where his Grandma Rulan was able to share his story and the story of the e-NABLE community who are out there volunteering their time, talents and resources to provide children and adults from all over the world – free 3D printed helper hands too.

If you haven’t seen the video of the episode that was shared on television this morning – go on up and click the image above and spend a few minutes watching a story about another child that feels enabled because of the power of open source designs, global collaboration and a network of passionate volunteers from all over the earth who just want to give the world “a helping hand.”

If you are interested in getting a device created for your child, yourself or someone you know – or if you are a school, a church group, a girl or boy scout troop, a bunch of friends, a makerspace or someone with a 3D printer that wants to help – please send an email to letsgetstarted@enablingthefuture.org and you can get started filling out the intake forms to become either a possible recipient (our devices will not work for every person – but we will do our best to try!) or a volunteer to create these for others!


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5 Year Old Kindergarten Boy Gets 3D Printed e-NABLE Hand

(Please click the image above to be taken to the video news piece!)

On Friday, Keith Harris, age 5 – became the coolest kid at school with his new e-NABLE hand.

He spent the day high fiving his parents, classmates, teachers and news reporters and testing out his new fingers. You can read more about his adventures at school and watch the news video clip by clicking the image below!

e-NABLE volunteers around the world are working hard to make more moments like this happen!
If you are interested in joining with our growing online community of makers, thinkers, tinkerers, artists, engineers, students, teachers, parents, families and others who want to donate your time to helping create joy for children and adults who are missing fingers – please join us in our Google+ group!




Alex Tests Out His New 3D Printed Elbow Driven e-NABLE Arm!

Over the past few months, e-NABLE has been working on various designs for elbow actuated arms, exoskeletons, myo-electric arms and more to go along with our growing collection of wrist activated designs, so that we can help even more people who have upper limb differences.

A few days ago, Alex was gifted a “Helper arm” completely free of charge to his family by  an e-NABLE volunteer and has been testing it out on all sorts of activities from just simply picking up objects to playing tennis, pool and ping pong with it! Check out this video of his various activities in just a matter of days!

Alex’s parents first saw the e-NABLE RIT “Derek Arm” video posted on the “Born Just Right” facebook page in August of this year  and got in touch with our enable Matcher, Melina, who connected them to Volunteer Nick Norris. Not only did Nick print the arm pieces for them, but he also spent many hours redesigning the socket to better fit Alex’s arm, sent some fun 3D printed Minecraft Creepers to Alex and his brother while they waited for the arm to be finished and even put the arm together only to take it apart again so they could put it back together again as a family!

Nick discovered e-NABLE while doing a Google Search for his first 3D printer purchase and saw the video of Frankie Flood and the UWM team making the first hand for Shea. He says “I knew right then, that I wanted to have the same experience of changing a kid’s life. Being involved with e-NABLE allowed me to meet a great family that wanted the same thing – to make a better life for their son. This experience really has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.” 

Initial sizing for Alex’s new arm was done by scanning a plaster cast that was provided by the family and by using photos and measurements that Nick was provided through the Matcher system. Alex has a congenital RBE (Right arm, below elbow) limb difference. His “little arm” ends two inches or so below the elbow.

Nick writes: “At my day job, I design racing engine components and in that world, you constantly walk the fine line between light weight and durability. The considerations for Alex’s arm are really no different. Due to his limb difference, he has minimal leverage in his forearm so it makes sense to take a weight conscious design approach. 

For the most part, the RIT design was good. I spent most of my efforts redesigning the forearm cup. I wanted to reshape the inside so that it would allow the use of a soft insert and after removing some unnecessary materials I ended up with a 25% reduction in weight. I also chose to use Frankie Floods Cyborg Beast remix fingers. These have a more slender shape and by using printed pins – additional weight was removed by not having to use five Chicago screws in the finger joint. These seem like small things, but I think that anything you can do to make use of the device easier for the child is worth the effort!” 

Alex’s mom writes “Alex has only had his arm for a few days but our plan is to work with an OT. Your blog post on “Super Hero Training” was really compelling. Alex has never tried another prosthetic device. We did some reading on limb differences when Alex was younger and the consensus seemed to be that many kids with upper limb differences reject prosthetic devices. We planned to revisit the issue if Alex expressed interest, but because he was doing so well with so many tasks – including bike riding, baseball and origami(!) – it wasn’t something we spent a lot of time thinking about.

Until we found e-NABLE, we were not planning on going down the path of finding a prosthetic device for Alex. Many kids with upper limb differences find currently-available prosthetic devices “clunky and uncomfortable” and most don’t run across a whole lot they CAN’T do. They find a way! But we were intrigued enough by the possibilities of the RIT arm and especially the e-NABLE community, that we decided to join up and see what a growing group of volunteers might accomplish. 

We are so very glad we did!”

Our e-NABLE RIT Arm design is still in the beginning stages of development but we have over 2000 members in our volunteer group who are all continuing to donate their time and talents to improve upon every design we come out with so that more and more children and adults will be able to receive a comfortable, safe and useful “Helper hand or arm.”

We have volunteers with all sorts of backgrounds – from puppet makers, race car engine component makers, French teachers, Jewelers, 3D print enthusiasts, engineers, visual artists, occupational therapists, wood workers, teachers, students and more. We even have a “Retired Mountain Unicyclist” turned Magician!

You may not think that your ideas can be helpful in the creation of body powered helping hands – but you might just surprise yourself and have an idea that no one else has thought of that could really make a difference.

If you would like to join us in our “Think tank” on Google+ – please do!

No idea is too small!


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