A Family Comes Together To Create 3D Printed Hand


Last weekend, Dawson and his family drove for 12 long hours (round trip)  in hopes of finally seeing a dream for a functional hand come to life – and were welcomed into the home of one of the original designers of these 3D printed mechanical hands. Dawson’s mom Dawn had contacted Jen, Ivan’s wife, after fellow e-NABLE member and designer behind the Open Hand ProjectJoel Gibbard – gave her information on how to contact us!

One of the goals and hopes of the e-NABLE community – is that we not only provide hands for people in need – but that we really enable these families to learn to maintain their donated devices and to build them themselves. Giving them a fully assembled hand with no knowledge of how to build it themselves -will only enable one child. Teaching them how to make a hand for their child will enable them to eventually teach other parents how to make them or get them excited about making them for others and thus enable many more!


Dawn was very eager to learn how to make these hands for her son and wanted to make sure that she and her husband would know how to repair the hand if it were to break, as well as learn how to make his future upgraded versions as he grows. They decided they wanted to drive the 6 hours to the Owen home so that they could not only be taught how to create these hands themselves – but so that Dawson could participate in assembling his very own 3d printed hand.


She writes:

“We so enjoyed getting to know you! You are such a giving and loving family, to open your house and give your time as a family – for me and my family.

I would like to say that having someone build the hand for us would not have made it as special for us. We really enjoyed being part of it and watching how it goes together. We now see how it works and if there are any issues, we can help fix them or maybe come up with other ideas to make it better down the road. It also helped to bring the family together. The boys really bonded over the hand. Seth wants to have one now! 

Any family that does not build it -is really losing out.

I can not even begin to tell you what this hand has done for all of us. It was amazing to see Dawson share it with a stranger when we were getting gas. (On the way home.) He has never done that before. He does not hide his hand but he does not put it out there for others to see or ask questions. But yesterday, he was like “MOM! Tell her about my hand!” and he showed his hand without and with his new hand. It made me cry.

When we got home – he ran over to the neighbor’s house and was showing the whole family. He then went to play baseball (with a plastic bat and ball) and held it for the first time. That was amazing. He ran in and said “Mom and Dad – come watch this!”

I just can not say thank you enough for the dreams you made come true yesterday – not just for Dawson, but for me and my whole family.”

These are the kind of stories we want to see more of. More families and parents creating these hands for themselves. More people feeling enabled. More people teaching other people how to make them and sharing their knowledge to spread through out the world.

The e-NABLE team is working on a mentorship program – where folks in the community who have made hands already, are signing up to become mentors for others that want to learn how but don’t know where to start or feel like they need more one on one assistance to really properly understand how to make a safe and functional hand for someone.

If you are interested in joining this amazing global movement or if you are interested in learning how to make a hand and want to see about getting matched  with a mentor – please visit our Google+ Group!

Jen and Ivan sent Dawson home with a “My 3D Printed Hand” journal to document his thoughts about his new hand, give the e-NABLE designers feedback on what works and what doesn’t and to make suggestions for them to help make these hands even more functional for the next version!

Dawson not only learned how to assemble his own prosthetic hand (He has a Talon Hand/fingers with a Cyborg Beast Arm!)- but he is excited to be part of the “research” team so that he can help other kids get hands too!

How amazing is that?