Within Reach e-NABLE Design Challenge

Today I am excited to announce the newest e-NABLE CREATE T.I.M.E. Challenge in hopes of getting as many 3D printing enthusiasts, makerspaces, summer classes, camps, scout troops, youth groups, libraries, fab labs and individual makers to spend some of their free time to help make a difference in the lives of others!

For the past 3 years, the world has taken notice of the incredible e-NABLE Community of volunteers from all over the globe and their work in designing and gifting free 3D printed hands and arms to those in need of “a helping hand.”

While the hand designs have helped thousands of individuals who were born missing fingers or who have lost them due to war, natural disaster, illness or accident…I continue to get dozens of emails a week from people from all walks of life, who ask if the e-NABLE Community has created anything for those who still have their fingers but lack function or the ability to use them.

Hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are living without the full use of their hands, including stroke victims, military veterans, arthritis sufferers, children affected by severe epilepsy, and others with debilitating conditions.

Last year, MatterHackers designed a few simple tools to help Brandy Leigh Scott, whose hands have been closing into fists since being diagnosed with a rare condition called Dupuytrens Contracture when she was just seven years old. When I saw the Brandy Story video MatterHackers had created showing how impactful these tools have been to Brandy’s life, I was inspired to create the “Within Reach Challenge” with MatterHackers, Ultimaker, and Pinshape to see if we could rally the makers around the world to help Brandy and so many others.

Please watch the video below to meet Brandy and hear her story and to learn how you can participate by using your ideas and imaginations to design tools that will help children and adults who have lost the use of their fingers and hands.

I am really excited about this contest! I can’t wait to see what you come up with, as my own Grandfather – my “Papa” – who is nearing 90 years old, is now losing his ability to lift his arm or use his fingers on his dominant hand to do all of the things he so loved to do and the things that “keep him going.”


It has become extremely heartbreaking to have to watch Papa struggle to get his fork to his mouth at family dinners, stop doing his woodworking projects and fight to get out to do his gardening…and to know that we have made 3D printed hands with fingers…but have yet to really focus on other tools that could potentially give him back some of the function his body is stealing from him.

We are hoping you can help!


The challenge we are proposing, is to create new assistive tools for those with limited use of their hands. The “Within Reach Design Challenge starts Monday, July 11th and ends September 6th.

To encourage participation of both professional designers as well as summer camps, classrooms, libraries and makerspaces – winners will be announced in two categories: youth (under 18) and adults (18 and over.) Each category will have 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners with prizes sponsored by Ultimaker and MatterHackers. Pinshape will be hosting the challenge submissions, with judging by professional designers, members of the e-NABLE community, and Brandy Leigh Scott, who has limited use of her hands.

If you are a library, a makerspace, a University or another organization that has been wondering how you can get more involved with the e-NABLE project and have not been matched with a recipient yet – please consider putting together small workshops in your spaces where kids and adults can come and learn how to use Tinkercad or other design software to come up with a useful tool for those who have fingers but lack function. Allow them to come back and print and prototype over the course of the contest and help them to use their ideas and imaginations to potentially help thousands of people all over the world! 

If you hold a workshop for people in your local area to participate in this design challenge, please take photos and video and share! We would love to share your images and stories on the website as the contest goes along!!


How To Enter

1. Design a tool that would make life easier for someone with limited use of their hands or fingers. Brandy and my Papa are just a few examples of the hundreds of thousands of people around the world without full use of their hands.

You can design something for Brandy, a friend, a Grandparent, your local barista, or anyone who inspires you to help. Try wrapping your own hands in tape or socks for a day and see what tasks you find difficult. How can you make it better?

  1. Register for Pinshape and upload your design files to the Within Reach Design Challenge (Youth or Adult) on https://pinshape.com/contests

  2. Participate in the inspiring online conversation and build momentum for your design all summer long by posting photos and video with hashtag #WithinReach3DP and by tagging @Pinshape @MatterHackers @EnableTheFuture or @Ultimaker on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.



Grand Prize: Youth (Under 18)

Ultimaker 2 + 3D Printer

MatterControl T10 3D Printer Controller

Three Spools of MatterHackers PRO Series PLA

Grand Prize: Adult (18 and over)

Ultimaker 2 Extended + 3D Printer

MatterControl T10 3D Printer Controller

Three Spools of MatterHackers PRO Series PLA

Second Prize (one per category):

Crafty 3D Printing Pen

$100 MatterHackers Gift Card

Third Prize (one per category):

$50 MatterHackers Gift Card

For more information on the Within Reach Design Challenge, please visit www.matterhackers.com/withinreach.


Meet the Judges

mhbrandyBrandy Leigh Scott is a loyal Baltimore Orioles & Ravens fan, Emerson College graduate, and Post Production Supervisor for various television shows. Currently she is working on Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making The Team on CMT,and Clash of the Grandmas for Food Network. When not at work, you canusually find Brandy checking out a band anywhere from Staples Center to the Sunset Strip. Brandy was diagnosed with Dupuytren’s Disease when she was only seven years old, and the progression over the years has left her hands almost completely closed.

mhjenivanIvan Owen is the co-designer of the first 3D printed hand that was created for ayoung boy in South Africa in 2013. Since releasing the design for this hand as an open source file, he has continued to collaborate on design improvements withthe global volunteer e-NABLE Community, as well as mentoring students at theUniversity of Washington Bothell in the engineering and makerspace labs.

Jen Owen is the wife of Ivan Owen, and the creator of the enablingthefuture.org website and blog. She hopes to see more 3D printing in schools and the education system in the future so that the next generation of makers will have the skills they need to help them change the world for the better.


Dave Gaylord, Director of Marketing at MatterHackers, Inc., is a Design Engineer with 10+ years of professional experience in 3D Printing. Dave has design experience and familiarity with many manufacturing techniques but is particularly passionate about 3D Printing and the ability to make quick design iterations and functional prototypes. His experience comes from professional positions as a Product Development Engineer designing consumer devices and an R&D Engineer for implantable medical devices and surgical tools. Dave earned his Mechanical Engineering Bachelor’s degree at Cal Poly, SLO and a Biomedical Engineering Master’s degree from Purdue University.

mhlesLes Hall has been a Maker all his life, always creating things with passion andpurpose. He earned his BS EE and MSEE degrees at NCSU and spent tenyears in the industry. Today, Les specializes in areas of 3D printing, electronics,and software. Les became involved with eNABLE in 2014 and his contributionsinclude the early application of electronics to the prosthetics as well asparticipation in the R&D community. Both his “Spidey Sense” and “Phone Home”concepts are well received at e-NABLE.


About MatterHackers  

MatterHackers specializes in providing desktop 3D printing solutions, including hardware, filaments and accessories. They also develop MatterControl 3D printer control software, and MatterControl Touch, a WiFi-enabled touchscreen controller that allows 3D printers to operate without a laptop or computer and have been sponsoring enablingthefuture.org by helping guide new makers and schools to 3D printers that will best work for their needs and for helping to support this website by providing a small portion from each sale that is made through this website.

About Enablingthefuture.org

Widely known as the hub for information on the e-NABLE open-source assistive devices project, enablingthefuture.org is a blog written and maintained by Jen Owen, wife of original e-NABLE device co-designer, Ivan Owen.  Since the release of the first 3D printed hand design in 2013, the e-NABLE community has grown to over 8,000 3D printing enthusiasts, educators, kids, and professional prototypers in 45 countries, and produced over 1800 custom devices for children and adults in need.  

About Pinshape

Pinshape is one of the largest and fastest growing 3D printing communities and marketplaces for printable designs. Pinshape makes it easy to find high-quality 3D designs and fosters 3D printing education within its community of 90,000+ users. Pinshape is a 500 Startups-backed company located in Vancouver, Canada and is now part of the Formlabs family.

About Ultimaker

Ultimaker is the official Platinum sponsor of the enablingthefuture.org website and is not only helping to maintain this useful community resource, but has also donated numerous Ultimaker 2+ 3D printers to e-NABLE Volunteers and Chapter groups over the past 2 years and continues to be heavily involved as e-NABLE Community volunteers themselves!

Ultimaker was awarded “Best in Shootout” 2015 from Make: Magazine, and Editors’ Choice by Digital Trends and Best Consumer Product at the 3D Printshow Global Awards 2014.

We can’t wait to see what you can do!!


4 thoughts on “Within Reach e-NABLE Design Challenge

  1. Skip Meetze Reply

    This is an excellent challenge, and I look forward to seeing some great ideas coming out of it!

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