3D Universe Offers e-NABLE Community Skin Tone Filament Options


As the e-NABLE Community has grown and spread throughout the world, we have not only gotten to see the impact that low cost, 3D printable assistive devices can make on those who are in need of a helper hand or arm, but we have also gotten to learn a lot more about different cultures and how people in areas, especially outside of the USA, prefer to blend in with their peers vs stand out when it comes to the bright color options of their new e-NABLE devices.

While children and adults in North America, South America and Europe tend to lean toward having brightly colored and themed arms and hands that make them feel like superheroes and cyborgs and want to show the world how fun and bright their new 3D printed devices are, there are thousands of limb different individuals in Africa, India, the Middle East and Asia who live in a culture where they need and want to blend in instead of stand out.

Our amazing volunteers at 3D Universe spent a lot of time researching and sharing options with the global e-NABLE Community in hopes of being able to offer some skin tone colors that would appeal more to some of our recipients and I am excited to share that after a community vote, 3D Universe is now able to offer 4 different skin tone colors specifically offered for making e-NABLE hands and arms for those individuals in the more underserved areas in the world!

I asked Jeremy Simon, of 3D Universe to share a bit about the new materials:

Why did you choose those colors? 

“We did a lot of research on skin tones throughout the world. We, humans, come in so many beautiful colors, but we had to pick four since that’s what our initial budget allowed for. We wanted to pick those that would match the broadest possible range of skin tones. We reviewed work like this and this. We also purchased the Pantone Skin Tone Guide.

We asked the e-NABLE community to vote on which colors they would prefer. Based on that voting and our own research and inquiries, we ended up selecting four skin tones ranging from a caucasian skin tone to a dark brown color. The names for these colors are Rose Tan, Light Brown, Medium Brown, and Dark Brown. Additional colors may be added in the future, depending on how these are received by the e-NABLE community.”

Why is PETG material better than PLA?

“PETG is easy to print, like PLA, and it can even be printed without a heated bed if necessary. However. PLA doesn’t hold up too well in certain climates. It has a fairly low-temperature resistance and will start to deform in higher temperature environments. PETG has a higher temperature resistance and increased strength compared to PLA. As a result, e-NABLE devices made from PETG should be more durable and should hold up better in hotter climates.”

Does it still thermoform?

“Yes! It does have a higher temperature resistance than PLA, but if you place a part in boiling water and leave it for 2-3 minutes, it can then be thermoformed. The part will cool quickly, so once you take it out of the hot water, you need to move fast. The Unlimbited Phoenix design includes a 3D printable forming jig, and it was easy to thermoform a PETG gauntlet using that jig.”

Please share a little bit about how 3D Universe supports enablingthefuture.org and why.

“3D Universe has supported ETF for years because it aligns perfectly with our company’s mission to put digital fabrication technologies into the hands of as many people as possible. e-NABLE represents everything that got us excited about 3D printing in the first place – the potential to disrupt old manufacturing paradigms and to bring product design and production capabilities to ordinary people with small budgets. We want to support that and be a part of that progress in any way possible. 3D Universe maintains an affiliate program with ETF, with a portion of all e-NABLE related sales being used to help support ETF each month.”

When will this material be available and can you ship it outside of the USA?

It’s available now!  Visit the Shop HERE! 

We can ship this material anywhere in the world. Unfortunately, international shipping can be rather expensive (we’re based in the United States), so we’re always keeping our eyes out for ways of reducing that cost.


Every purchase made through the shop page HERE not only supports 3D Universe and our e-NABLE Volunteers who work there, but they donate a small portion of every sale back to help to support this website and the work that goes on behind the scenes to support the global community!

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