FREE 3D Printed Hands and Arms | 10+ Years of the e-NABLE Communty
December 13, 2023
The e-NABLE open-source community is a group of committed volunteers who are using 3D printing technology to create free and low-cost assistive technology, including prosthetic hands and arms, to those in need, in over 100 countries around the world.
It’s hard to believe that it has been just over 10 years since the original metal prototype for the first 3D printed e-NABLE device was created for one child in need by 2 men who wanted to make a difference. But, here we are, over a decade later, where not only are there thousands of individuals all over the world who are now benefitting from 3D-printed hands and arms based off of that first design, but there are thousands of volunteers, students, schools and universities who are still active and continue to help make a difference in the lives of others.
As we head into 2024, there are still growing numbers in the thousands of incredibly talented people who are working on improving designs. There are dozens of recipients of 3D printed hands and arms who have turned into makers and volunteers themselves. There are hundreds of classrooms of children and young adults who are learning how their ideas and imaginations can make a difference in the world because of e-NABLE and 3D printing technology.
While this global movement and community has been active for over 10 years now, there are still many people who are just now learning about e-NABLE. There are people who discover this project every day and are interested in joining the global community to help “give the world a helping hand” with 3D-printed prosthetics and assistive devices.
Below, we have put together some helpful information for those who would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer, getting a classroom involved, starting an e-NABLE chapter, purchasing hand assembly kits, finding skin-toned filaments, getting plugged into the e-NABLE Hub (our community forum) and much more.
Thank you for following along on our journey these past 10 years and supporting our entire global community with encouraging words, sharing our stories so other recipients can find us, and so much more!
How to Get Involved as a Volunteer with the e-NABLE Community
We get a lot of questions from people who are interested in learning how they can get involved with the e-NABLE Community as volunteers, fabricators, educators, device users, and designers.
The community has put together a guide that provides an overview and some suggestions for those who want to get involved with this amazing community that includes links on our badging system, how to submit a test hand for approval, and much more.
Which e-NABLE Design to Print and Where to Purchase Assembly Kits
If you are interested in creating a 3D printed hand or arm and are in need of the assembling kits (3D printed parts are not included) please visit our shop page where you can find everything you need, prepackaged and ready to get you on your way to making your own e-NABLE hand.
This assembly materials kit includes all of the materials needed to assemble any of the following four Phoenix Hand designs, created by the e-NABLE volunteer community:
This kit also includes sufficient materials for producing the Unlimbited Arm, except that additional velcro straps will be needed.
e-NABLE Hand Assembly Mats | Printable Step-by-step Instructions
Printable placemats for left hand and right hand (useful for hand assembly events and classrooms) are available to download and can be printed on large format paper, such as 11×17”, double-sided.
3D Universe Terrafilum PETG: Available in Skin Tones for e-NABLE Community Devices
3D Universe is excited to offer its PETG material in four unique skin-tone colors! Shown above (from left to right): Light Tan, Desert Tan, Chocolate Rose, and Coffee Bean.
Jeremy 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 his initial budget allowed for. He wanted to pick those that would match the broadest possible range of skin tones.
We asked the e-NABLE community to vote on which colors they would prefer. Based on that voting and Jeremy’s own research and inquiries, we ended up selecting four skin tones ranging from a caucasian skin tone to a dark brown color. Additional colors may be added in the future, depending on how the e-NABLE community receives these.
PETG is easy to print like PLA, but it has a higher temperature resistance and improved strength. This makes it ideally suited for printing e-NABLE assistive devices.
Learn How to Start Your Own e-NABLE Community Chapter
The e-NABLE Community has grown to have over 200 chapters that have been formed by students, groups, companies, scout troops, libraries, schools, and maker spaces around the world, who are all participating in creating free 3D printed hands and arms for those in need.
Local e-NABLE chapters are critical since they work face-to-face with communities in a shared language and cultural context. This allows them to deliver individualized devices that recipients love rather than “one size fits all”and gives the volunteers an opportunity to make repairs and uprades for their recipients as needed.
If you would like to connect to e-NABLE chapters directly for help in creating your own device or to create a device for someone else or would like to join their chapter and volunteer with people in your local community, please check the map linked in the button below to see if there is an e-NABLE Community chapter set up near you!
If you would like to create your own e-NABLE Chapter and get added to the e-NABLE chapters map so that families can find you – please follow the directions and steps from the page linked in the button below.
Learn More About Including e-NABLE in the Classroom
Enjoy a round-table panel discussion led by Neesha Rahim, CEO of Bit Space in this video above. You’ll hear from Jen Owen and Jon Schull, two co-founders of the e-NABLE volunteer community, along with several educators who have integrated e-NABLE activities into their classrooms. Learn how they have used the e-NABLE project to teach their students that they themselves have the power to change people’s lives by using their ideas and imaginations to solve real-world problems with 3D printing and rapid prototyping technology.
The recording above is a segment from 3D Printing in the Workplace and STEM Education, a webinar hosted by 3D Universe, Bit Space, Ultimaker, and the e-NABLE Volunteer Community on Saturday, April 25, 2020.
In this session, During this presentation, led by e-NABLE co-founder Jen Owen and Director of Learner Experience at Bit Space, Samantha Gleisten, participants will learn how they can use the e-NABLE project to teach their students that they themselves have the power to change people’s lives by using their ideas and imaginations to solve real-world problems with 3D printing and rapid prototyping technology.
Jen and Sam will share other ways in which educators can get their students involved in their local communities and use 3D printing to make a difference.
More Helpful Links to e-NABLE Community Resources
There are numerous resources available to those who want to participate as a volunteer with the e-NABLE Community as well as for those who are in need of a device.
Please check out the various links below to participate as a volunteer or learn more about the community!
- Explore the e-NABLE Hub (our online forum for collaboration)
- Find the most recommended e-NABLE Device Open-Source Designs
- Check out the monthly e-NABLE calendar
- Join the Prosthetic Devices for Animals e-NABLE group
Follow the e-NABLE Community’s Facebook pages
- Official e-NABLE Facebook Page
- e-NABLE Community Bulletin Board Facebook page
- e-NABLE Educators Alliance Facebook group
- e-NABLE Chapter Leaders Facebook group
- e-NABLE R&D Facebook Group
If you have any other questions about e-NABLE or how to participate, please reach out to the volunteers by posting a message in the e-NABLE Hub.
Which 3D Printer to Get for Making e-NABLE Devices?
If you’re looking for a 3D printer to produce e-NABLE devices, but have no idea where to start or what you are looking for, we have some great options for you.
Not sure which 3D printer is right for you? We have prepared this article to help you get started. After reviewing that information, you’re welcome to send an email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or Schedule a FREE consultation with Jeremy who can answer any of your questions about which 3D printer might be best for your needs and level of involvement in the e-NABLE Community.