Help 3D Print Assistive Technology Devices to Improve the Lives of Others!

assistive technology devices

It's been over 10 years since the e-NABLE volunteer community was formed, and in that time, we have grown into a global community with hundreds of registered chapters and tens of thousands of volunteers. The e-NABLE community has become recognized for the many open-source prosthetic devices we have developed and produced for people in underserved communities. Together, we have shown that a group of ordinary people collaborating to help others can be a powerful force for good.

But prosthetic devices aren't the only way we can help others! We are working on expanding the e-NABLE collection of open-source assistive technology designs to include a wide variety of 3D-printable task-specific tools. And we are establishing partnerships with existing organizations to get these tools into the hands of people who need them.

We are very pleased to announce a new partnership with the Illinois Assistive Technology Program, an organization working to help people in the state of Illinois with assistive technology. You can learn more about their organization here.

Open-Source Assistive Technology Designs You Can 3D Print

The Illinois Assistive Technology Program team has gathered a number of open-source assistive technology designs that can be 3D printed without the need for customization. We are asking our e-NABLE volunteers and anyone else willing to help out to start 3D printing these devices and sending them to IATP for use in their events and their assistive technology demo showroom.

Designs can be found here:

Selection of the 3D printable assistive technology devices available through the Illinois Assistive Technology Program

As you can see, these are fairly simple designs that do not require any assembly or post-processing. So it's a great way to put your idle 3D printer to good use! And if you plan to print these devices and donate them, 3D Universe is happy to provide a 5% e-NABLE discount on your filament purchases (some restrictions apply). Email for details.

How to Participate

You can print any of the designs listed on the above website, and you are welcome to make as many of them as you are able to. Please ship any finished devices to:

IATP Makers
701 North Walnut St.
Springfield, IL 62702

While these devices will be used to help people within the state of Illinois, anyone is welcome to help with the 3D printing of devices, regardless of location.

When sending devices, please indicate which material was used to print them.

The optimal material will depend on which design you produce. PETG is recommended in most cases, but PLA or Tough PLA would also be acceptable for most of these designs. If using PLA or Tough PLA, consider how the device will be used, and use thicker walls and denser infill settings to improve strength as needed.

Assistive Device Academy (Free)

For the educators out there, consider incorporating this program into your classroom. One of the best ways to provide students with a meaningful learning experience is to help them do something that will change someone else's life in a positive way.

Thanks to the hard work of the good people at Printlab and Makers Making Change, you have access to the full Assistive Device Academy online curriculum completely free of charge! The program begins with students learning about affordable, open-source assistive technologies through a case study video and example models 3D printed by the teacher prior to the lesson. Following the overview, students participate in a range of skill-building CAD tutorials to design several example devices – providing them with the necessary skills to design their own unique products.

Assistive Device Academy, available free of charge thanks to Printlab and Makers Making Change

Closing Thoughts

As IATP starts to receive these devices, they will report back to us about how many of each design they have received. Over time, we may ask our volunteers to focus on specific designs that are more in need than others, but for now, you can choose any of the designs listed.

Please note that IATP does not sell any devices or benefit from the sale by others. Their programs and services provide information and opportunities to learn about and trial all types of AT devices so people can make informed decisions on what best meets their needs. They remain a neutral resource and do not sell anything or endorse any particular product.

IATP cannot print and distribute devices themselves free of charge as it would be considered the same as purchasing AT for the individual (which would run afoul of the stipulations of their government funding). However, all devices donated by e-NABLE volunteers or individual makers to IATP will be matched to individuals in need free of charge.

This is the first of what we hope will be many partnerships like this, so stay tuned, as we'll be updating this post as those partnerships develop, providing opportunities to help people in other regions.

Thanks for helping us to make a difference!

Learn more about the e-NABLE Community and How to Get Involved here.

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