As I had mentioned in a previous post, I spend way too much time researching new projects. There’s no doubt that my 3D printer purchase was nearing epic status, rivaled only by the selection of components for my latest computer. My wife always rolls her eyes, and shakes her head, because she knows the routine all too well. But, the fact is, I enjoy the process. And, no matter how well I think I’ve done with my final selection, afterwards I always second guess my decision.
During my latest mission, I stumbled across a video about Sierra, a young girl who had made a 3D printed prosthetic hand for a school science project. She happened to be the same age as my granddaughter, so I showed her the video. She thought it was really cool that a little kid just like her could make something so awesome, and that we could possibly make one too.
The video referred to a community called E-Nable. A google search lead me to the website enablingthefuture.org, which turns out to be quite an impressive group of folks. There are engineers, educators, artists, organizers, and everyday people that just want to help by lending a hand to those in need – literally. They are working diligently to match up people who are missing hands or fingers with people who have 3D printing capability.
What originally started out as a couple of guys who created a 3D printed hand to help one child in need…has grown into a World wide Global Community of tinkerers, engineers, 3D print enthusiasts, occupational therapists, university professors, designers, parents, families, artists, students, teachers and people who just want to make a difference.
Designers and engineers are creating 3D files in printable format for anyone to download free of charge. The most popular place to find these files is Thingiverse, a well known website full of items to make with your 3D printer. The “thing” page includes information about the item, instructions, all the necessary files, and pictures uploaded by people who have made the “thing”. There is also a tab for what are called re-mixes, which are versions of the original files that have been modified by users to enhance the appearance or functionality of the original design.
Besides the website, E-Nable has a Google Plus Community that allows members to post real time updates on the latest projects they’re involved in. The community also has a form that can be filled out by folks in need, or those that want to help as part of a matching system. After review, they place pins on a map of the world in an effort to match providers with recipients that are local to each other.
It’s encouraging to know that someone can start with an idea, take it to this level, and know that it will just continue to grow. Congrats to everyone at E-Nable – you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished. I’d like to give special thanks to Frankie and Jorge for providing me with some SolidWorks files that I can use as a basis for my future re-mix.
I’m really excited about the fact that I can involve my granddaughter in a project that can be life changing for someone, while showing her how good moral values and doing the right thing can feel. If you want to share in that feeling, join the community. Even if you don’t possess the equipment or design skills, I’m sure that a small donation towards materials or shipping costs would be appreciated by these volunteers.
For your convenience, here are a list of links to get more information:
enablingthefuture.org – The main website for E-Nable.
Google Plus – The community resource for all E-Nable members.
Donation Page – This is where you can make a financial contribution.
Facebook – Follow them on Facebook.
frankieflood.blogspot.com – Frankie Flood’s Blog
3duniverse.org – Jeremy Simon’s 3D printing blog