Helping Hand: 3D Printing Prosthetic Hands

The advent of 3D printers is revolutionizing various fields from space exploration to organ transplants. Two individuals saw the potential of 3D printing and founded a nonprofit to 3D print free prosthetic hands for children. e-NABLE has grown from two people into a global network of passionate volunteers, engineers, occupational therapists, designers, academics and parents. These individuals come to together to design prosthetic hands for children all over the world. The organization offers a platform for those with 3D printers to connect with engineers and designers to print custom hands for children in need.

e-NABLE has also developed a web-based application, Handomatic, that allows people to create custom hands. After entering specific measurements, selecting one of many different hand models, and previewing the parts, a file gets generated that will enable a 3D hand to be printed. The nonprofit has 4,000 volunteers worldwide and has delivered about 1,000 hands to 750 people.

Prostheses are typically expensive and e-NABLE hands are meant as a temporary fix for people who cannot afford professional ones. As a means of comparison, professional prostheses can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $40,000, whereas e-NABLE hands cost roughly $50-$150. As 3D technology advances, higher quality and longer lasting prosthetic hands will be possible for a fraction of the price of a professional prosthetic.

Learn more about e-NABLE today by clicking here.