1000 Volunteers, Making Free Prosthetic Limbs for Those Who Need Them

“Never underestimate that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

–  Margaret Mead [American Cultural Anthropologist]


Yesterday marked an important milestone for the e-NABLE volunteer community, as the 1000th member joined the group! 1000 people from all over the globe, all making 3D printed prosthetic devices FOR FREE for anyone who needs them. How amazing is that?

e-NABLE’s crowd-sourced, Internet-enabled global network of volunteer designers, technologists, and researchers designs and delivers 3D-printed assistive technology devices to underserved communities around the world. We have already advanced the state of the art in technology and in collaborative pro-social innovation. We believe we can globally scale and generalize our approach.

Upper limb differences accompany up to 1% of live births worldwide. Fingers, hands, and arms are also lost in accidents and armed conflicts.

Traditional prostheses cost tens of thousands of dollars, and insurance coverage in the developing world and for children who will outgrow them are rarely adequate. As a result, physiological, sociological, and psychological development can be impaired and human potential wasted. Our distributed manufacturing model provides local solutions that are inherently sustainable, replacing industrial manufacturing processes with in-place fabrication by end-users with locally-reproducible, recyclable materials.

In less than a year, e-NABLE has grown to over 1000 members, spread around the globe, focused on providing 3-D printed prosthetic hands free of charge to anyone who requests assistance. e-NABLE continues to grow rapidly, currently at a rate of about 20% monthly.

What originally started out as a couple of guys who created something to help one child in need…has grown into a worldwide movement 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.

They are coming together to create, innovate, re-design and give a “Helping hand” to those that need it – whether it is helping to print parts for them, creating a completed device for them or simply helping to guide them as they build one themselves.

There are people around the globe – 3d printing fingers and hands for children they will never meet, classes of high school students who are making hands for children in their local communities, a group of people that are risking their lives to get these devices onto people in 3rd World countries and new stories every day of parents working with their children to make a hand together.

Come see what it’s all about…

e-NABLE’s web site
e-NABLE’s Facebook page

Ready to volunteer? Just fill out this form to get started.

Looking to obtain a free prosthetic device? Fill out the same form, and someone from the e-NABLE Matching Team will help match you with an e-NABLE volunteer.

35 thoughts on “1000 Volunteers, Making Free Prosthetic Limbs for Those Who Need Them”

  1. Hello,
    I am a secondary school principal in Ontario, Canada. I am in the process of preparing a “maker’s space” in our new school and your project interests me greatly. I would like some advice on:
    – the type of machine we should buy,
    – teaming up my students with children in need of prosthetics
    – help to learn how to do it (programming, steps to follow),
    – if help can be offered in French for my students and staff as we are a French school (but my students all speak English)
    I am really looking forward to this fantastic project.
    Yours truly,
    Véronique Pourbaix-Kent
    Principal
    École secondaire catholique Fernbank

    1. Hi,

      The work we do with 3D printed prosthetics is through the e-NABLE volunteer community. You can learn more at http:enablingthefuture.org. There’s a helpful Guide to 3D Printers available at http://enablingthefuture.org/resources/guide-to-3d-printers/. I suggest you join the Google+ community and post a message there introducing yourself. You’ll find other volunteers who speak French and may be able to provide translated materials for you.

      Best regards,
      Jeremy Simon
      3D Universe

  2. Hi I’m Pilipino orthopedic can you help me to get left leg becuase I really suffer morethan 7 years, today I’m 26 years old we can afford to buy prothetic leg becuase the salary of my father is not enough so, please help to solve me problem.

    1. Unfortunately, e-NABLE isn’t making any legs – only hands and arms. There is concern about the safety of making legs, since there could be injury if something breaks.

  3. Does e-NABLE prosthetic legs for patients?

    I am from Jamaica and I am in desperate need of a leg that I can’t afford to buy. Would you be able to help,?

  4. hi. I’m a 48 year old who was born without a hand. I had to wait until I was 17 when I stopped growing to get a prosthesis. I’ve had a myoelectric hand in the past but had to stop using it because of shoulder pain from it. Now I wear a lighter cosmetic hand but I keep breaking my fingers from trying to use it functionally. I am an Occupational therapist and I’m in desperate need of a lightweight and functional hand that I can get wet and afford. Please help me. I’ve been waiting my whole life for a hand that is sturdy and functional.

  5. I would like to receive a free leg I just got my lower leg cut off but I’m now ready to walk again

  6. Hi, I hope you okay! Please i will be very thankful to you and i will pray for you all my life, please provide me an artificial arm. I dont not have my left arm, i lost my arm in an accident when i was three years old. since i was a kid i never thought Im going to think about it that much. every day i go work i feel the missing part of my body it makes me sad alot. At the moment Im working but my salary is not enough so i can get prosthetic arm. Please help me please.

  7. I am an amputee and want to be a volunteer in Nigeria or to be posted to any part of world to fit in as better helper to others in like case of amputee

  8. Is there any help for adults I have a friend who was in a really bad car wreck and lost her leg its been 5 years and the state has yet to provide her one she has 5 kids she would like to be more active with.. Any suggestions?

    1. Unfortunately, the e-NABLE community only creates hands and arms. There is a concern about possible liability with legs in case something breaks, so they’re not doing that at this time.

  9. Seeking help for a Syrian refugee who has lost his two legs above the knee. He is a six year old child. He is in Jordan in a refugee camp.

    1. Hi,

      I work with the e-NABLE volunteer community to produce 3D printed prosthetic devices. As far as I know, the community has not done any work with prosthetic legs. There is concern about possible liability if a decide like that were to break while in use. Therefore, we have focused on prosthetic hands and arms. Feel free to join the e-NABLE community and post a question in their Google+ forum to see if anyone is able to assist with this kind of request. http://bitly.com/e-nable

  10. Hello my mother got her leg amuptated below the knee about 4 years ago i was told it was supposed to get it replaced every year. He leg is worn out stiff heavy and its causing her pain after watching others run up hills with there prostetics im convinced she needs a better one to broaden her sense of independence.

    Please help,

    Eddy

    1. Eddy,

      I work with the e-NABLE volunteer community to produce 3D printed prosthetic devices. As far as I know, the community has not done any work with prosthetic legs. There is concern about possible liability if a decide like that were to break while in use. Therefore, we have focused on prosthetic hands and arms. Feel free to join the e-NABLE community and post a question in their Google+ forum to see if anyone is able to assist with this kind of request. http://bitly.com/e-nable

  11. I AM RIGHT ARM BELOW ELBOW AMPUTEE. CAN YOU HELP ME TO PROVIDE ME A BIONIC HAND? I CAN NOT AFFORD TO BUY THIS BEING VERY COSTLY. THANKS

  12. Hello,
    My friend was born without a hand below the elbows and she has been wearing a passive prosthesis all her life (She is 18 years old). She would like to have an opportunity to wear this, but she cannot afford it and we started to look some way how to make her dream come true. We live in Lithuania and we would like to know if she has some chance to get it. In addition, we would like to enjoy in this community and help others, how we want to help our friend!

    Best wishes,
    Austėja

    1. As far as I’m aware, e-NABLE isn’t doing any work on prosthetic legs. There are some legal liability concerns if such a device were to break while in use.

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