Over the last four years, the e‑NABLE volunteer community has grown into a global movement, with over 10,000 volunteers using 3D printing technology to make free assistive devices for anyone who needs them. Thousands of 3D printed hands and arms have been delivered to people all over the world.
Often, people have questions about how to get started with e‑NABLE. This guide provides an overview and some suggestions for those who want to get involved with this amazing community.
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with e‑NABLE’s Code of Conduct
It’s important that you understand and follow some simple rules when working with e‑NABLE. This is to protect you, as well the people you make devices for (many of whom are minors). Please read e‑NABLE’s Code of Conduct carefully.
Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the current e‑NABLE designs available
Spend some time browsing the designs on enablingthefuture.org. We try to keep that site up-to-date with the latest designs available. Each design page includes a link for downloading the files for 3D printing.
If you’re unsure which design to start with, the Unlimbited Phoenix is e‑NABLE’s current recommended design. It’s relatively easy to fabricate and assemble and is one of the most popular designs currently.
Step 3: Make a test device
Once you pick a design to start with, you should create a test device and submit it for approval. Since this device isn’t being created for a specific recipient, it can be made in any size, but we recommend that you use a scale of 120-135%. At 100% scale, the device will be too small for most people, and it will be harder to assemble at that size. 120-135% is a common size range for younger recipients, and it will be easier to assemble the device.
Most of the designs featured on enablingthefuture.org include links to instructions and/or video tutorials to help you get started.
3D Universe offers assembly materials kits for some of the most popular e‑NABLE designs. Assembly materials can also be purchased individually from various online or local sources.
Step 4: Submit your test device for approval
Once you have 3D printed and assembled a test device, visit the e‑NABLE forums and submit a video of your device for approval. This post provides details of what you should submit, including a sample video.
Step 5: Claim your Credly badges
Once your device is approved, you’ll be given instructions for claiming your “Test Device Approved” badge from Credly. Credly is a free service used by e‑NABLE to keep track of who is authorized for each design.
Once you have claimed your “Test Device Approved” badge, you should also claim the device specific badges for the design you were approved for. There are two badges for each design – one for fabrication and one for assembly. So, for example, if you were approved for the Unlimbited Phoenix design, you would claim the “Unlimbited Phoenix – Fabrication” and the “Unlimbited Phoenix – Assembly” badges. These device-specific badges are used by the e‑NABLE Web Central application (discussed later) to determine which volunteers can offer help with each individual device request.
Step 6: Learn how to properly size e‑NABLE devices
Before you start making devices for actual recipients, it’s important to learn how to properly size a device. Please watch the video tutorial series created by Peter Binkley, found here.
To follow this process, you’ll need to download a free copy of Blender, which can be found here.
You’ll also need to download Peter Binkley’s e‑NABLE Device Sizing Blender File, here.
Watch the videos carefully. Then watch them a second time, following along and pausing the videos as you follow each step of the process.
Step 7: Create an account on e‑NABLE Web Central
e‑NABLE Web Central is a web-based application used to connect individuals seeking to receive e‑NABLE devices with volunteers offering to make them. Visit e‑NABLE Web Central and create an account for yourself.
Be sure to select the “Fabricator” and/or “Device Assembler” roles during the registration process (or you can select them from the Edit Profile screen), or you won’t be able to see the volunteering related pages within e‑NABLE Web Central.
Step 8: Find Someone Who Needs a Device and Offer to Help
e-NABLE Web Central is a self-service matching platform. So once you’ve created an account for yourself, you need to go to Browse Cases (under the Volunteering menu) and find a case that looks like something you can assist with, ideally in your geographic area. Once you find a case, you can click the “Offer to Help” button to offer assistance in one of several roles for that case.
The Experienced Volunteer role is responsible for reviewing the sizing photos and determining the most appropriate device type and size.
The Fabricator role is responsible for 3D printing the parts for a device.
The Device Assembler role is responsible for assembling a device and delivering it to the end-user.
You are welcome to offer to help with any or all of these roles for any given case.
Once you have made an offer to help, the case creator will need to review and accept your offer. Then you can proceed with producing the device.
Step 9: Join e‑NABLE’s Google+ community
e‑NABLE’s Google+ community is a good place to ask questions if you need further assistance.
Step 10: Join a local e‑NABLE chapter – or start a new one
A list of e‑NABLE chapters can be found here. Feel free to reach out to nearby chapters to see how you can get involved with them. You can also start a new chapter in your area.