Can-Do-Ability: Answers and Solutions from my personal experiences of living with a disability

3D printing is helping those who are missing limbs

27 Oct 2015I wear Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFOs) on my legs to help me walk and stand without falling over. So advancements in Orthotics and Prosthetics are of interest to me.

A professional prosthetic hand can cost any from $5,000 all the way up to $50,000. An adult may be able to afford this.

But when you have a child it's too expensive to continually buy them prosthetics, they outgrow them too quickly. This means that many children born missing fingers, hands or part of their arm often spend their childhood missing out.

e-NABLE and 3D printing is changing that. They can make a prosthetic for as little as $35 + assembly time.

Jon Schull, a research scientist at Rochester Institute of Technology founded e-NABLE in 2013. e-NABLE is a community of thousands of volunteers, helping people across 37 countries. They donate their time, skills, or use of their 3D printers to create 3D printed prosthetic hands and arms for children and adults in need.

The best part, these prosthetics are provided to people completely free of charge.

These hands are not as strong or durable as a professional prosthetic hand costing several thousand dollars. But they hold up well against typical day to day activities. They've even survived drops from several stories sustaining only minor damage.

To learn how e-NABLE is changing the lives of kids born without limbs watch this short video on 3D printed arms.

If you or someone you know needs a prosthetic hand or you want to join the e-NABLE community as a volunteer. Visit for more information.

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