We’ve written dozens of stories about the great people who volunteer their time, money and 3D printers to e-NABLE at this point and I’m never not blown away by how easy and inexpensive it is to change someone’s life with a 3D printed hand. And even more amazing is all of the people who willingly give so much of their time and effort to produce the prostheses. For about $100 in materials and half a day on a 3D printer someone who is missing a hand or an arm can receive something that is virtually invaluable to them. It’s hard to not be proud to be part of an industry that not only invented the e-NABLE prosthetic hand, but regularly 3D prints and gives away thousands of them for free.
Colin Pischke is the owner and operator of a 3D printing business in Calgary, Alberta called Print Your Mind 3D and he is one of the many thousands of makers from all over the world who have answered the call to help e-NABLE. In addition to running his 3D printer and 3D printing services business, Pischke has been a tireless leader in the local 3D printing community. Not only is he a proud member of Calgary 3D Printing Club and the Calgary 3D Hubs mayor, but he also regularly visits local schools to get students and their teachers excited about 3D printing technology. Not only does he help students understand the basics of 3D printing, but he works with teachers and school administrators to help them understand why and how 3D printing should and can be integrated into their classrooms.
It was on one his his trips to a local school where he met educator Aaron Dublenko and learned about his INNOVATE educational initiative which helped his students develop a program that made their school “Canada’s Greenest School.” Dublenko regularly looks for industry partners who are willing to help him and his students with environmental, sustainability and humanitarian projects. Pischke decided to approach Dublenko and see if he would would be interested in working with Print Your Mind 3D on a program to encourage his students to help 3D print and assemble several e-NABLE hands. Together they came up with an idea to put on a live 3D printing event to print and assemble e-NABLE hands that his students can donate to the initiative.
“The students can apply their learning in a real world context and touch the lives of others in the process. When we have an authentic experience like this, it doesn’t end with printing the hands and giving it to someone, it only begins there because now we get to start to imagine what is possible and how we can make the world a better place for many. Our actions have a profound impact on someone’s life. We take education for granted because we don’t understand all of the ways it affects us until we help to create the world we want to see around us,” explained Dublenko.
The planned live 3D printing event is to take place at the city hall, where Dublenko’s students and the entire community can come out and help 3D print and assemble the e-NABLE hands. The goal is to assemble a minimum of thirty e-NABLE hands that will be donated to needy people in poor countries. With each hand costing about $100 for materials and hardware, Pischke has launched a GoFundMe looking to raise the $3,500 needed to help finance the event. All Pischke needs to do is assemble the materials, printers and volunteers and e-NABLE will do the rest by sending him pictures and measurements of the limb that they would be making the hand for so the files can be customized.
“e-NABLE is a global non-profit organization built with the purpose to ‘enable the future’ by providing 3D printed prosthetics to children in developing countries who don’t have access to such luxuries. e-NABLE made the files available online to download for anyone with a 3D printer to create. When you make something as life changing as this, two lives are impacted. The student or person actually making the prosthetic, and the child who receives it. We believe this is something much larger than just a project you put on display on your desk,” Pischke says on his project’s GoFundMe page.
It seems that no matter how many 3D printed hands e-NABLE volunteers print and assemble there are always more people who need them. You can help Pischke and Dublenko fulfil their goal of completing all thirty hands by heading over to GoFundMe and donating a few dollars. If you’re local you can also contact Pischke directly at Print Your Mind 3D and volunteer your time, materials 3D printer or help. And of course you can learn more about e-NABLE over on their website. Discuss this initiative in the 3D Printing Prosthetics in Alberta forum on 3DPB.com.