I’d like to officially wish you a happy National Week of Making while we’re still in it! The National Week of Making, which celebrates the innovation, ingenuity, and creativity of makers around the world, began on Friday, June 16th, and ends today, Thursday the 22nd. June 19th marked the beginning of the e-NABLE Community Maker Camp. Just like MakerBot held a STEAM Makeathon last year to celebrate, this year volunteer network e-NABLE is hosting its first ever Maker Camp, a fun summer project for all ages.
According to e-NABLE, while the organization is well-known for its open source 3D printed prosthetics and heartwarming network of volunteers, not everyone remembers that its first 3D printed hand, for a young boy named Liam, “actually came to life through traditional prototyping processes!”
e-NABLE’s Jen Owen writes, “The first prototypes created by the co-designers of the original design, were actually made by using everyday items that could be found around the house. Because one designer lived in the USA and one lived in South Africa and they were trying to collaborate on the design from 10,000 miles apart, they needed to find a way to both be able to build the prototypes from where they were and with what they had available to them! Both men had duct tape, leather scraps, toilet paper and paper towel tubes, surgical tubing, string, zip ties, PVC piping, hose clamps, scrap metal, rivets, fabrics and even bits and pieces of Erector sets available to them and so in order to be able to reproduce the design improvements where they were, they had to rely on those available materials to work on their design process.”
So in order to commemorate this prototyping spirit, and the 2017 National Week of Making, e-NABLE is holding its Maker Camp from now until August 31st, and challenging participants to build functional prototypes for upper limb devices. But here’s the catch – you can’t use 3D printing, robotics, or electronics for any part of your design, only items that can be found around the house or local community, like hair ties, fishing line, springs from used ink pens, recycled toys, or used clothing items.
Teacher Danielle DeLuca, whose anatomy and physiology students at Everett High School in Washington State created their own fun design prototyping project, will be working with e-NABLE this summer to turn the Maker Camp into a full curriculum set for the upcoming school year, so the fun can continue past August.
Most of her students’ completed working prototypes were driven by a shoulder harness, and each student team designed its prototype around a specific assigned task, like picking up a coin or a toothbrush. The teams were given a variety of materials to use, like sponges, cardboard rolls, tape, soda bottles, hair ties…sound familiar?
While e-NABLE’s Maker Camp challenge means to inspire people to reuse their household items to make something fun and useful, the challenge is also intended to get participants thinking about how their non-3D printed designs could help people in need who don’t have access to this technology, like those living in remote villages, in emergency situations after a natural disaster, and in areas of war.
e-NABLE says, “Now we are challenging YOU to spend some time, rummaging through your recycle bins, digging in the craft drawer at Grandma’s house, asking your local businesses for left over or unused items, finding a new use for your old worn out jeans and t shirts, giving new life to some of your old toys, finding ways to re-use typically discarded items and of course, eating a lot of Popsicles and come up with a functional prototype design that could potentially be turned into a real device for someone in need!”
If you’re interested in completing a functional arm or hand prototype design for e-NABLE’s first Maker Camp, you’ll need to choose at least one task for your design to complete, like holding a water bottle; you can find a complete list of tasks and suggested materials on the challenge page. Don’t forget to document your progress along the way by taking lots of pictures and videos of your design (you’ll need at least three to five images), and share your work using the #enablethefuture and #makercamp hashtags. You can also follow and tag e-NABLE on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
You’ll have to register for a Credly account to earn a digital e-NABLE Maker Camp – Innovator Award badge, and then submit images of both your build process and your functioning design completing a task; your materials list; and the first names and ages of the design team or designer. Once you’ve completed the design and submitted all of the relevant information, you can enter to win one of three handmade, functional wooden puppet hands built by Ivan Owen, the co-creator of e-NABLE’s first 3D printed hand for a child.
The winners of e-NABLE’s Maker Camp design challenge will be announced the first week of September after the challenge is completed – good luck!
Are you entering this challenge? Let us know in the e-NABLE forum at 3DPB.com.