Sep 9, 2014 | By Alec

The prosthetic makers behind the 'E-Nabling the Future' community have developed a very cool variation to the 3D printable prosthetic hands that are freely available on Thingiverse. One of their volunteers, Aaron Brown, put a unique, nerdy spin on it that will allow children with prosthetics to enjoy their youth for a while longer: the 'SUPER AWESOME!' Wolverine hand. Aaron's inspiring design features the iconic hero's blue and yellow colors, while featuring a pair of 'adamantium' claws that every kid would like to play with. And parents, relax. They're just spray-painted plastic add-ons attached with Velcro.

As explained on the blog of 'E-Nabling the Future', Aaron Brown wanted to construct a brightly colored hand for the local children's hospital and also show it off at the MakerFaire. This two day technology fair for the whole family was held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, last week. But this Wolverine Prosthetic was undoubtedly one of the big eye catchers. Aaron explained that it came about as a combination of his love for both comic books and the local Wolverines college sports team:

The Comic loving nerd inside of me (along with some Facebook friends) said there is no way I can make a Wolverine hand without CLAWS…so I modelled some in Sketchup the morning before the MakerFaire, printed 'em, spray painted 'em silver and velcro'd 'em on there. Turned out pretty darn cool!

The response received at the MakerFaire was understandably positive, and has inspired him to produce more themed prosthetics for children. He adds that 'People's faces just LIT UP! The kids went crazy over it. And don't worry…the claws aren't sharp! They are rounded plastic and just stick on and off with velcro…we don't need to cut off more fingers just to promote e-NABLE!'

Aaron also elaborated on how he got into 3D printing and how he ended up volunteering for e-NABLE to produce these wonderful creations.

Playing around with technology has always been a passion and hobby on the side and when my grandfather passed away unexpectedly last year, I was left with a small amount of funds in his will – just enough to start building my own business. That's when I started plans to build my own 3D print shop here in town and I bought my first printer and have been devoting every day to learning the industry before I finally invest in a property and a few more machines. 

It was very early on this year, while studying 3D printing that I saw what the e-NABLE group was doing. I knew instantly and told my wife that I couldn't own a 3D printer, let alone make plans to own many more and not do my part to help the cause. That's when I built my first trial hand. A little snap together Robohand. Since then, I have just finished my 5th e-NABLE hand, the Wolverine Edition, and I am planning to make many more.

His ambition is to make a variety of other prosthetic for both kids (Batman, Iron Man, Captain America) and adults. 'I have plans for a few project hands – like a Military Wounded Soldier themed hand geared toward adults and to promote to Veteran's Hospitals, VWF Groups and American Legion Halls.'

While a simple design, this cool creation definitely illustrates what a difference 3D printing and people like Aaron can make in people's lives. It's already very evident how this exciting technology can make prosthetics better, more affordable and more suitable to individual needs. But imagine how the lives of children all over the world would change if their bothersome prosthetics suddenly became unique toys?

This is exactly why movements like 'E-Nabling the Future' are doing such valuable work. This particular community consists of volunteers, most of whom have day jobs, while wanting to use their tinkering and making hobbies to achieve something. These students, professors, designers, software developers and other enthusiasts are all trying to improve the lives of others. Their creations are all freely released on their website, and they encourage enthusiasts everywhere to use or modify their designs to create prosthetics.

Be sure to check out their various prosthetic designs on their website, where you can also find links to their Thingiverse pages.

Also check out these videos on how to make your own Cyborg Prosthetic, to which Aaron added the claws:


Posted in 3D Printing Applications

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