Sep 30, 2016 | By Alec

Of all the 3D printing enterprises around the world, e-NABLE is arguably the kindest and most important. Over the past four years or so, the e-NABLE Community of Volunteers have been developing a vast amount of 3D printable and low-cost hand prostheses for the people who need them most of all. They are also focused on giving children with missing limbs, regardless of where in the world they live, a chance at a normal life through functional and affordable prosthetics. Earlier this year, they launched a 3D printable prosthesis design that enables kids to safely engage in physical sports.

While these fantastic prostheses are thus changing the lives of thousands of kids and adults around the world by simply giving them back an arm, e-NABLE is also doing a lot for the self-esteem of kids. While kids with missing limbs are often singled out for ridicule (in some societies even ostracized), 3D printing makes it possible to not just restore their identity, but even build on it as well. Virtually any design theme is possible, from superheroes, to cyborgs, Star Wars, and even Disney themes, resulting in 3D printed prostheses that will even make their classmates jealous.

We’ve seen plenty of examples of these kinds of prostheses already, but e-NABLE’s Colombian community has been working on some spectacular models for Latin American children that are too cool to ignore. What’s more, they’ve made the 3D printable files available online, so that everyone can 3D print one at home for other people in need. The designs themselves came out of a project by artist Wilmer A. Garcia P., directed by National University student Christian Silva. The designs themselves are adapted versions of Silva’s own Flexy arm II design, Steve Wood’s Flexy_Hand 2, the Rochester Institute of Technology RIT Arm. The e-Nable Colombia community was also heavily involved in production, with support from Recreartech.

The “Snow Queen” Nicol Sofia with her “Frozen” themed arm

The first of these models perfectly underlines the fact that girls can wear fantastic prostheses too. Nicol Sofia visited e-NABLE’s Colombian chapter when she was just seven years old, and had one specific request: a ‘Frozen’ themed 3D printed arm. Nicol was born missing a hand, and the shortness of her residual limb complicated design somewhat, but six months later she could finally wear a fantastic limb that makes her feel like a princess. “Nicol is very happy with her new “Frozen” themed arm. She is eight years old now and she is wearing her new arm everywhere she goes and uses it to play with her new friends!” Silva said. The design itself can be found on Thingiverse here.

Ana the Cyborg

But some girls are too tough for Frozen, and the now eleven-year-old Ana specifically asked for a Cyborg arm. Though it took about four months to complete due to her unusually long residual limb, Ana and her family are absolutely over the moon with the finished arm. She wears it nonstop, according to her family. The arm can be found here.

Felipe and his 3D printed “Ninja” arm

But of course comic book superheroes are a fantastic source of inspiration for prosthetic limbs too, and the ten-year-old Felipe asked for a Deadpool, Ninja-style limb. Again the, e-NABLE Colombia team delivered spectacular results, which can be found on Thingiverse here. Development itself was somewhat delayed due to a lack of funding, but a kind donation helped them out. “Now Felipe is very happy with his new arm,” Silva revealed. “He is 10 years old now and is wearing his new arm to school and his friends think he is super cool!”

“Cinderella” Princess Sara

Disney is also clearly a source of inspiration, and the four-year-old Sara arrived at the e-NABLE Colombia chapter with just one wish: a Cinderella-themed hand. e-NABLE volunteer Drew Murray of Team Unlimbited delivered within just a single month, and Sara is over the moon with her new princess accessory. According to Silva, “Sara is now the center of attention in her school and her neighborhood with her new Cinderella arm! She is five years old now and is wearing her new arm everywhere she goes, all of the time!” This fantastic arm can be found on Thingiverse here.

“Iron Man” José!

If you thought Spiderman was a bit too young in Captain America: Civil War, then you should check out Iron Man José. Just two years old when his first prostheses was requested by his father, he was actually too young to wear an e-NABLE device at the time. Fast forward one year, and he can now wear a special prosthesis free from potential choking hazards. So far, the young hero hasn’t rejected the arm at all. The prosthesis can be found on Thingiverse here.

Captain Felipe America

Staying with a superhero theme for the last arm, the nine-year-old Felipe was recently given a fantastic prosthesis that totally rocks a Captain America theme. Though originally requested about a year ago, a lack of funds significantly limited production opportunities. But Felipe can now finally wear the arm, and is very happy with it so far. The Captain America themed arm is available here.

These are just some examples of what just one e-NABLE chapter does, and the organization further includes schools, independent volunteers, universities and end users who are all working on more prostheses all the time. It would be impossible to highlight all of their work, but the work they do is so incredibly important – as this handful of examples perfectly illustrates. Unfortunately, funds are a continuous problem, as it costs around $200 USD to 3D print one arm in Colombia. If you want to help this fantastic Latin American initiative, located in a country where so many kids could benefit from a 3D printed arm, you can make a donation here. Even tagging them with #enablethefuture or finding them on Instagram and Twitter under @enablethefuture will help. Check them out!



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive