Hand to Hand

Cyborg Beast

About eight months ago I mentioned the Robohand project, and said that 3D printers could change the world for the better, and not just be a way for people to make guns.

The future is now! No, really, it is! It’s February 2014, and through a series of events involving the group E-Nable (also see Google+ and Facebook) I had a small part to play in helping a Milwaukee-area girl get a prosthetic hand.

Nick from E-Nable contacted me because I’m a “3D printing guy” in Milwaukee, and asked for my help. I ended up asking everyone at Milwaukee Makerspace, and while many members jumped in to offer help (either with printing, or donating cash, or both) our pal Frankie Flood at UWM’s Digital Craft Research Lab took the project and ran with it. And yeah, he’s the best guy I know to take a project and run with it. The results have been amazing.


Shea just got the first version of her new hand. She met with Frankie at his studio to have a mold made of her hand, and to meet with Frankie and his colleague Adream and discuss the process. Frankie then spent a lot of time with other of the E-Nable members trading files, tweaking files, printing a lot of parts, and coming up with new ideas on how to design and assemble a prosthetic hand. It’s been amazing to watch it all unfold. You can get a taste of it by checking the out the prosthetic category on Frankie’s blog.

The next time someone asks you what you can do with a 3D printer, just casually mention that you can change someone’s life for the better.


Your 3D Printed Future


While some people focus on 3D printing guns, other are making the world a better place, improving the lives of those around them, and just generally being completely freaking awesome.

Robohand is focused on developing open-source designs for mechanical finger prosthetics. Thanks to Makerbot generously providing two Replicator 2’s to the project, we are now exploring the ways in which 3D printing can be applied to our efforts!

Check it out on Thingiverse, or the MakerBot blog. And you, 3D printer operator, don’t be afraid of making the world a better place, or at least trying. Using technology to improve lives is a good thing. We need more of that in the world.