Meet the Maker: e-NABLE, Giving the World a Helping Hand

arubaWe’re very happy to have e-NABLE Florida joining us at Gulf Coast MakerCon again this year, one of our favorite Makers for the Greater Good!

The e-NABLE Community is an amazing group of individuals from all over the world who are using their 3D printers to create free 3D printed hands and arms for those in need of an upper limb assistive device.

The idea that became a movement for good started out innocently enough, when Ivan Owen created “a crazy metal functional puppet hand” to wear to a Steampunk convention. When he and his wife returned home from their adventure, he decided posted a short video of the hand on YouTube, and e-NABLE was born- a group that leverages the power of 3D printing to create affordable prosthetic hands for children.

Instead of patenting the design for the 3D printed hand he ultimately perfected,  and making a profit, Ivan decided to publish the design files as open-source and public domain, so that not only the first child they made a  had for could benefit, but  that people could download and print these devices for anyone that needed one too – anywhere in the world.

Today, the e-NABLE Community is made up of teachers, students, engineers, scientists, medical professionals, tinkerers, designers, parents, children, scout troops, artists, philanthropists, dreamers, coders, makers and every day people who just want to make a difference and help to “Give The World A Helping Hand.”

We’ll have some of those great folks at Gulf Coast MakerCon, represented by Laird Popkin, Chief Technology Officer at National Automotive Research Group and a Developer with e-NABLE, and high school student, Ryder Fitzpatrick, a team member with FIRST Tech Challenge Team Duct Tape, which will be at Gulf Coast MakerCon as well, and is helping with e-NABLE 3D printing projects.img_9899

Laird has been involved for a few years, including working on a web site called Hand-o-matic that helps non-technical people pick the appropriate design, and scale and customize it for their needs. They can send the resulting files to anyone with a 3D printer, like a Maker Space or Library!

“I am passionate about the ability to use a 3D printer to make something that really makes a difference in people’s lives, ” says Laird,  “And I love that 3D printing radically reduces the costs, so people can get something previously impossible.

“Commercial hand prosthetics are great, but they are $5,000-10,000, and 3D printing makes it so cheap we volunteers can give them to people who need them for free!


Ryder reflected in the 3D printer he uses at St. Petersburg College, where he’s dual enrolled, and where he’s printing some eNABLE designs.


Ryder Fitzpatrick

Ryder Fitzpatrick is one of those volunteers. “When I’m not building robots,” he says, ” I work on projects that I find fun and useful. I got evolved with e-NABLE not to long ago and when Mr. Popkin needed help with 3D printing a hand I stepped right up to help out.”

Laird is excited about coming out to Gulf Coast MakerCon. ” It’s a great event where I can get to know a lot of amazing people making amazing things, in a casual environment. I’m looking forward to letting  lots of people know about e-NABLE, so that people who needs a hand can get it from us, at no cost.”

“At Gulf Coast MakerCon, guests can come by and  can see what it’s like to assemble a hand, learn how they work, or try one on! Or if you need a hand, please let us know so we can help!”

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Get Your Discounted Tickets through April 9 to attend Gulf Coast MakerCon 2016!

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