Date night with an e-NABLE 3D Printed Hand Prosthetic

Confirming the Parts

On Saturday night, my husband David, proposed a great date.  He asked, “how would you like to stay home tonight and assemble the e-NABLE hand.”   This was a great idea for two engineers!

My work with Fab Labs, Sarah Boisvert’s Lend a Hand to Make a Hand project, and schools using SOLIDWORKS and 3D Printers to create prosthetics, made me realize that I have seen many hands being printed, but I never assembled one.  Tonight would be different.

The e-NABLE Hand project was started by Jon Schull, a research scientist in RIT’s Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC). In 2013, Jon created a community to advance the development of affordable prosthetic devices.  The EnablingtheFuture community now has 1000’s of volunteers and has created hands for hundreds of people.

e_NABLE Hand Assembly Kit

My first lesson was that 3D printed community hands have names.  We would be working on “Rapture” hand.  The components were printed on a Makerbot that resides  on my kitchen table for this summer project. The 3D printed components need to be assembled.  You could go to an arts and craft store like to purchase these items.

But to save time, David purchased a 3D Universe Rapture hand kit.  Jeremy Simon and Aleksander Jones started 3DUniverse and put together a kit of parts required to assemble the e-NABLE Rapture hand.  The kit contains wire, screws, Velcro, foam padding, elastic cord, and Lee Tippi Micro Gel Fingertip Grips.  We followed their video to show how to assemble the hand.

Assembling the Fingers

The next step was to determine the order of the fingers.  The fingers are slightly different in size.

Confirming the Parts

Since there are many parts that were nested together in a single 3D print, we  verify each part.

Hand assembled on Cutting Board

Physical assembly was straight forward – just the removal of a few burrs.

First try at Twistee Tie

Cable and wire assembly was more challenging, twisting and pushing wire through holes.  So we tried different options.  How about a twisty tie?   First, the twisty tie around the cable didn’t work. The twisty tie did clear a path through the slots that showed promise.

.Curving the needle

With, the twisty tie I thought of sewing.   Remove the paper from the twisty tie – or use thin wire.  Wrap the twisty tie around the cable and twist.  Threading and Twisting the needle

Curve the twisty tie to form a curved “needle:  Now you can pull the cable or wire through the more challenging holes.

Tension Wire

You need to set the fingers up at an angle, having an object to elevate the hand and set the angle works well in keeping tension on each finger.

Bracking for the right angle

There are more SOLIDWORKS models and 3D printed hands we plan to investigate over the summer.   I have another date next Saturday night.  Marie

Marie Planchard

Marie Planchard

Senior Director, Early Engagement, 3DEXPERIENCE Works at Dassault Systemes
Marie Planchard is an education and engineering advocate. As Senior Director of Education & Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS, she is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for the 3DEXPERIENCE Works products across all levels of learning including educational institutions, Fab Labs, and entrepreneurship.
Marie Planchard