#Adoptahand – A workshop for 3D-printing prosthetic hands

The primary mission of the e-NABLE project is to serve lower income individuals and families by providing free access to 3D-printable prosthetic designs that would otherwise be unavailable and inaccessible. Both Google and Intel have jumped on board with helping the e-NABLE community. Google.org donated $600,000 to e-NABLE while Intel assembled nearly 100 Raptor Reloaded hands which they plan to give to teachers and recipients in Haiti.

image credit: Enablingthefuture.org

Shashi Jain of the Portland 3D Printing Lab asked me to lead an e-NABLE hand-building workshop for the 2015 Maker Faire. I thought it would be a great opportunity to help the e-NABLE community and promote open source culture so I jumped in. The title of our workshop, #adoptahand, denoted that participants could donate ~$15 to purchase the materials needed to build a hand. Following assembly, we could then send a 3D-printed prosthetic hand to recipients in need of prosthesis. As a bonus, participants got to build a hand. Shashi saw the #adoptahand workshop as a perfect opportunity to help the e-NABLE community while promoting the abilities of members of the Portland 3D Printing Lab.  A couple weeks beforehand Shashi and I made calls to our network via social media and email blasts to bring people together to help us print, build, and donate~20 hands. Drawing upon Shashi’s previous community leadership in the #crowdcow, I used the genius behind his Excel spreadsheet formatting to track and coordinate progress on the #adoptahand effort. According to the spreadsheet, #adoptahand’s donation represents ~336 hours of print time, for reference, the #crowdcow effort represents twice as much time at ~668 hours of printing.

Volunteers at the #adoptahand workshop

Volunteers of the #adoptahand workshop assembling hands. Photo by Gaurav Tamta

Armed with a strong and experienced volunteer crew we led people through the assembly process of the Raptor Reloaded prosthetic hand in two separate workshops. We drew on the instructable created by Andreas Bastian for assembling the hands. Participants did everything to build the prosthetics from snapping fingers and phalanges together to attaching the synthetic tendons and elastic “flexsors” to tensioning and fine-tuning the operation. An especially warming highlight, during the workshop a couple brought in their son, Jasper, who was born without any fingers on his right arm. Benjamin Hill, who came to volunteer for the workshop, just happened to have a 3D-printed hand that fit Jasper well enough to use. That moment when Ben strapped the prosthetic hand on Jasper enabling him to pick up something with his right arm for the first time was priceless.  Ben donated his e-NABLE hand to Jasper on the spot.



Jasper receives hand by showing up to #adoptahand workshop, photo by Gaurav Tamta

Ben represents a community of makers, artists, designers, doctors and engineers within e-NABLE who volunteer their skills to help people in need. Using a hand-held 3D scanner, Ben quickly obtained a 3D digital representation of Jasper’s arm so he could design a prosthetic hand that was more tailored for him.


Ben Hill is an instructor at the PCC Makerspace who volunteers his 3D printers and 3D scanner for e-NABLE. photo by Gaurav Tamta

Enable volunteer Benjamin Hill 3D-scanned the boys limb to later build him a custom-fit prosthetic.

Using a 3D scanner Ben obtained a digital representation of Jasper’s arm to build him a taylored-fit prosthetic hand. photo by Gaurav Tamta


The first #adoptahand workshop was hosted at Maker Faire PDX 2015 and the second at Hedron’s digital fabrication workshop located in the heart of SE Portland. A big thanks is deserved to the numerous supporters, volunteers, and donors that stepped up to make this workshop so awesome. In total we donated 25 assembled Raptor reloaded hands and ~$200 to the Enable Community Foundation.

You can get involved by donating money to the e-NABLE community or you can even 3D print a hand kit for someone in need. The current model is called the Raptor Reloaded and can be found on thingiverse. You should sign up to print a specific scale if you choose to help by 3D printing.


Donors and Volunteers

Jason Mosbrucker, Danelle Pierce, Emily Bliven, Benjamin Peters, Jeffrey Cawley, Alan J McGinnis, Amber Kara, Michael Shamel, David Case, Eman Allaith, Filemon @ 3DHubs, Brian Esquivel of Art force studios, Forrest Burton,


Shashi Jain, Jesse Jenkins, Steven Fan, Kevin Takalo, James Mitchell,  John and Danelle Pierce ,Evan Morrison, Gaurav Tamta, Candace Hazelwood, Miguel Higgins-Moy,


Jason Mosbrucker of BotBQ, the world’s first meat-extruding printer, jumped on board with a generous donation to e-NABLE. Thank you Jason.

Koen Bodewes and Filemon Schoffer @3DHubs graciously offered us discounted printing rates should we have ever needed to supplement our own herd of 3D printers. Thanks Filemon and Koen!



More pictures from the workshop


Raptor Reloaded Prosthetic Hands assembled during #adoptahand workshop, photo by Shashi Jain

Raptor Reloaded Prosthetic Hands assembled during the workshop. Photo by Shashi Jain

2 Responses to “#Adoptahand – A workshop for 3D-printing prosthetic hands

  • Thank you for the effort, keep up the good work Great work.

  • amit deshmukh
    1 month ago

    This is Amit from Pune (India).
    As such your post is dated back now, however, i found it useful. So, thank you for that.
    I have a UM2 that I am trying to use to print e-nable hand (raptor model). As such things are going okay, however, there is one problem that I am looking for some guidance on. Could you review the following and suggest, if anything?
    I am not able to make out the orientation(s) that the fingers should be placed in while printing. I tried 2 or 3 different orientation, however, every-time the bottom layers gets too clumsy, while rest of the finger is okay (after printing). I recognise there are other factors such as cooling time, nozzle temperature, bed temperature etc. However, looking at the quality of rest of the finger I strongly suspect, the placement of finger is one major issue in my trials. Could you share your know-how on this?
    Thank you and regards,

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