e-Nable uses FDM 3D printers to create custom prosthetic hands for children and young adults. To date, e-Nable has over 8,000 members — all volunteers — who have printed thousands of prosthetics using FDM 3D printers. e-Nable France has incorporated Palette 2 into their printing workflow to bring incredible flexibility and design freedom to their prosthetics.
"A child without a hand is often timid and hides a little in the back of the classroom. When he comes in the next morning with a Spiderman-themed hand, everything in his world changes."
Custom, On-Demand Prosthetics
Normally, a prosthetic arm will cost between $6,000 and $10,000 USD. For many families and individuals, this sum is a huge burden in accessing a much-needed product. For growing children, they may need a new prosthetic every two years from ages 5 to 12, then every three to four years from ages 13 to 21.
This means for the first 21 years of an individual’s life, they could spend upwards of $100,000 USD on new prosthetic arms/hands.
e-Nable was created to make prosthetics accessible. Through donations and community support, they are often able to provide their prosthetics at no cost to the person in need.
To accomplish this, e-Nable and its community of passionate volunteers use 3D printers to create custom prosthetics for those in need. e-Nable France was created in 2015 by Thierry Oquidam, and has been serving those in the region for the past four years. Philippe Bergamini, Vice President of e-Nable France, gave us his perspective on e-Nable’s mission, and how Palette 2 has played a vital role in making the recipients of their prosthetics as happy as possible.
Philippe first became aware of e-Nable after watching a TV show about the organization. Soon after, he signed up as a volunteer to help create prosthetics for others. He soon became integrated into the head office, helping manage the volunteer organization and their team of 150 makers across the country.
When beginning to create a prosthetic, e-Nable representatives will meet with the future recipient of the prosthetics and her family. e-Nable volunteers will take photos and measurements in order to determine what size and type of prosthetic would make the recipient happiest.
Philippe quickly identified that the impact e-Nable was having was just as much about the social aspect as it the physical one. A heavy, bulky, and aesthetically displeasing prosthetic could lead its wearer to feel ostracized or out of place.
The question quickly became: how can e-Nable use 3D printing technology to create a product recipients would be proud to wear? Something that would bring the wearer delight — in terms of both functionality and design. The answer was clear in Philippe’s mind — and thus, Philippe began experimenting with making e-Nable's prosthetic designs multi-colored.
"Everybody wants a superhero hand. With this, the little boy who blended in at the back of the classroom would become the hero of the schoolyard."
Bringing Color to Prosthetics
Back in 2017, Philippe scoured the web for a solution that would help him bring color to these children’s prosthetics. Eventually, he came across Palette+. He picked up a second-hand unit online and set out to complete his first multi-color e-Nable hand.
This print was a huge success for e-Nable France; it showed them what type of design and aesthetic was possible to offer to their prosthetic recipients. From here, two more volunteers with the French chapter got ahold of Palette+ units, and they began printing more of their prosthetics in superhero themes and other multi-color designs.
Philippe and his team are now working with Palette 2 and the Raise3D Pro2 Series to achieve incredibly high quality, reliable, and repeatable prints for the children across the country. Since the beginning of their journey with Palette+ in 2017, Philippe and his community are continuing to print more and more prosthetics using Palette 2 and Palette 2 Pro.
To learn more about how Palette 2 can help you get the most from your 3D printing experience, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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