Sunday, September 21, 2014

ultimaker's e-NABLE donation

Back in August, 3D printer designers and builders Ultimaker announced that they would be donating $10,000 worth of printers to e-NABLE. The announcement sparked a lot of buzz within the community as well as outside the community as it signaled Ultimaker and Erik de Bruijn's (Ultimaker Co-Founder) commitment to collaboration and sharing within the world of 3D printing as it applies to the mission of e-NABLE in the development and production of low cost assistive devices to those in need. I have had conversations with people at many different 3D printing manufactures about the need for 3D printer manufacture's support for this type of research, but I was blown away by Ultimaker's generosity to the community. At the time of the announcement, we learned that a few machines would go to e-NABLE community founder, Jon Shull and his MAGIC lab at RIT and that Dr. Albert Chi at Johns Hopkins would also receive a machine. Some time passed and honestly the I had forgotten about the announcement. 

Last week a message went out to the group that designed the new Raptor hand about where the remaining Ultimaker printers would be going. It was decided earlier that the printers should go where they would be able to benefit the most people. Both Ivan Owen and Peter Binkley selflessly suggested that the last of the donated Ultimakers go to me, as the work that the DCRL at UWM has been doing would be able to affect the greater cause. Did I mention that the people of e-NABLE are amazing and selfless! Ultimaker had just made the announcement this past week that they would be going global so again the Ultimaker was on my mind this week. Well, Friday afternoon I received a box "with a robot" on it and when I opened it, I was pleased to find a brand new Ultimaker 2 3D printer. I was almost brought to the floor with the thought of actually receiving this generous donation. I would like to personally thank Ultimaker and Erik de Bruijn, as well as my colleagues at e-NABLE for making this happen. I cannot put into words, what this means to me. 

My student and lab assistant, John McGeen, and I set about getting the printer unpackaged and set-up. We printed a test "robot" and then unfortunately it was time for the day to end. As I began to think about what Ultimaker just had done, I realized that I had a commitment to make sure that the machine is put to good use straight away. I went back to the lab and I have been printing hands for the Johns Hopkins Conference all weekend. It's taken some time to reacclimatize myself to "RepRap based" printers and the "Slic3r like" Cura software, but I'm getting back into the swing of things. I set up a full bed of hand parts and the Ultimaker has been churning out parts ever since. Another plus to receiving the Ultimaker is one of the DCRL partners in the Middle East also has a Ultimaker that has been rigged for travel (via backpack) into remote locations, so now testing of designs can be done in my lab on a similar machine and settings can be shared within our group. Ultimaker will now be responsible for some of the hands at the Johns Hopkins Conference as well as the future development of designs that will benefit others in areas never before imagined. The new palm design that I posted about earlier will become available on Ultimaker's YouMagine site in the weeks following the Johns Hopkins Event. 

For more on the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee's Digital Craft Research Lab... 
The DCRL is devoted to a simple goal, to move the art and technology of Craft forward by looking to the past. Our students are artists, with the hands of a craftsman, the mind of an engineer and the imagination of a dreamer. Our students blend traditional hand crafted artistry with cutting edge technology using methods from: industry, the tech lab, metalsmiths, machinists, computer programmers, and “blue sky” inventors. We fuse the history of Object Making with the future of Craft; leading Craft and Design to places no one thought possible. 

Our students get to do one of the most wonderful things imaginable, and that is, create new and innovative objects. Taking everyday materials, metal, silicon, binary code; we mold, shape, and transform them into living Objects, with vitality, emotion and soul. We believe in the power of these living Objects to help tell a story. Bold, distinctive and enduring stories that make a difference in the lives of the people who use them. 

The DCRL and its members have been responsible for the creation of twelve 3D printed mechanical hands that have been fitted to five children as well as the development of numerous experimental hands or hand features. The DCRL continues to work with Shea, Karuna, Hayley, Bella, Cai, and are currently developing relationships with several local and worldwide partners in the development of new designs that address specific user needs. For more information on their recent work, please see: 

For more on Ultimaker and their donation to e-NABLE (goto link or read content below): 
Editor's Note: Ranee, Shea is shown on this link. 

The e-NABLE community is a global group of volunteers who have joined forces and have tasked themselves to make free prosthetic hands available for kids. It is a group of tinkerers, engineers, 3D print enthusiasts, occupational therapists, university professors, designers, parents, families, artists, students, teachers and people who just want to make a difference… Regular people who are creating hands for people in need and sharing their designs with the World for free. They innovate, re-design and provide prosthetic hands and fingers for children all over the world, with the use of 3D printing. 

Ultimaker empowers this community by providing Ultimaker 3D printers so they can prototype their developments and give the entire community a head start. Ultimaker’s open source platform YouMagine is helping with the development of ‘hand-o-matic’, software to have prosthetics made without CAD-modeling skills. By just entering a few required values like the size of your wrist it automatically generates a customized fitting prosthetic hand. ”Hand-o-Matic’ will be made available through YouMagine. 

“This is a prime example of what open source and 3D printing can offer to society. Both the enabling of free prosthetic hands through 3D printing and the rapid development that is possible by being open source. There is no other way that this can be achieved.” says Ultimaker’s CEO Siert Wijnia. “It is an excellent fit with our open source philosophy.’’ 

When Ultimaker’s Community Manager Sander van Geelen and e-NABLEs founder Jon Schull, research scientist at RIT’s Center for MAGIC, met in Barcelona they soon realized they had similar ideals and there was a mutual interest to partner up and boost the goals of e-NABLE. The next meet up will be in Johns Hopkins hospital where e-NABLE will further introduces the value of 3D printed prosthetics along with Ultimaker. To underline their partnership Ultimaker donated $10.000 worth of Ultimaker 2’s to e-NABLE. 

3D printing can be life changing. Imagine what having a cool 3D printed prosthetic can do for an introvert or shy, disabled child. Not only will it enable him to use both hands, but it will also transform the kid into a hero with a cool 3D printed prosthetic. 

YouMagine is sharing the files for the hand prosthetics and is hoping to extend the range of derivatives. Ultimaker is contributing to a wider support base for e-NABLE in Europe. 


Shop Teacher Bob said...

I'm still amazed at what all of you are doing. Making 3D hands and shipping them world wide - life changing indeed.

I liked what you said about ownership in a previous post. I just finished a book about the Wright brothers and their trying to control all aviation through aggressive lawsuits or royalties to further enrich themselves at the cost of the advancement of aviation. There's a lot more to life than turning a buck. All of you are doing something great here - keep it up.

Frankie Flood said...

Thanks! Agreed... more to life than making a buck for sure! Do you happen to have the name of the book on the Wright brothers?

Shop Teacher Bob said...

Birdmen by Lawrence Goldstone. Excellent book.

Frankie Flood said...

Thank you!