Practical Magic: Lending a Hand

Thingiverse, that Holy Grail of 3D design, has some pretty darn cool projects.  We’ve seen everything from a tiny do-it-yourself Raspberry Pi-Powered Game Boy for the die-hard tinkerer, to a little surfer dude who will float on the boundary between salt water and olive oil for the mad experimenter.

But one thing that really hooked our imagination here at the library?  A 3D printed prosthetic hand.

Did you know that a professionally designed prosthetic can cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000?  And that a child can outgrow a prosthetic in the time it takes to say “Oh my gosh stop growing what are we feeding you?!”  Well the fine folks at Enabling the Future thought that might be a bit of a problem for the average person or family to handle, and they set out to make it just a little bit easier.

The goal over at e-NABLE is to connect those who are in need of a hand with a person or people who have access to a 3D printer and the desire to do a little bit of good.  There are designs for children, adults and any age in between; every style hand is totally customizable for size, color, and range of motion.  And we think that is pretty cool.

Hand with Pen

We decided to build what the team at e-Nable has named the Raptor Hand and had quite a lot of fun printing, assembling, tweaking and reassembling this hand.  The best part? The total cost including printing here at the library and the assembly kit was just under $45 and 12 hours of print time.

Want to see this little guy up close and in action?  Drop by the How-To Fest this Saturday, August 1st, from 10-3.  We’ll be demoing the printer and this fancy hand from 12-1 and would love to talk shop, answer any questions you might have and give out as many 3D printed high fives as we can!

Join us for one of our regularly-scheduled upcoming demos to watch Gute in action:

Thursday             8/6         6:30pm
Wednesday        8/12       2:00pm
Tuesday               8/18       5:30pm
Thursday             8/27       6:30pm
Check our Facebook events or our calendar for updates.

Look for us next month as we take a peek at some other ingenious and industrious uses for 3D printing!


Gutenberg enjoys humming, getting crafty, and causing mischief around the library. Gute’s people enjoy tinkering, making, and discovering ingenious solutions to everyday problems. If you have questions or suggestions for future Practical Magic posts, please feel free to email us at

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