Steps to Becoming an E-NABLE Maker




This Instructable will guide you through the process of becoming a Maker for the e-NABLE community.

It seems you want to go beyond just printing and assembling hands or arms for the fun and awesomeness of being able to do it, and now want to move on to something more meaningful: producing a prosthetic to deliver to a specific recipient. e-NABLE requires that you pass through a few "certification" steps to do that. So this Instructable will walk you, step by step, through the things e-NABLE wants you to do before becoming a certified Maker.

You can also find a link to this Instructable at my chapter's home page at (This is my unabashed promotion of our local chapter in Madison Wisconsin)! Check it out sometime.

Step 1: What You Will Need

In this Instructable we will be building the Unlimbited Phoenix Hand, to use as the test hand for validation by e-NABLE. This is the device suggested by e-NABLE as the first build.

You will need:

· A 3D printer, or access to one. It needs to have a print bed at least 6" by 6" to fit the largest part

· PLA filament that will work with your printer. Choose your colors to suit yourself.

· An assembly materials kit.

Choose the one for the Phoenix Hand:

If the assembly kit is too expensive for your needs right now, everything within the assembly kit can be purchased at a craft store and hardware store. I could list them all here, but has a great list. Start there to find what you need. What's missing from that list for your build of the Phoenix hand is rubber bands. You will need about a dozen very small rubber bands. Depending on the size of the hand, you may need to find orthodontic retainer rubber bands. Otherwise check at a craft store or office supply store.

Step 2: Introduce Yourself to the E-NABLE Community!

If you want to be an e-NABLE Maker, you should become part of the e-NABLE community.

The e-NABLE community is really just defined as all the members of the e-NABLE forum on Wikifactory.

You will need to have a WikiFactory account to apply to the e-NABLE community.

  • Go to WikiFactory at
  • Sign In/Sign Up button at the top.
  • Create your own user id and password
  • Find the Category named "Introductions".
  • Write a post to the community telling who you are, where you are from, and your plans for working with e-NABLE.

You should also spend some time learning about WikiFactory and how we came about using it as our main community communication tool. You can find a good description, and other useful information about e-NABLE here.

And it explains how you'll need to read and agree to the e-NABLE Code of Conduct in order to be approved as an official member of the e-NABLE forum.

Step 3: Building Your Phoenix Hand for Validation

The most highly recommended hand to build as a test hand is the Unlimbited Phoenix Hand (, so we will stick with that hand for this Instructable.

A big advantage of using this device as your starting point is that within Thingiverse it can be customized, then the customized printable files already sized will be emailed directly to you! (In order to do this you will need to create a Thingiverse account, so do that first).

  1. When you are on the Unlimbited Phoenix Hand page in Thingiverse, to the right there is a button called "Open in Customizer". Click that button.
  2. You will see a 3D image of the palm appear. You can look at all the other parts as well, by using the drop-down box to preview each part.
  3. Next choose whether you want to make a left or right hand.
  4. The next choice is the Printing Scale (%). Slide that to be set at 125%.
  5. Now click the button on the top right that says Create Thing.
  6. You are presented with a dialog asking you to name your creation.
  7. Unclick the "Publish New Thing" and click on the "email me when it's done".
  8. Wait for the email to arrive from Thingiverse with an attached Zip file containing all the STL printable files already sized to 125%.
  9. Unzip the file somewhere accessible to your 3D printer. All the files will be in a subdirectory called 'files'.

Step 4: Print and Assemble Your Hand

You have downloaded all the files to 3D print your hand, so go to it!

Once you've printed them to your satisfaction, assemble your hand parts. I would recommend reviewing the Assembly Guide that leads you through the entire process from what tools you need to how to tension the strings. The Assembly Guide is a PDF file, so you can just scroll through it and pause as you complete the next step.

Check especially that all knots are tied tightly, with a drop of glue on the knot so it won't ever come loose, and also make sure the angle of the gauntlet to the palm is about 30 degrees. This gives the recipient some mechanical advantage to start clenching the hand.

Re-read the instructions so you didn't miss anything.

Yay! Hand is complete!

Step 5: Submit Your E-NABLE Badge Request Form

Once you have created your hand, submit your e-NABLE Badge Request Form. These badges are used to certify that you have shown proficiency in producing your hand. The badges are used later in the process of e-NABLE making, for example, to verify that you can be a maker for recipients found through

You can review all the different badges here:

When you are ready, you can submit your badge request from that page, or from here:

Once you submit your test hand photos and video for review and acceptance, wait for a response. This process used to take weeks because the review is performed by a team of people who have other jobs, not just e-NABLE test hand acceptance! We now have some people pretty much dedicated to approving test hands, and will usually get a response back to you within a couple of days.

Once your submission has been reviewed and accepted, you will receive email feedback indicating your successful test hand submission.

Step 6: Congratulations! Thumbs Up! (get It? Look at the Picture!)

What, you really made it this far? I'm impressed!

I know you want to jump right onto finding a recipient through EnableWebCentral, but there are many other resources you should also check out. And really, all of them start at the home base, e-NABLING the Future! So go there to explore the whole world of e-NABLE. Read some of their feel-good stories to get you pumped up about building hands and arms.

Once you start making devices, there are a few options for what you can do with them:

  • You can find people in your own local neighborhood or school who would benefit from an e-NABLE device.
  • You can use e-NABLE Web Central to find recipients to make devices for
  • You can contact e-NABLE Chapters to see if they have recipients you can work with
  • You can post the finished devices in the Device Inventory section of e-NABLE Web Central to make them available to other volunteers
  • You can send the devices to the e-NABLE Living Classroom project (operated by the Enable Alliance), where they will be tested and then distributed to clinics around the world. Here's the address:

eNABLE Living Classroom, SUNY Polytechnic Institute

ATTN: Robert Payne

c/o Utica Metal Products Incorporation

1526 Lincoln Ave.

Utica, NY 13502

If you choose to send devices to the e-NABLE Living Classroom project, please include the following information with each device you send:

  • Name of the e-NABLE design (i.e. Unlimbited Phoenix Hand)
  • Material used
  • Device scale (%)
  • Any additional information, such as the % of infill used, layer height, etc.

And please include your contact information with the shipment so you can be reached if there are any questions.

Step 7: As You Make Other Devices, Claim More Badges!

In the last step you submitted your test hand for acceptance by applying for a badge. But you probably did both the Fabrication (3D printing) and the Assembly of the hand. If you didn't claim both then you could return to the same page to claim the Assembly badge as well

Now you've earned some time to sit and relax. Your badge(s) request will be reviewed by a team of community volunteers chosen to curate these requests. A key word here is "volunteers"! They can't work on your schedule, they have lives to attend to, so it could be multiple days before you get an email with your badge approval. Patience, please.

Step 8: Want to Find a Recipient to Work With? Use

The best way to find a recipient is to create an account on and browse through the existing cases on the world map. Each pin represents a case. Some cases need volunteers. You can offer to help on any of them. I recommend trying to find one close to your own location. I often need to travel 3 hours each way to meet with recipients.

You can get to EnableWebCentral starting with this link: Partway down that page is a tutorial video. Beyond that is a good description of the different roles, and how to navigate the app.

Step 9: Other Resources

There are a number of documents you should read before you actually deliver a device to a recipient. All of them can be found within the webpage Some of the document names are so long that you can only figure out which one you need by hovering over the link and seeing the full filename at the screen's bottom left.

One is the Device Safety Guidelines. As soon as you engage with a recipient or his/her guardian, make certain they have a copy.

A second is the Code of Conduct. It has directives about where to meet, who must be present, and links to other documents. You must read this document before meeting a recipient.

A third is a release for e-NABLE (and you) to use/post/display media of your recipient. Get this signed before you deliver the prosthetic.

And a fourth document is the Release and Waiver of Liability and Hold Harmless Agreement. This is the legal-ese required to avoid lawsuits.



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    5 Discussions


    Answer 2 months ago

    Yes, as with any .stl file you will need to “slice” it first, which converts the .stl file of faces and vertices into a file that tells the printer how to move and where to deposit plastic from the extruder. These converted files contain instructions written in “gcode” thus the file name extension.
    There are numerous free “slicers “ out there that would work for you, if your printer vendor didn’t suggest one. My preference is Cura but I suggest that you look around for one that suits your needs and experience level.


    1 year ago

    really helpful instructable , we are also working on 3d printed prosthetics , that we want to build it for E-NABLE the Future community to help someone who needs it.
    Thank you:)


    1 year ago

    I've seen some awesome solutions from this community! I look forward to seeing more :)