If you’ve been following my coverage of E-Nable, a volunteer organization dedicated to 3D-printing prosthetic hands for kids, you’ll be familiar with Aaron Brown’s work. He makes “superhero” hands in multiple colors and recently completed this fun Wolverine model for a young man born without fingers. The hand includes removable “blades” and is blue and yellow, just like the early X-Men costumes.
Brown recently opened a 3D print shop in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. and has begun working with Marvel to deliver his hands alongside Marvel Universe LIVE! I contacted Brown to ask him about his new shop and what he’s been doing to help kids with his 3D printer.
TC: Hey, Aaron. What have you been up to?
Brown: Lots. I just opened the first, and only, public 3D Print shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. AxisLab 3D.
I’m specializing in classes, material sales, and of course 3D printing and prototyping services. It’s a scary and exciting venture, starting a small business that is, especially one involving a technology that so many people don’t even know exist, but I am passionate and truly love what I do.
TC: Tell me about your work with E-Nable.
B: I have been a highly active and passionate member of E-Nable since nearly the beginning, close to 2 years. Most notably I have been known for some of the themes I add to the hands. I started doing “Superhero hands” early on, with my Wolverine hand that received worldwide attention. I have done dozens of other superhero themed hands since, and have inspired countless other designers and volunteers to take on themes and accessories for 3D printed prosthetics. It’s so great to see such amazing creativity coming out of a group that is nothing but volunteers, working tirelessly from the goodness of their hearts. It leaves me in awe sometimes, and I am truly blessed to be part of such an amazing group of people.
TC: Has anything memorable happened?
B: Things really started picking up for me when the Marvel Universe LIVE! group saw what we were doing, and flew a handful of our top e-Nable Builders to Dallas, myself included, for a superhero build event for kids. We were joined by some of the Marvel Universe LIVE! cast themselves to assemble hands for some superhero kids.
The Marvel Universe LIVE! group has now been touring the country and changing kids lives with the help of e-NABLE and 3D Printing on a regular basis.
TC: What’s next?
B: The future of 3D printed prosthetics is an exciting thing to think about. Things are improving, and changing on a daily basis, you never know what to expect.
As of today e-NABLE is officially & legally a 501(c)3 Non-Profit!! And on top of that, just last week was awarded a $600,000 grant from Google.
This opens the doors to so much potential, it’s incredible. We have teams working on low profile exoskeleton systems for children with limited mobility, groups working on sensor controlled robotics, technology teams focusing on scanning and measurement applications, web and mobile apps, the list truly goes on and on.
I am so proud to be a part of all this, and as long as I have my printers and my store, there is never an excuse to not have them running for such a great cause.