A toymaker, an industrial designer, a software developer and others gathered with a single purpose — to create functional, plastic “hands” for children who have lost their hands in war-ravaged countries in East Africa.
Many of the “makers,” as they call themselves, had lugged their own equipment to the AS220 Labs in downtown Providence. They’d work well into the night on three-dimensional printers, small machines the size of a microwave that heat plastic filament and then print it out in thin layers according to a detailed model developed on a computer.
Matt Stultz spearheaded the prosthetic-hand printing session. A 35-year-old software developer, Stultz hosts 3D printing sessions monthly at the nonprofit arts organization AS220.
On Friday, his “3DP PVD” group joined a larger, global collaboration called “Make the World: Prosthetics,” which held “virtual” gatherings this month for people interested in designing, improving and producing prosthetics. One of Stultz’s friends, toymaker Wayne Losey, of Providence, brought his two 3-D printers from home because he liked the idea of creating hands for children.
“This is a really ingenuous use of the machine,” Losey said. “So much of what’s being done in 3-D printing is sort of trivial — like phone cases — and this is meaningful….”
There was a tremendous response from the local maker community and all available tables were filled with printers. Many of the printers in attendance were built by 3DPP members during their “CastMax” (Mendel Max build using cast, not printed parts) build workshop. Nineteen 3D printers were transported by individual makers to the lab where they printed Michael Curry’s freshly updated version of the MakerBot Snap-Together Robohand, based on the Robohand project.
And here are some of Anna’s fun Vines of the event!
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.