How 3D printing and open source helps children


3D printing is allowing creative minds to make incredible things. Just one glance at one of the numerous STL downloading hubs shows you the size of the ‘force’ that is active today. 3D printers became a success mainly due to the open-source feature that exists.

Open source 

The beauty of open source is that anyone can design something that can be shared with everyone else. However, there will be someone who wants to adjust or improve your design. This design can be anything, from software code to a 3D design. On top of that, everything is free! Therefore, you will only need brains and determination to start building or improving.


An amazing example of a movement that makes a difference in the world is: E-nable. E-nable creates prosthetics (lower arms to be more precise) which can be made by anyone with a 3D printer. And the best thing is that people with a 3D printer use it to help other people!

Prosthetics are nothing new. However, a 3D printed lower arm is something else. Because of the cost, speed and flexibility, a 3D printed lower arm is almost as qualitative as one made by a medical company. However, children who miss an arm don’t often have a medical qualified prosthetic, but rather a 3D printed one. There are two reasons for this: medical prosthetics are expensive and children are constantly growing. Therefore, one would need many different prosthetics for a growing kid.,

Helping out

At Leapfrog, we were approached by Mark Valentijn who is active as an e-nabler from Holland. He has experience making E-nable arms, but was lacking the build volume for one particular arm he was making. Luckily, he contacted us and we were happy to provide him with the print he needed.

A better future

Seeing how easy it is to improve somebody’s life with a little elbow grease and a 3D printer is amazing. E-nable is exactly the kind of thing the world could have more of. And we as a 3D printer manufacturer are proud to be involved in any way in these kind of movements.

Information on the printed part

The part was printed on the Bolt Pro and Engineering Pla. The part itself was printed flat, and later made round by softening the PLA in warm water and then forming it over a round object.