We know form many projects we have covered — such as e-Nable and Robohand or Fittle — that 3D printing is a perfect fit for people with disabilities. That is because disabilities usually affect every person differently and 3D printing’s potential for tailor made fabrication can help target each specific need more efficiently and at a much lower cost than any mass produced item.
Moved by the special needs of some of the makers it has worked with, FabLab Hub, a group of North American makers offering information and organizing workshops on how to open and run a FabLab and its technologies, launched an Indiegogo campaign to provide 3D printers, supplies, scanners and other tools for two of them in particular.
The idea came after a Digital Fabrication conference in Portland that FabLab Hub co-chaired. They received a moving letter from Suzan Norton, mother of Mike, a kid who, in spite of all the difficulties caused by his muscular dystrophy, is a graphic designer attending the Communication and New Media Program at the Southern Maine Community College.
Suzan went with Mike to the conference and felt just like many people that first see the potential of 3D printing and personal manufacturing, immediately understanding the benefits that such technology could bring to the specific needs of every single person, such as the opportunity to develop tailor made supports at a tiny fraction of standard industry prices.
You can read the full letter on the campaign’s page, it really is worth it. What FabLab Hud did, however, was take this as inspiration to help other special need makers as well. For example Cameron Naramore, who is wheelchair bound and has been using 3D printing to develop robotic arms, or Raul Krathausen, who 3D printed portable ramps for his wheelchair.
Fablab Hub’s goal is to raise $5000 to get Mike Norton a 3D Printer, as well as some material and training to get started. The balance will be used to fund Cameron Naramore’s robotic arm project and any more of the money collected will go to other special need makers. Rewards for helping out include two wheelchair people buttons designed by Mike Norton for a $10 contribution. At the time of writing the campaign has already raised over $1000 and there is still more than two weeks left to get to the goal. If you got chills from reading Suzan’s letter, chipping in may make you feel even better.