Nub Werkes is our entity for all of our 3D printing interests and liaisons. We are a father and son team. We love 3D Printed hands!
My name is Andrew DeLisle. I’m a System Service Representative for IBM. That’s IBM speak for a Field Service Technician. I’ve been into computers and computer related things for as long as I can remember. I love old Macintosh computers, wrenching on our Volkswagens and Audis, shooting firearms, and 3D printing. I also do some amateur wine making.
Aidan is my first born son. He’s an elementary schooler and is involved in some after school computer classes. He’s an extremely bright young boy with an outgoing personality.
How We Found 3D Printing
We got into 3D printing because of Aidan. He was born without any fingers on his left hand. This was caused by a condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome. It has no known causes. The amniotic fluid can randomly thicken and form bands that can wrap around limbs and stop them from growing.
We started looking for solutions for him a few years ago. Prosthetic devices from the orthopedic offices were extremely expensive, odd looking, and not very functional.
We found out about E-nable in 2016. E-nable is a non profit organization that provides 3d printed hands and arms for people at NO charge. Aidan and I immediately performed some measurements and took some pictures for the hand builders. We were told that there was a waiting list for the hands, so we patiently started waiting… and promptly forgot.
It had been a year, and Aidan and I were on a field trip with his second grade class. There was a younger sibling of one of Aidan’s classmates that refused to hold Aidan’s hand for one of the games that we were doing. His parents said nothing the whole time this was happening. While this little boy was refusing to hold Aidan’s hands, one of his friend’s asked when his robot hand was coming.
Immediately after the field trip I got on the E-nable Google+ group and asked for a status update. It seems that during the past year they had moved from their old Google Docs system and were experimenting with other ways of matching makers with builders.
Jon Schull, the CEO of E-nable.org guided me in the ways to contact a local builder. That’s how I met Mike Campos from Claws from Carter. We gave him Aidan’s measurements and in just a few days we were going to pick up Aidan’s hand.
During the waiting period, I told my sister how excited I was about this whole idea. I was also doing more research into 3D printing and E-nable.
I knew that I had to get a printer and help out with E-nable. She decided to get me an early birthday present, a Monoprice Maker Select v2. It was our first 3D printer. It is a great first printer and I was able to easily set it up and make my first 3D prints.
Adding to the Stable
I knew that my next 3D printer was going to be a large format printer, something that could print adult sized arms. During this time, there were not very many affordable choices for 350mm worth of 3D printing in either the X or Y direction.
I wanted a printer that was truly open source. I also wanted to have V slot rails, a main board that runs Marlin firmware, and an active user community. After some deliberation, I settled on the Tevo Black Widow.
The Tevo Black Widow is a great piece of kit. The community is very active and has great videos to aid with assembly assistance when the manual lacks details and direction.
I’ve done some basic upgrades to it, such as adding a parts cooler, a glass bed, TMC2100 stepper drivers on the X and Y axis, and the amazing community firmware.
Our First Big Video and Being ‘Famous’
We had 3D printed a few arms for people and things were going fantastic. In the early summer of 2017 I was contacted by Jen Owen whose husband, Ivan Owen, had helped create the original open source plans for the first 3D printed hand and formed E-nable.
Facebook was helping fund a web series about people and technology, and she wanted Aidan and I to be part of their story. We had a film crew come, record us for almost 12 hrs and do some interviews. It was an exhausting experience, but one that we enjoyed. I just wanted more people to know that this was available to them. To date, the video below has had over 1 million views.
I had shared the video on multiple forums and even shared it with the CEO from TEVO. He was in awe of the work that we were doing and offered to help our workload by sending us a brand new TEVO Tornado.
Since initially receiving this printer and setting it up, I have been an active member of the Tevo Tornado Owners Group on Facebook offering install and setup advice, along with other troubleshooting.
After receiving our Tevo Tornado 3D printer I met William from Inov3d. He interviewed us about what we do at Nub Werkes, our relationship with TEVO, and what we have planned. Check it out here.
It was also around this time that Eric Bubar from the E-nable community contacted me about helping out with the admissions and submissions for official E-nable build approval. Any people that would like to build for E-nable officially, will have to go through either Eric or myself for approval.
CBS News and Harmony’s Hand
We continued to print hands, arms and even a few specialized devices for some specific people. In November of 2017, the five year anniversary of the first E-nable 3D printed hand was approaching and CBS had reached out to Jen Owen to cover it in an episode of the CBS Nightly News.
Little did I know that my next recipient was actually the first American recipient to receive a 3D printed hand, Harmony from Harmony’s Hand. CBS met us at Harmony’s house and filmed her experience with her new model 3D printed hand. They also came and hung out with us for some filming and background interviews. The episode aired on the end of the December 12th broadcast. You can also read the article by clicking here.