'Truly incredible.' Staples High School club 3D prints prosthetics for people in need

Staples E-NABLE is now waiting to be matched with the first person the club will help. In the meantime, they're preparing, meticulously working on building hands since "practice makes perfect."

Marissa Alter

Jun 14, 2024, 3:58 PM

Updated 30 days ago

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Every Friday, after the final bell rings, Staples High School is virtually empty. But in one computer lab, there's plenty of activity.
"It's just phenomenal that people want to stay here after school on a Friday," remarked science teacher Dr. Humphrey Wong, who advises Staples E-NABLE, a club that recently became an official chapter of the E-NABLE network.
"It's an international organization that builds prosthetic hands for people in need," explained junior Preston Siroka, one of the club's founders.
"A medical grade prosthetic can--without insurance--cost astronomical amounts of money," added junior Hugo Jacques, another club founder.
That's where E-NABLE comes in. The global group has chapters in over 100 countries and uses 3D printers to make free prosthetic upper limbs for kids and adults, many of whom have little access to health care.
"People who can't afford medical grade prosthetics or for children who would be growing out of medical grade prosthetics and can't afford to get a new one every year--they can get one that'll fit them and then once they are done growing, they can graduate to a real one," said junior Jacob Rybchin, a member of E-NABLE's leadership team.
E-NABLE spans 100 countries and about 40,000 volunteers. Staples is the only active high school chapter in the Northeast. The club has come a long way since 2022 when its three co-founders first learned about E-NABLE in an engineering class.
Junior Sebastian Rodriguez told News 12, "It was originally me, Hugo, and Preston that were in a class together our freshman year, and Dr. Wong was our teacher."
"And he introduced this whole idea to us," Preston added.
At the end of the class, Hugo, Sebastian and Preston all approached Wong with the idea to form an E-NABLE club at Staples. It's taken time to organize, teach members how to 3D print and fundraise for better equipment and supplies. A GoFundMe campaign collected $3,700.
"We just acquired some really great printers from the fundraising, which was astonishing to the club," said Hugo.
"To see that kind of reaction and support from the community was just incredible and really put some wind in our sales," Jacob said. "The idea of being able to create something in your mind and then print it, make it real, is just something that's incredible to me. And then when Seb told me about this club and how I can use that passion to actually help people, I knew I had to sign up right away."
Staples E-NABLE is now waiting to be matched with the first person the club will help. In the meantime, they're preparing, meticulously working on building hands since "practice makes perfect."
The process begins with using software to create a design based on the recipient's needs, then printing the prosthetic's parts. That can mean 25 different pieces per hand, which are put together using wires and screws. It takes time. Printing alone often runs 25 to 30 hours. But every minute spent in the lab is well worth it.
"Once I see someone with a hand that we built on, enjoying life, like someone with a normal hand would, that would feel amazing," Preston told News 12.
"I never really thought I'd be able to do something like this. Now here I am, and I really feel like I have the ability to help people," Sebastian said. It's just truly incredible."
"We put our hearts into something that's just bigger than we are," Jacob added.
"It's just really remarkable to see how inspired they are by this project. I mean, it's everything I could've hope for," Wong stated.


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