Chase Dymon ’24 discovered the life-changing possibilities of 3D printers as far back as sixth grade, when he attended Station Middle School in Barrington.
Through its STEM program, Chase discovered a local chapter of e-NABLE, whose mission is to use 3D printers and design skills to create prosthetic hands for those in need—with the goal of providing them to underserved populations around the world.
This global community is now in its 10th year. According to its website, there are approximately 40,000 e-NABLE volunteers in more than 100 countries. They have combined to deliver free hands and arms to nearly 15,000 recipients.
Chase became hooked during his first year of middle school, when he built a prosthetic hand himself, made from pieces printed on a 3D printer.
“As I learned more about the project, I looked for innovative ways to print, deliver, and manufacture the various parts,” Chase says.
He says the design for the hands comes from an open-source hardware design, which is free and easily accessible online for all creators to use. Different customizations and specifications can be developed depending on the size of the hands needed.
“Young kids can build the hands with great ease,” Chase says, “but the challenge comes in delivering them to patients across the globe.”
In his case, a family trip in 2019 to Spain and Morocco helped him make a connection, when they met with a children’s hospital in Madrid.
“We brought three different hand sizes in hopes of finding a match,” Chase explains. “The hospital found us a candidate, Pablo.”
While the hands that Chase brought needed various adjustments to fit Pablo, he ultimately was able to send him a hand that fit his needs.
“Pablo’s interaction put a tangible reward on this project,” Chase says. “This led me to pass this project on to those at my middle school.”
Chase now has begun sharing his knowledge with students at Station, as an ambassador for e-NABLE the Future. His former STEM teacher, Brandon Duke, asked Chase to come to the school’s 3D Printing Club meetings and speak about real world solutions that can be manufactured in the classroom.
“I am currently working with club members to build eight hands,” Chase says. “The kids can then decide where they want to donate these hands.”
These early experiences in STEM classes, and continuing those at Saint Viator, have led Chase to discover a clearer vision for his career path.
“Engineering has always been a passion of mine,” he says. “From the day I started building Legos until now, it has always interested me on how things work.”
Consequently, Chase is looking at college engineering programs—and particularly those with e-NABLE the Future chapters.