IT Tallaght gives new hope to children – by printing 3D hands

IT Tallaght gives new hope to children – by printing 3D hands

By Laura Lyne

ITTSTAFF and students of IT Tallaght have been giving a helping hand and changing the lives of children across Ireland and UK after setting up 

e-NABLE Tallaght to provide 3D prosthetic hands to those in need.
10-year-old Josh McKenna from Co Laois became the first child in the country to receive a mechanical hand created in a 3D printer this week after it was gifted to him by the local programme spearheaded by the mechanical engineering department of IT Tallaght.

The voluntary programme was created in conjunction with US-based organisation e-NABLE, after mechanical engineering lecturer Robbie O’Connor decided to help out the organisation using the 3D printers in IT Tallaght.
Elaine McGeough, who works in the materials laboratory of IT Tallaght, has been involved with helping to create the 3D prosthetic hands which have helped children across the country and in the UK.
Elaine told The Echo: “We got in contact with Josh through his mam Annette who had applied to an American organisation called e-NABLE.
“A lecturer in the mechanical engineering department of the college, Robbie O’Connor, got involved with e-NABLE and his friend Stephen Dignam also got involved.
“We have set up a brand of e-NABLE called e-NABLE Tallaght and the staff of the mechanical engineering department and about a dozen students have got involved with creating these hands using 3D printers.
“The arms we create for the kids are completely free, and everything is done on a voluntary basis. It can be life- changing for children. This is not a full prosthetic, but a lot of the time children in the UK and Ireland are not getting prosthetic limbs as they are growing too quickly.”
All hands are custom-made to suit the child’s needs, and can be adapted to suit the colour and style preference of the child.
Elaine said: “The 3D printers we have in the college are busy with students during the college term, but in the evenings and during the summer we figured that they can be put to good use.
“IT Tallaght has five 3D printers at the moment, and there are endless possibilities with them. The college is really supportive of e-NABLE Tallaght and it’s great for the students to get involved.
“We really just want to get it out there that these hands are open to everyone who needs them, and we deal directly with the parents and their children in the process.”
For more information about e-NABLE Tallaght and the development of the 3D printed hands, visit the programme’s Facebook page “E-nable Tallaght” or visit

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