MISSION: UCP WORK, Inc. is dedicated to providing services to residents of the Tri-Counties with developmental disabilities, so that they may work and live as contributing citizens within the community of their choice.

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Meghan Donovan

3D Printers Create Assisted Devices for People with Disabilities

By Rae van Seenus on May 21, 2019 at 08:38 PM in UCP WORK, Inc. Blog
Did you know that 3D Printing is a revolutionary and innovative way to impact the lives of people with disabilities? By using technology and art, 3D printers have the versatility to produce a number of tools that are designed to help people with fine motor difficulties both inside and outside the arts studio. For example, a paintbrush that can't be extended for a person with cerebral palsy, receives a custom 3D printed adaptive extender, a plastic piece that resembles a handle of a screwdriver and is made in various sizes and lengths. A pen that is difficult to grip, now has the functionality of a three-piece gripper, providing the user independence and confidence in his/her artwork. 3D printing also provides a medium for people with disabilities to learn computer and technical skills to design their own tools, as well as, offering people valuable work experience. 
Santa Barbara Art Works studio-gallery, part of the UCP WORK, Inc. family of services, does not currently own a 3D printer. Its staff is creatively making adaptive tools for the program participants using art supplies, duct tape, cardboard, and other disposable products. Although the tools have been effective in establishing rapport and creativity in its students, the current tools aren't sustainable, nor can they be used 100% independently, without the aid of a staff member to assist the user with re-applying paint, cleaning, reach or certain movements.
In April, the leadership teams of both UCP WORK, Inc. and Santa Barbara Art Works, visited the Washington Reid Gallery, UCPLA's day program and arts gallery, to view their 3D printers up-close. The studio currently has three "Ultimaker" printers, programmed individually to produce a variety of assistive art tools for the people in its program, such as paintbrush extenders, ink-pen grippers, computer joysticks, foot pedals, and more. Some students were working at computers, while several artists were excited to show the team examples of their latest artwork created with their 3D printed tools.
Overview of the positive impact 3D Printers will have for the students at Santa Barbara Art Works studio-gallery:
  • Creates assistive devices and supports independence and inclusivity.
  • Gives people with disabilities the technical knowledge to design their own tools.
  • Creates a work experience project run by people with disabilities
  • Provides a blueprint for others who want to start similar businesses and creating an open-source community where designs and tools are accessible to all.
How can you support the initiative?
Please consider making a contribution to Santa Barbara Art Works (SBAW) and support its initiative to purchase 3D Printers and printing supplies for the use of making assistive devices for its artists with disabilities. All donations are tax-deductible and can be processed securely online at the link below, or simply by contacting the UCP WORK, Inc. office at donate@ucpworkinc.org.
3D Printers Create Assisted Devices for People with Disabilities
3D Printers Create Assisted Devices for People with Disabilities
3D Printers Create Assisted Devices for People with Disabilities
3D Printers Create Assisted Devices for People with Disabilities
3D Printers Create Assisted Devices for People with Disabilities