Keeping Busy by Giving Back using 3D Printing 2

I realize retirement isn’t for everybody. We all know the stories of “Bob” retiring and him withering away, sitting in front of the window only to die 5 years later. Some people live to work and when you love your work, kudos to you. Some people will flourish in retirement. I think I belong to the latter.

Busy in Retirement

I’m over three years into retirement, keeping busy doing the things I really love. Prior to retirement I built my own CNC machine. It wasn’t a success but I loved doing it nonetheless. Since then I’ve been building my own 3D printers (you can read all about it here).

Oddly, I’m not big on actually printing stuff with it, as most of what is out there to print is stuff we really don’t need. In that regard, the 3D printing world is a microcosm of real life in that way: acquiring stuff we don’t need. Just check out and its featured turtles??

Don’t get me started on this kind of stuff:

WTF?? (that didn’t come off my printer)

There are items I’ve printed that actually useful, like the fishing gear rack that adorns my boat (speaking of things we really don’t need :-0) and let’s not forget all the little parts needed to build my last printer (Yes my printer was printed mostly by itself, resistance is futile, you will be assimilated).


There is a lot of frivolous stuff being done with 3D printers but it doesn’t have to be. You can do some serious and useful things with 3D printing and I just got started.


Come fall, I will be teaching my fist class on 3D printing at the local Parks and Rec. Teaching is something enjoyed back when I worked for FICO. There I taught a 2 week boot camp, put together by myself, on how to do best, the work we did. I enjoyed getting in front of 20 or more people and passing on my experience.

Now in a much smaller setting I will try the same as it relates to 3D printing. If I enjoy it again, I will see if there are other venues and other subject I can teach. The first one is an “intro to 3D printing” but I can easily build a program around other topics regarding 3D printing (like: building your own 3D printer).

It won’t pay much. I might be able to buy a little extra filament if I get enough attendance but then again, this was never about pay, it’s more about giving back.


Speaking of giving back; yesterday, I submitted my first hand for approval to the Enabling the Future/Lend a hand organization. That’s right, my 3D printer can be put to use, to help real people with and “upper limb assistive devices” or in other words: a new hand.

Not just a plastic facsimile that looks like a hand but a functional hand that can actually grab things. Here’s the one I built: 


The hand is fully functional and operated by the limited motion that is left in the wearer’s wrist. Other models can be printed if motion only exists in the elbows.

At this point, I’ve created my first hand and have submitted it for approval to the e-Nable organization. I hope it will be accepted and maybe soon, I will be able to start contributing.

Building the hand was a real joy. I have to believe, providing one for a real person will bring even more joy (for both parties). What I’m fully aware of is that building a prosthetic for a real person in need (in many cases children) comes with a lot of responsibility. I hope that the giving back will make up for the stress that might come from trying to do it perfect (a flaw of mine that certainly didn’t help my state of mind back when I worked).

What about

No, I’m not ready to give up on this blog yet. For those who follow me, I’m sure you’ve noticed the drop in new posts. Now you know why: I’ve been busy.

A long time ago I was inspired to build my wealth by a single sentence (opening line to my book). That inspiration enabled me to do what I do today. I wrote it and started this blog, hoping I could provide some similar inspiration to others. Other than for my calculators, the traffic to this blog is lukewarm, but who knows, someone might come along and say: Hey, I can….

For now, I’ll write whenever I really feel I have something new to say. Also, expect some guest posts if they come my way.

If you’re interested in the 3D printed bit, I’ve started an website dedicated to my work on my 3D printers are 

Maybe I’ll see you there.


feature photo source

Good luck reaching your financial goals.


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About Maarten van Lier

Maarten came to this country with a suitcase and a diploma. He created a financial plan and goal to become a millionaire in 10 years. He successfully turned his financial goals into reality, wrote a book about it and now blogs actively in hope of inspiring other to do the same.

2 thoughts on “Keeping Busy by Giving Back using 3D Printing

  • Mr. Groovy

    I love it, Maarten. That hand looks great. I don’t know what the e-Nable organization’s standards are, but I can’t imagine it not accepting your work. Oh, and I just bookmarked your 3D website. I’m fascinated by 3D printing on hope to make it a hobby one day. Kudos, my friend. I hope you and your family enjoy Labor Day. Cheers.

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