As the technology improves, 3D printing is finding its way into nearly every corner of the human experience. We've seen a saxophone, a human skull, fruit, ice cream and even an entire house made from various 3D printers to satisfy a wide range of needs (and wants). The technology is also helping our furred and feathered friends. Last year, a duck named Buttercup who was born with a backwards foot received a 3D-printed flipper that now has her getting around like a duck should.
In Indianapolis, the technology has once again come to the rescue -- this time to help a puppy named "TurboRoo" who was born without his front legs. "A breeder ended up dropping TurboRoo off at a veterinarian's office last month, where the employees there fell head-over-heels for the little puppy," reports 3Dprint.com. "One of the technicians, Ashely Looper ended up adopting TurboRoo permanently. They had tried their best to create a cart for the puppy, with the help of others, in order to aid in his walking, but the cart that they came up with just wasn't quite up to par."
Luckily Mark Deadrick, the president of a 3D-printing company named 3dyn, got involved. Deadrick designed and created the little Chihuahua a cart using a Makerbot Replicator 3D printer. He then attached a pair of skateboard wheels to the front of the cart to help put the Turbo in TurboRoo. Deadrick is a mechanical engineer who's worked creating parts for spacecraft as well as for the Dodge Viper and Jeep Wrangler, so mobility-related projects seem to come naturally to him.
"TurboRoo is still getting used to the cart, but he is having a much easier time getting around, and he seems to be quite content," says 3Dprint.com.
On the Facebook page for the vet, The Downtown Veterinarian, the staff gives a shout-out to "Mark D." and says that Deadrick is already working on another version. As the puppy grows, there's no doubt that multiple iterations of the cart will need to be produced, something that can fortunately be done cheaply and efficiently with 3D printing technology.
TurboRoo's caretakers have launched a fundraising campaign on YouCaring.com to help pay for the puppy's specialized gear. So far they've passed their goal with turbo speed, having raised over $3,500 for an initial goal of $600, with 144 days left in the campaign.