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3D printing gives disabled duck Dudley a new limb

Yet another disabled little duckie gets a new lease on life thanks to the magic of 3D printing.

Michelle Starr Science editor
Michelle Starr is CNET's science editor, and she hopes to get you as enthralled with the wonders of the universe as she is. When she's not daydreaming about flying through space, she's daydreaming about bats.
Michelle Starr
3 Pillar Designs

At long last, 3D printing has found its niche: providing replacement limbs -- for ducks. Poor Dudley of K911 animal rescue service in Sicamous, Canada, lost his leg as a baby to a vicious attack from a chicken kept in the same pen. But now he can walk again, thanks to 3D printing.

The first iteration of Dudley's foot. 3 Pillar Designs

Unlike Buttercup the duck's new foot, which was created using a 3D-printed mold to cast a limb in silicone, Dudley's foot was a more elaborate affair.

It was created by Terence Loring of 3 Pillar Designs, a company that specializes in 3D-printing architectural prototypes. Loring heard of Dudley's plight through a friend and -- with Buttercup's story undoubtedly echoing in his head -- decided to see what he could do to help.

The first limb Loring designed has a jointed construction, and was fully 3D-printed in plastic by Proto3000 in Canada. When Dudley put it on, the limb broke and Dudley fell over, so Loring went back to the drawing board for a one-piece model with no joints, printed in a softer plastic.

When the new foot was put on Dudley, he started walking straight away, no hesitation. However, the plastic causes friction sores -- a problem Buttercup's owner, Mike Garey, solved with a silicone sock and prosthetic gel liner.

We've no doubt Loring will come up with a solution. Meanwhile, Dudley is happy as a duck in a pond.


(Source: CNET Australia)