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.
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)