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3D Printer Makes Prosthetic Foot For Duck

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Lisa Winter

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clockMay 9 2014, 19:08 UTC
889 3D Printer Makes Prosthetic Foot For Duck
Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary

Buttercup is a duck that was born in a high school biology classroom in the fall of 2012. At birth, his left foot faced backwards, making walking an understandably difficult endeavor. He received rehabilitation in order to correct the deformity, but he wasn’t able to be fully corrected. Walking caused Buttercup a great deal of pain, and he was then given to the nonprofit agency Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, TN.

The staff at Feathered Angels were concerned about the foot, as it would leave Buttercup more vulnerable to cuts, and thus, infection. When he was about 3 months old, his left foot was amputated. The prosthetic would need to be flexible. While 3D printers typically don’t work with flexible materials, it could be used to make a mold. 

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Tennessee-based 3D printing company NovaCopy donated the resources to make the mold, using the left foot of Buttercup’s sister as a guide. The mold allowed them to make the actual prosthetic out of silicone. 

Last summer, Buttercup finally received his replacement limb and is doing quite well with it. If you’d like to stay updated on Buttercup, you can check out his Facebook page that he updates regularly.

Here is Buttercup being fitted with the final model of his new foot for the first time:

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And here he is taking it out for a stroll. I don’t speak duck, but I’d imagine he’s pretty excited about the whole thing.

[Hat tip: Michelle Starr, CNET]


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