In 2007, an Alaskan bald eagle named Beauty was shot in the face, she lost her top beak. Beaks are essential for preening feathers and feeding, she was found nearly dead when she was rescued by Jane Fink Cantwell, a bird conservationist near Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
She is kept alive by the daily efforts of a liquid tube-feeding by Janie and her small volunteer staff at the Raptor Chapter.
When mechanical engineer Nate Calvin heard about Beauty's tragedy, he wanted to help. He proposed to create a prosthetic beak for her. 18 months after he began, he made a prototype using nylon-based polymer with the help of 3D scanning and Stereolithography technology, a most common rapid prototyping procedure.
At the day of the operation his dentist was there to help. The procedure was likened to fitting a patient with dentures. A metal mount was firstly secured to the tip of Beauty's natural beak like fitting a post for a crown to anchor. The process was progressing well and the prosthetic beak was fitted on. The next day Beauty already used her new beak to drink water and clean herself.
(image credit: Jane Fink Cantwell)
Beauty gets a second chance for her life with help of 3D printing technology, and she becomes also an example of the cruelty and compassion of mankind.
Update – July 2009:
Beauty continues to thrive under the care of her primary caretaker, raptor biologist Jane Cantwell. She enjoys her salmon which is still being hand fed to her daily. As was originally designed, her first beak has been temporarily removed allowing for inspection, adjustment, and improvement. She seems to understand that we are all trying to help her and never protests. Beauty is molting at this time, a natural process of feather renewal. It is a time when minimal stress should be placed upon the bird. For that reason the second phase of Beauty's beak attachment will begin in the fall of 2009.
The second phase will involve specialized X-rays of Beauty's head, the study of a real bald eagle skull, new surgeons added to her team, and innovative materials reviewed for the final beak. Because of the world wide attention that Beauty has received, many experts and manufacturers of advanced materials have come forward to assist in the restoration of Beauty's beak. It remains that the species that attempted to take her life with careless bullet, is the same species that is so committed to her future well being.
Watch the video below shot and edited by Keith Bubach for Evening Magazine.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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guri wrote at 9/3/2012 5:28:05 PM:
hatts off engineers
Rand wrote at 8/22/2012 6:00:50 AM:
King Reggin: TROLL.
Kate333 wrote at 8/17/2012 10:36:31 PM:
Well King Reggin, let's hope that if you ever happen to get shot in the face and lose a portion of your jaw, someone just as callous utilizes your ignorant advice in your situation. With thoughts like that, fixing your jaw and enabling you to speak would be an actual waste of time.
King Reggin wrote at 8/15/2012 10:40:35 PM:
A waste of time. The bird should be killed at once and those working on her fired from whatever organizations they are part of.
AP wrote at 8/15/2012 5:55:42 PM:
"In human terms this would be like trying to eat a meal... With one chopstick." Wut. More like... trying to eat a meal... with half of your jaw gone.