Nov 14, 2015 | By Benedict

We cover a lot of serious 3D printing news here at 3Ders, so when a heart-melting story like this one appears, we can’t help but smile. A team of makers at the Ohio University Innovation Centre has built a 3D printed wheelchair for a disabled puppy named Tumbles, who was rescued earlier this fall by Friends of the Shelter Dogs, a non-profit organization “dedicated to the rescue and welfare of dogs at the Athens County Dog Shelter”. Come to think of it, dogs have been on our minds and computer screens a lot this week. A few days ago, we reported on Roboplan Technologies’ fascinating PlayDog project, in which 3D printed components are used to teach, exercise and feed a housebound pet. This latest story sees 3D printing used in an altogether different yet equally canine-friendly way.

Tumbles the puppy was born earlier this fall, and was only two weeks old when FOS rescued him. The adorable pup’s name tells its own story. The young terrier mix was discovered to have only two legs, and therefore possessed very limited mobility, in spite of his boundless enthusiasm. Because of his disability, FOS decided that Tumbles would not be able to survive the cold outdoor temperatures, or be able to feed properly amongst his healthier litter mates. The organization therefore took him in, and sought a way to help the little pooch move around more freely.

“Even though he has already started to adapt and can scooch around using his nose and back legs, the vet recommended getting him his first little cart already so he can start to strengthen his back legs,” the Ohio University Innovation Centre explained on their Facebook page a few days ago.

The Innovation Centre considered their options, before deciding that 3D printing was the best method of creating a custom-made puppy wheelchair. The team got to work, and after a 14 hour 3D printing session, the tiny wheelchair was ready. A video posted to Facebook shows the device in action. Tumbles seems a little hesitant to use the 3D printed aid, but will return to the Innovation Centre next week to receive an upgraded model. Perhaps the interest generated by the viral video will see a greater number of makers looking to assist with the 3D printing project.

Karen Pilcher, an Athens resident who is currently looking after Tumbles, said the puppy was seen by a vet earlier this week. The professional recorded that Tumbles now weighs “a perfectly healthy” 1 1/2 pounds, Pilcher said. Unfortunately for smitten Ohio residents, Tumbles is not currently available for adoption. Check out the Facebook video below:

Crystal Richmond: November 10, 2015. Tumbles at his first wheelchair fitting! I think it's so cute and funny when Little Silly tips forward on his cute little nose! grin-emoticon Karen Pilcher, Angela Marx, Michele Summers Friends of the Shelter Dogs The Ohio University Innovation Center made his wheelchair using a 3D printer!

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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