Feb 14, 2016 | By Andre

Imagine for a second that every time you went  to sleep you rolled off of your bed and onto the floor. That’s something you’d quickly want to remedy I’m sure. The owners of Mr. Ben, a one-legged parrot from Abingdon, Oxfordshire, were in a similar situation before seeking the help of 3D printing technology to make things right.

In Mr. Ben’s case, he kept losing his balance and falling from his perch every night as he attempted to sleep. On top of that, as Mr. Ben’s owner Lorraine Hollingworth tells, “eating was also quite tricky for him and we had to give him his fruit and veg really finely chopped up.”

The solution arrived after a local 3D print firm accepted avian specialist Steve Smith’s challenge to create a new claw for Mr. Ben. This strange request was defintely a first for the company, “we’d never had a request like it and were really excited by the challenge,” Fred Standeven the engineer behind the 3D printing noted.

To make it all work, moulds of Mr. Ben’s legs were created and sent over to the 3D printing firm so accurate measurements could be taken before further research was done on the specific design details for Mr. Ben’s 3D printed replacement claw. “We spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos of cockatoos to help us with our research.”

Once the leg was designed and 3D printed it was sent Mr. Ben’s way so it could be attached by the veterinarian. From there it was only a matter of time before Mr. Ben was standing up comfortably on both legs. Results were noticed right away as “he was finally able to get a good night’s sleep and was a lot less cranky. He even stopped biting me.” Lorraine said.

Unfortunately however, four days after the new 3D printed limb was attached, the team had to go back to the drawing board because Mr. Ben chewed it right off. “I came down on Monday morning and Mr. Ben had his foot in his mouth and was looking really sheepish. I went closer to see what was up and he flung the new claw out of his cage at me. He had nibbled it off!”

But as the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed, try try again, and that’s exactly what the 3D printing team is doing. After some further analysis, they hope creating a more robust replacement claw will prevent Mr. Ben from chewing off the claw on their next attempt. Lorraine remains optimistic that the second attempt will yield more permanent results. “Hopefully we will get there in the end. Mr. Ben absolutely loved his new claw before he chewed it off.”

The 3D printed prosthetic claw, while unique in its own right, isn’t the first example of 3D printing to assist animals in need. Tazo, a handicapped dog found in a New York shelter, was helped after 3D printing was used to create a prosthetic cart to roll around in. There’s also the case of Yogo, a dog that suffered from congenital atrophy in his right leg before being fitted with a 3D printed prosthetic.

The ability for 3D printing to assist pets in need of replacement limbs is something that seems to be happening more and more frequently these days. The accuracy in the process thanks to mould making and in some cases 3D scanning ensures a perfect fit can be had every time. For now, Lorraine is eagerly awaiting the second 3D printed claw for Mr. Ben as the one-legged ben tends to “let out piercing screams that could be heard three miles away,” during these more wobbly days.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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chethan wrote at 2/15/2016 11:27:36 AM:

So sad

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