Apr. 7, 2015 | By Alec

We’ve already known for a while that 3D printing is a perfect technology for making arm and hand prostheses in all shapes and sizes. Just look at the wonderful work E-NABLE is doing for children everywhere. But who says only humans should benefit from this exciting technology? Fortunately, more and more animals who have lost limbs are also benefitting from 3D printing, like Hobbes the three-legged dog.

But perhaps slightly more challenging to make was the leg and webbed foot that South African waterfowl Ozzie needed. This lucky duck was in need of help after a broken leg was amputated at the joint. Fortunately, inspiring South African animal lover Sue Burger took care of him throughout that ordeal. While the wound healed well enough, the goose proved to not be so nimble and quick as some three-legged dogs and cats you sometimes see. Ozzie mainly tried to balance himself on his left wing, but was largely left handicapped.

As Burger explained on a radio show on national channel RSG, the bird’s life was difficult. ‘For the first month, he spent his life hanging in a hammock with his legs hanging out the bottom of a blanket with two holes in it,’ she said. She could not, meanwhile, put the bird out of its misery. Fortunately, this emotional story encouraged several digital and 3D printing companies to offer their help: BunnyCorp donated the designs for a goose leg, 3D Printing Systems the materials while the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (an institute attached to the Central University of Technology) 3D printed the entire construction.

A clip detailing BunnyCorp’s design (in South African).

The team over at BunnyCorp in Cape Town measured the lucky bird’s stump to ensure a fitting design, and as you can see in the video below their endeavors proved successful. According to Burger the bird is still getting used to the prosthetic, but is already capable of standing and walking with it. BunnyCorp is reportedly following his progress and will make adjustments to the design if necessary. With a bit of luck, Ozzie will be chasing other birds again in just a few weeks’ time.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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