Sep 2, 2016 | By Alec

We here at especially love reporting on 3D printing stories that really change lives – human and animal. And we are very happy to see that the animal kingdom is also increasingly benefitting from 3D printed prostheses and medical tools. In many of cases, 3D printed solutions even make it possible for those animals to live a relatively normal life. Just look at the story of Grecia the Toucan, who would’ve probably had to put down if it wasn’t for a 3D printed prosthetic beak. And there are plenty of similar examples, such as this bald eagle that can fly again thanks to 3D printed surgical guides and even Bagpipes the penguin that can walk again thanks to a 3D printed prosthetic foot.

Of course several organized initiatives are bringing such 3D printing innovations to handicapped people all over the world as well, and especially E-Nable can be commended for their excellent work. In an attempt to bring that same level of organization and presence to the animal kingdom, a group of passionate volunteers have now launched the CAP project, or the Computer Aided Pets Project. While most projects for animals are one-off events, they are seeking to organize their efforts in various chapters around the world and share their customizable 3D printed creations as widely as possible. “Think of us as being similar to E-Nable, only for pets instead,” says CAP’s Jim Song.

This is still a work-in-progress organization, and CAP is currently working hard to set up partnerships with various charities and organizations. They are also setting up chapters of dedicated volunteers from all corners of the world that want to use their 3D printing prowess to help animals. “We pair pets in need of a prosthetic with one of our volunteers usually based on geographical location. Our goal is to help any pet we can with affordable prosthetics as well as to demonstrate the capabilities that 3D printing has in the medical industry,” they say. “We strive to help pets who have lost limbs live as normal of a life as possible. Our goal is to help pets all over the world and to show the capabilities of 3D printing in the medical industry.”

So far, they have already set up three chapters: in Rancho Cucamonga, California, in Tokyo, Japan and one in Beijing, China. If contacted by animal lovers and pet owners, they strive to bring volunteers and recipients together, who will work hard to find a solution – which often entails building multiple devices over a longer period, as the animals in question can’t speak their mind.

What’s more, CAP is already sharing a handful of 3D printable solutions for animals on their website. The FiGo, by designer Rickee, is a customizable and largely 3D printed wheelchair for pets missing their rear legs, originally developed for a French Bulldog named Anne Murray. Various leg prosthesis, such as Fricis_Pirtnieks’s Stork Prosthesis and tubaro1’s Eagle Foot are also available already.

Even pets that have lost one of their front paws can be helped by CAP with the Forelimb Prosthesis. “This amazing design was created by josemivaz. It is designed to be a lightweight, one piece, comfortable, and affordable aid for pets who have unfortunately lost part of their legs. This piece must be printed in nylon so it will be flexible and have resistance,” the CAP team explains. Two front leg wheelchair designs, by designers Brex480 and Diacov, are also available for pets of various sizes.

These are fantastic starts already, but so much more work can be done and the launch of the CAP website is expected to result in a huge demand for more 3D printing solutions. CAP is therefore looking for volunteers with 3D printing or CAD experience to help animals in need. You can volunteer through their website, or even set up a local chapter yourself. If you have a 3D printer, that would be even better. “Typically, a volunteer will either be printing in ABS or PLA. For some devices however, an exotic filament such as Nylon or NinjaFlex is required. If your printer is unable to print those filament types please let us know,” they say. If you do not have a printer you can also volunteer by translating, assembling kits, or raising awareness.

And of course they are also always looking for ways to help animals everywhere. “If you have a pet or know of an animal which is in need of an assistive device please fill out the form and we will get back to you ASAP!” they say. Now this is one of those initiatives that can change the world.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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