Jan 5, 2018 | By David

When it comes to treating injured animals, 3D printing technology is starting to establish a serious reputation for itself. Our furry and feathered friends have found their own friend in 3D printing, which has been used in crucial veterinary surgery as well as to make prosthetics for dogs and penguins, amongst other creatures. The latest critter to be put back together with the help of the technology is an Arkansas-based duck known as Peg, who received a 3D printed replacement leg to help him waddle again after a mysterious attack that possibly involved a violent turtle.

“We found Peg sitting on the bank and he hadn’t been hatched long,” his new owner, Patsy Smith, told Arkansas TV company KAIT. Smith has raised ducks for years, but none of them were in quite the shape that the now eight month-old Indian Runner Duck was when she found him. “When I picked him up I noticed his foot was gone and was in horrible condition. Evidently a turtle had bitten his foot off.” As the duck grew older, the problem only worsened, and the injured foot, or what was left of it, became irritated.

Smith reached out to various animal rescue operations to help restore Peg back to the way nature intended, but the injured aquatic bird was eventually saved by a group of plucky eighth-graders from Armorel High School in northeastern Arkansas. A new prosthetic leg was made for the duck by three technically-minded students at the school, Abby Simmons, Matthew Cook and Darshan Patel, all aged 14 or 15. The students spent months 3D printing a prosthetic leg for Peg, after having already experimented with making other things using the 3D printer in the school’s lab.

“We already were looking into ways of creating sophisticated creations with our 3D printer and we saw that we could do just that for a duck,” said Alicia Bell, EAST Lab facilitator. “Animals bring everyone together and this was just a great way to show how work in the classroom can impact real life.”

If you think that putting a duck back together using 3D printing is easy, then you’re wrong. In fact, the opposite is the case. It took the students 30 tries before they eventually nailed the perfect prosthetic for Peg, with no small amount of frustration and heartbreak along the way. “We thought it was just going to be a shaft with a hole in it connected to a foot but it was much more complicated than that,” said Cook. According to Simmons, “It was really frustrating because we had to make sure it fit him perfectly and we had to start over due to some issues with the printing but it all worked out in the end.”

Images: KAIT

Sometimes the journey is the destination, but this time there was also a destination, which was the restoration of Peg’s waddling ability. The Indian Runner might not quite be living up to the second part of his name, but he’s definitely more mobile than before, and he has 3D printing to thank. As for the students, they are all a lot wiser for the experience, and we’d be surprised if this is the last we hear of Armorel EAST Lab’s 3D printing expertise.

Smith couldn’t be happier about what happened, and is amazed at how 3D printing and animals can really bring out the best in people. ''Not only is it heartwarming but it is exciting and I am just so grateful that there are people that truly care and they have gone out of their way to do all they can to make it as comfortable for the duck.’’



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive