The story continues, after our 3D Printer saved my life article, its a one-year-old duck, which was physically disabled after an accident. But thanks to 3d printing, he was the lucky recipient of a 3D printed plastic leg that now enables it to walk.
Rajahmundry, South Eastern India, is the current home of the young animal, who is rehabilitating in Ramakrishna Mission. The duck’s fortune took a turn after its accident, when an employee rung up M. Veeresh and Y. Sandeep Reddy, who both run a start-up called 3Ding.
“I have a friend in Rajahmundry who called me up 10 days ago”, explained Sandeep Reddy, to Indian newspaper The Hindu. “He told me about the condition of the duck, which lost one leg, and asked me if I can help in any way. I readily accepted and asked him to send me the dimensions and photos of the duck”.
Despite having no prior experience or knowledge of 3D printing prosthetic limbs for man or beast, Sandeep and his business partner enthusiastically accepted the challenge, and began researching what such a design should entail.
Careful thought was given into the dynamics of the prospective leg, in order to grant the animal as much freedom of movement as possible and, despite the unorthodox method and material, in the most natural way.
After the plans were drawn up, a tailored prosthetic duck leg was easily created with a 3D printer in approximately two hours. Plastic ABS material was used for its strength and durability, and it was created in black and white segments with flexible joints to give the duck maximum mobility.
“We will ship the product to Rajahmundry and it will be fixed by a local veterinary doctor. We will also share information on how to attach the equipment to the duck in the right way so that it benefits the most,” added Sandeep Reddy.
This isn’t the first time 3D printing has been used to assist disabled animals. 3D printing has come to the aid of many a mammal, from repairing the beak of an eagle that was shot by poachers, to creating a mobility cart for a Chihuahua with a birth defect.
Both young managers of 3Ding seem to recognise the incredible potential with 3D printing, and the many conceivable ways it can be harnessed to help animals. Sandeep Reddy and Veeresh seemed eager at exploring future possibilities, and expressed the desire that this duck would only be the first of many animals who might receive specialised 3D printing treatment.
“We want to make more of such artificial body parts for animals, especially dogs, in the near future to help them lead a better life. This is not about money”, emphasized Sandeep Reddy. “We just want to prove that anything can be printed in 3D with very low costs, and it can make a big difference for many”.